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Your Ultimate Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving

You don’t need to be Martha Stewart to pull off the perfect Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) – you just need this guide.

Hosting any event, especially one that people look forward to as much as Thanksgiving, can be a stressful ordeal. You have to clean the house, make the food, make sure guests are happy… the list goes on and on. Use the tips below to host the best Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) EVER.


Be the Host with the Most

Being a good host means making your guests feel comfortable and at home. A good host is always organized and plans in advance – if you are frazzled, your guests will feel stressed also. The better you can plan ahead, the more fun you’ll all have. My planning always involves the following:


      • Invitations don’t have to be fancy! invites can be sent in the mail, via facebook or email, or can be a simple phone call. No matter which form the invite takes, you should always include the time, location, dress code (if any), if they are allowed a guest / if the whole family is invited, and what the guest should bring. If you’re having a Friendsgiving, you might have your friends bring a side dish each so you don’t have to do all the cooking. Make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for and what time dinner will be. You don’t want to leave this up to your guests and then have dinner waiting on the one that is always late.
      • You can find some cute templates here:

Know your guests!

      • Of course, you might have a friend of a friend coming to your party – that doesn’t mean you have to know their life story. But you should know your guests’ names, dietary preferences, etc. It’s surprising how many people I’ve seen that have strict dietary preferences but won’t mention it until the day of. Always ask your guests about and restrictions. You don’t want to serve a staunch vegan a turkey or even mashed potatoes with butter. Your guests will appreciate it.


      • Clean your house ahead of time to avoid any last minute scrambling. Get rid of any visible clutter, clean any counter spaces, vacuum and mop the floors, etc. Guests will feel more comfortable if your home is clean and inviting rather than “lived in”. I’ve also been to dinner parties where the floor at the host’s home is sticky or gross. This makes me lose my appetite because I’m worried the same cleanliness has gone into the food. Don’t underestimate the effects of having a clean home.


      • Make place cards, labels, menus, and table settings ahead of time. I even set the table the night before.
      • Plan ahead if you’ll have kids attending. You’ll want to set up a kids table with plenty of activities to keep them busy like crayons and coloring pages, along with table wear that can be childproof.
      • You can find some cute FREE printables here, here and here.


    • Remember if you’re not enjoying yourself, your guests will have a hard time letting loose. So have faith in your planning and enjoy your party!

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