Helpful Ideas to Host an Enjoyable Thanksgiving Party

Thanksgiving can be anxiety-inducing. But with a little planning and a bit of delegation, you can enjoy a low-stress Thanksgiving, leaving you free to enjoy that second—or third—helping in peace.

Plan Your Menu in Advance
Unless you're fortunate enough to have three ovens in your kitchen, you will run out of oven space on Thanksgiving morning. Find family-favorite recipes that don't call for oven time—for example, mashed potatoes and green beans can be cooked on the stovetop, and stuffing and sweet potatoes can be baked and kept warm in slow cookers. Make sure you have at least one vegan and one gluten-free dish available for guests with dietary restrictions. Plan your menu a few weeks in advance and be sure to stock up on essential supplies at least a week before Thanksgiving.

Friends and Family Want to Help
It's Thanksgiving, after all, and no one will mind pitching in to show how thankful they are for all that you're doing. If someone asks what they can do to help, tell them. Guests can stir the gravy, clear the table, and pack up leftovers. To avoid a crowd in a small kitchen, only enlist a pair or two of hands at a time; have some guests help you heat the appetizers and others plate the desserts.

Entertain the Young Ones
Kids will want to get involved too. Have children help out by giving them age-appropriate tasks to do—for example, younger kids can decorate the table, while older teens can play photographers and post photos and videos of dinner highlights to a shared album on Facebook. And don't forget to plan a group activity or two. A game of flag football before dinner or a walk afterward will burn off extra energy and that extra turkey leg as well.