Thanksgiving is about family, close friends and traditions; new and old. As the host, you want to enjoy the meal yourself, therefore, beginning prep a few days in advance, in addition to asking for a little help is key to a memorable and manageable Thanksgiving meal.
TIP #1 HAVE A MENU
First write a menu so that way you have a hard copy on which to write notes. It is much easier to make sure you have everything you need and create a to do list when you can see it all on paper. As you work through the menu, you may see what adjustments need to be made.
TIP #2 HAVE A BUFFET TABLE THAT IS NOT THE DINNER TABLE
Have a separate table or console that serves as a buffet table. This table is where your platters and drinks will be placed in a self service style. It is important to choose what serving platters you are going to use ahead of time and set them out on your table so that you know on which dish each menu item is to be placed.
TIP #3 HAVE A SEATING PLAN
Set your table the day before with everything from silverware to place cards. You will want to plan who will sit where to ensure the best blend of personalities and flow of conversation.
TIP #4 KEEP THE DRINKS AND PRE-MEAL NIBBLES SIMPLE
If you aren’t planning to have a bartender, then make sure to have a well-stocked, self serve bar. A good variety of wine including white, red and rose should be provided along with plenty of ice. A neutral spirit like vodka along with a few mixers like orange and cranberry juice as well as assorted canned soda and fresh cut fruit. Pre-dinner nibbles should be easy to refill and include items such as olives, cut cheese, seasoned nuts, crackers and a spread or two.
TIP #5 MAKE DESSERTS AT LEAST TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE OR OUTSOURCE
Desserts can be prepared two days before your Thanksgiving meal and can easily be refrigerated until you and your guests are ready for them. All side dishes should be done the day before so that you can focus on the gravy and turkey on the day of Thanksgiving.