Whether you pulled the short straw or eagerly volunteered, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a big task. Preparing the food, cleaning the house, dealing with relatives can all take a serious toll on your sanity. That's why we're sharing our fave holiday hacks to make your holiday hosting just a little bit easier.
1. Let's Talk Menu
Tis the season for endless Thanksgiving recipes and menu plans. The possibilities are endless but your time most definitely isn't. And let's get real, with kids underfoot, laundry already overflowing, and turkey day approaching fast, it's time to set the menu and keep it simple. Nobody else will be comparing your meal to a Pinterest board (and tbh if they are, no invitation next year). So cover the basics and move on. You've got plenty of years to forage those wild mushrooms for your homemade sourdough bread stuffing, this is not one of them.
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2. Take the Shortcut
Homemade rolls and pie crusts sound so perfect for the holidays until it gets down to crunch time. Offload the extra stress – pick up the rolls, buy the pie crust (heck, buy the entire pie), get the industrial-sized appetizers from the store. If you can snag a shortcut and still pull off a relatively homemade dinner, do it. You're used to your kids dissing your cooking, you can certainly ignore it coming from other family members.
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3. A Little Help Over Here?
This is the year you said you'd do it all on your own. Time to rethink. Seriously, who needs that kind of responsibility? People love to help out, so let them. Potluck it is. Aunt Frieda can bring her famous mystery casserole and you offload all the extras and focus on the main dish and rounding up enough chairs for everyone.
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4. Diversify that Dinner
Time for a little math. Take a look at your kitchen and your menu. How many of those things need to be in the oven at the same time? No amount of algebra is gonna make that math work out. Time to drag out the multitasking appliances you never use. Make the mashed potatoes in the slow cooker, the green bean casserole in the pressure cooker, stuffing in the air fryer. As long as the circuits hold up, you and your single oven can get this done.
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5. Keep the Kids Busy
Hosting the dinner does not mean you're on babysitting duty too. Screen time rules don't apply on major family holidays – so put on a movie and keep the horde of kid cousins out of trouble while you're wrapping up the meal prep. Print off a few of these free kid's Thanksgiving worksheets or consider covering the table with craft paper and sprinkle crayons (markers are just asking for trouble) around for everyone to use. Kids (and adults) will love doodling while the political discussions really get heated. Not to mention it saves the linen laundry later. Win-win.
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No matter how it all goes down, remember it's about gratitude and family this holiday. And nobody will be more thankful than you when everyone finally goes home.