Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that combines so many of our favorite things: family, food, friends, pie…and usually some wine. For many of us, Thanksgiving is usually spent lending a hand to our mom, aunt, grandmother or loved one as plan and execute the big day.
But for any newlyweds out there, perhaps this year you were nominated (or maybe you volunteered) to host your first Thanksgiving at your new home. Don’t panic! You might be feeling the pressure of making this first Thanksgiving special and successful, but with a little planning, organization and confidence, you’ll be able to pull off Turkey Day with ease.
Here are a few tips to remember:
1. Plan, plan, plan
Perhaps you’re already a hyper-organized individual who’s Thanksgiving Day to-do list is already written and color-coded—but if you’re not, this is the time to start! Make sure you have everything that needs to be done before the big day on your list including cleaning, shopping, prepping and a timeline for cooking on the day-of.
Not only will having a list help you to prepare for Thanksgiving day, but it will give you peace of mind and assurance that you aren’t forgetting a step along the way.
2. Never turn down help
Just because you are hosting for the first time does not mean that you have to pull off the entire day on your own. Accept help when it is offered by friends and family and don’t feel uncomfortable assigning people tasks as well. Instead of taking on the whole mean, ask certain guests to bring side items like bread, drinks, potatoes, ice cream, or even pie. Most guest will be excited and honored that they have something to contribute and flattered that you entrusted them with a task.
And if your mom offers to come over in the morning to lend a hand throughout the day, say “Yes!”
3. Don’t try to recreate your own family Thanksgiving
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Your childhood Thanksgiving memories might be perfect or far from it, but either way, don’t be afraid to venture out from what you know and try something new. Do some research on entertainment blogs, read magazines and talk to your friends about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Then, find a way to incorporate them into your day. Don’t abandon all of the special family traditions that you and your family will appreciate, but ditch the pressure to make the potatoes exactly like your mom, or set the table exactly like your grandma.
You are the host, which gives you the creative freedom to put on an event with your own personal twist.
4. Buy some stuff
Yep, I said it. It really is ok if you don’t make every single Thanksgiving dish from scratch. For example, I have yet to find a stuffing that I like better than the Trader Joe’s premade box that we spruce up with some extra ingredients and love! Is that cheating? Maybe. But when everyone sits down to dinner, as long as it’s delicious, it doesn’t really matter. If you know that your local bakery makes an incredible pumpkin pie, let them do the work and buy the pie instead of baking one from scratch.
By prioritizing the homemade, family recipes that you know are irreplaceable, you discover wiggle room for store bought items that will save you time and relief in the long run.
5. Breath, reflect and enjoy.
As a newlywed, hosting your first, big family holiday is a milestone that is special for you and your spouse. Take time to enjoy the day and reflect on how lucky you are to be able to open the door to your first shared home to the people you love. Don’t let the panic and pressure of the day distract you from enjoying the process and working together to create a beautiful experience with your spouse—and be thankful for each step on the way.