Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, it’s here. Which means you’re either freaking out because you’re hosting, and in just a few short hours your semi-dysfunctional (they all are) family will be barreling through your door. That or you’re laying in bed reading this, thinking, “Thank God we’re not hosting…. Wait. Did I pick up the right kind of pie?”
I’ve hosted and attended a few major holiday meals over the years, and it can be stressful on both ends. I’m no expert, but thought a quick collection of things I’ve learned might be helpful to someone to help Thanksgiving dinner go a big more smoothly. (Hopefully that someone is you. I’m not even sure anyone’s reading this. Hello?)
So whether you’re a host or a guest, here are the best Thanksgiving tips I’ve learned over the years:
1. Hosting? Get up. Get UP. GET UP.
Maybe you stayed up late the night before to make sure everything is set, and all that’s left to do is to pop things in the oven. But these Thanksgiving tips are from my own personal experience, and my own personal experience is that, just about the time I think there’s nothing I could’ve forgotten… I realize I’ve forgotten something. You’ll feel better if you get up early, make coffee, double check everything, and plan for any necessary last-minute store runs. Ok. Sorry I yelled.
2. Guest-ing? Bring something. Even if you were told “Don’t bring anything.”
Everyone has that holiday super-host in the family. “Oh, don’t bring a thing, we’ve got it all covered.” Now, that may be true, but even if you love doing it, hosting a big meal with a bunch of people is a ton of work. If as a guest you can’t get assigned a dish, bring something to show the host how much you appreciate their hard work – a bottle of wine, a case of beer, a bouquet of flowers, heck even just a quick handwritten ‘thank you’ card will go a long way.
3. Hosting? Ask people to bring stuff. (Just trust me on this.)
Not only will this take some of the work off your piled-high Thanksgiving plate, but it makes your guests feel good to contribute something. This also creates a “group effort” feel that just adds to the warm and fuzzies you want on a day like Thanksgiving. (And let’s get real for a second – in some families, this doesn’t come naturally, so throwing a little gas on that fire can be a great thing.)
4. Guest-ing? Help clean up.
I am serious as a post-Thanksgiving dinner coronary. The worst possible thing you can do as a guest in someone else’s home is not bring something to contribute or not help clean up. And as much progress as we gals have made in being able to vote, becoming CEO’s and still popping out babies, we still somehow get stuck doing the damn dishes at big family gatherings. Time for a new tradition, dudes. Unless you have been part of the prepping/chopping/cooking process, get your ass in the kitchen and ask what you can do to help. If everyone does this, you won’t even miss kick-off, and you’ll be the hero of your wives, sisters, and mothers-in-law.
So there you go, kids. Get up early, double check your plans, ask for help, and be helpful. Oh yes, and thankful. I believe we’re supposed to be thankful. 🙂