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10 Tips for Hosting Your First Thanksgiving

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My mom’s entire extended family lives within an hour of our home so I have never had to host Thanksgiving before.  This year is the first year I will be hosting.  So I wanted to do a trial run with a friendsgiving party.  Here are 10 tips for hosting your first thanksgiving .

My mom’s entire extended family lives within an hour of our home so I have never had to host Thanksgiving before.  This year is the first year I will be hosting.  So I wanted to do a trial run with a friendsgiving party.  Here are 10 tips for hosting your first Thanksgiving.

10 Tips for Hosting Your First Thanksgiving

  1. Plan Ahead

    Did you know that a frozen turkey can take days to defrost in the refrigerator?  There is a quick cool option, but it is best to have your plan in place so you can not stressing the day of.

  2. Ask for Help or Buy Pre-Made Items

    Hosting a holiday is a great time to ask everyone to bring a dish.  Our family tradition is the host normally supplies the turkey, drinks and some desserts and everyone else brings all the sides. If you are overwhelmed you can even ask for a friend or family member to help you in your kitchen.  When we hosted our first holiday my mother in law was amazing and did all the cooking so I could learn.  Buy ready made products like Marie Callender’s Dessert Pie and Marie Callender’s Loaf Cake.  They taste like homemade, they are easy to make and you still get the smell of them being cooked in the oven without the clean up from make it from scratch.  Don’t want to bake desserts, the pecan pie you can cook or you can simply defrost it and serve.

  3. Don’t be Intimidated 

    Confession I have never made a Turkey before this one.  Growing up my aunts were great chefs so they hosted lots of holidays.  When my family hosted we always had it catered, which was nice, but you miss our on the entire house smelling like Thanksgiving as the turkey cooks. After a little freaking out I found that Butterball turkeys are all natural and pre-brined to ensure a tender and juicy turkey which meant I could skip a step and get right to cooking (after I defrosted it).  When I finally got the confidence to open up the bag I found that every turkey comes with cooking instructions so you can skip looking for cooking advice online.  If you have any questions you can call their Talk-Line for support at 1-800-BUTTERBALL or text 844-877-3456.  I don’t know why I was so intimidated by it.  If you are too, buy one before the holiday to practice.

  4. Focus on the Parts of Entertaining you Enjoy

    I recently realized that I love to cook, but I am still learning so I am not very confident, hence my fear of cooking a turkey.  Even if I was really confident I would rather spend time with my guests than be stuck in the kitchen so I am happy to accept help from guests bringing dishes. My real passion with entertaining is the decor.  I love to come up with creative DIYs.  You can keep it really simple with a centerpiece that adds impact.  This year, we are using these fun floral pumpkins.  I also love using craft paper as my tablecloth.  It makes for an easy clean up.  And while our parents may have used holidays as a chance to break out the fine china, it is not necessary.  Use what works best for you.
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  5. Use Food as Your Decor with a Pie Bar

    Buy any combination of pies and cake loafs.  Make Homemade Whipped Cream in your favorite flavors to compliment your pies.  My family picked Chocolate, Cinnamon, Peppermint and Plain to go with our Marie Callender’s Pumpkin and Pecan Dessert Pies and Marie Callender’s Pound Cake. Nothing says the holidays like pumpkin and pecan pie! This Pie Bar lets you end Thanksgiving on a high note with Marie Callender’s just like homemade dessert pies and new loaf cakes.

    If you don’t have cake stands large enough you can take your cake stand and add a charger on top or you could use a candle stick or glass to give you the right height. Mini pumpkins are a fun, festive and inexpensive way to add to your decor. 

    For the homemade whipped cream I put them into stemless wine glasses.  And I added plaid food tags so every knows what flavor they are.  I used a cake stand to add so height so you could easily see all the options. 

    What you Need to Make Whipped Cream

    • 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
    • 1/2 cup tablespoons powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    How to Make Whipped Cream

      • Place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill it.
      • Combine the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Continue until it is has thickened. This should take about 5 minutes.
      • Serve right away or refrigerate.

    Whipped Cream Flavor Options

    Make the whipped cream as directed then stir in the following ingredients until combined.
    Chocolate (note this is the only one you need to make from scratch and add the flavor at the beginning): 2 cups heavy cream, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until it is the right consistency.
    – Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    – Salted Caramel: 4 tablespoons caramel sauce. Optional: Caramel candy cut up for a topping
    – Peppermint: 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. Optional: Peppermints crushed for a topping
    Lemon: 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
    – Peanut Butter: 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
    Raspberry: 4 tablespoons berry jam

  6. Set Up a Self Service Bar  

    As the host you are busy.  Setting up a self service bar lets your guest make themselves at home and get drinks when they want them.  It also allows them to see all the options you have.  This year we are serving, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Red Blend, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet, which can be be found at your local grocer.  Their wines are crafted for over 30 years and perfect for everyday.  Their Red Blend:  Pairs well with holiday favorites including turkey, creamy potatoes, and pumpkin pie.  All their wines are balanced and smooth, making them ideal for food pairings and sharing with family and friends.

  7. Straighten Up 

    You don’t have to go crazy and do a deep clean of your house.  But it is nice to straighten up, so that people feel welcome.  When we host we often keep the bedroom doors shut so we can focus on the main areas and the bathrooms.

  8. Music

    Don’t forget to help set the mood for your holiday with good music.  We normally pick our favorite station and let it play.  Sometimes we play our favorite songs off our phone.

  9. Include Thoughtful Touches

    My husband loves pumpkin pie, my dad always drink an Arnold Palmer and my mom likes Robert Mondavi Cabernet so I always make sure I have at least these items on our menu.  I also like to send everyone home with leftovers.  You can get boxes or have disposable plates and foil ready.

  10. Have Fun

    You set the tone for the entire event.  If things don’t go as planned don’t worry.  You have your friends there to have a good time no matter what.

Still need some more inspiration?  Check out this website for most blog posts like this.   Want to save for your holiday?  Check out Shopkick Offer here.

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Recipe adapted from Celebrating Sweets.

10 Tips for Hosting Your First Thanksgiving
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