Thanksgiving is here! Pumpkin Pie and all the fixings are the beginning of that beautiful time of year when the whole family likes to get together and spend lots of time in the kitchen preparing food and enjoying each other’s company.
So, let’s start this guide with some fundamental yet essential things you should know before hosting the holidays for your friends or family.
1) Set a budget – This isn’t just for Thanksgiving, but for any holiday gathering you host during the season. Making last-minute purchases because you ran out of material can be costly and stressful if money is not appropriately planned, so remember to create a realistic budget and stick to it. If something unplanned happens, that’s what credit cards are for! Just kidding… try to avoid using your credit card as much as possible.
2) Create a guest list – This is a crucial step that should not be overlooked! So, let’s remember, not everyone will be able to attend, and it’s best to know the numbers going in because the last thing anyone wants to do is have people be disappointed. After all, there isn’t enough food for them to enjoy. I recommend sending out an email or text blast asking if they are available before creating the list, so you know who will attend before getting started on your menu. Also, this gives those who have dietary restrictions time to alert you of what they can eat, so there aren’t any awkward moments when they show up.
3) Menu planning – Once you know how many people are coming, consider their ages and tastes when creating the menu. It’s best to go with something well tested and created by you or someone who knows your kitchen. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all day trying new recipes because everyone loves it! Also, double-check your pantry before planning anything further because you may already have everything you need.
4) Prepare– This is where things get real…the prep work starts today! Make a list of what needs to be done for each meal and assign specific tasks and if possible, enlist the help of some loyal family members; if not, make sure you schedule time for activities on your own like watching Christmas movies and playing board games (hehe).
5) Clean – Cleaning while everyone else is having fun seems like an awful idea, but it helps keep your sanity. This is a great thing to do, and it will make you feel better knowing that your house is somewhat presentable during company hours. You certainly don’t want to earn the reputation as the “messy” hostess so take care of issues before people arrive.
6) Don’t apologize for lack of space – If you live in a tiny apartment with no storage space, don’t apologize for not having enough table room or counter space because everyone understands. They understand that maybe it would be helpful by bringing something extra or clearing up after themselves (usually)… but you should never feel bad about yourself! It is about them coming together to celebrate holidays, not what you can provide them with.
7) Set up your decor – If you have some time to kill before guests arrive, set up your decorations! What a perfect opportunity to show off your taste and style. Everyone has one thing they do differently when decorating for holidays, whether it’s putting out unique dishes or using glittery candles.
8) Socialize – You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night because everyone is mingling with each other; make sure you join in on the fun!! I like to cook while people are talking, so if someone wants me for something specific, I can get it done without sticking my head in the oven (ha). Let them help, but don’t let them over… trust me, this will end badly, and you’ll be caught in the middle of a food fight (again, ha).
9) Clean up. You can finally breathe now that everyone has gone home… maybe. Did you forget to tidy up the living room? Don’t panic!! Just do it as soon as possible so next time you don’t have to rush around at 1:00 am after spending 12 hours cooking and cleaning. Also, consider that your guests may leave early or wake up super late because we all know those people who never want to go!
10) Socializing and clean-up tips for hosting holiday festivities: 1. Don’t feel obligated to cook every component yourself– enlist help from your friends, family members, and even neighbors. 2. Assign tasks to your helpers – this way, everyone can feel involved, and no one will complain that they didn’t get to help (that’s the worst). 3. Hire take-out or delivered pizza if you’re really in a bind; it is perfectly acceptable, especially after cooking for 12+ hours straight! 4. Don’t let them overhelp because not everyone knows how to cook well (see my last point)!!
11) Repeat next year – If you had fun, try hosting again next year!
These tips show that there are ways to make hosting work better for everyone, including you. Just follow these steps and your holidays should be much more enjoyable than you are used to!
12) Celebrate responsibly – Don’t let your hostess skills turn into a total disaster. Make sure you monitor yourself and how much you’re drinking because not only is it the holidays, but it’s also cold outside, which makes everyone want to drink more! Be aware of any guests that may have over-consumed alcohol, and make sure they don’t drive home by having them spend the night or arranging for a ride if needed.
For more information on the Knightdale Station Community, visit knightdalestation.com.