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How To Host Your First Thanksgiving Dinner
You Will Need
  • Adequate seating and tableware
  • Traditional favorite foods
  • Mini-pumpkins and gourds
  • Votive candles
  • A cleaning service (optional)
  • Two small turkeys (optional)
step 1Check logistics
Figure out if you have enough chairs, seating space, and tableware. Borrow from friends and neighbors to fill any holes. Or check out a thrift store; if you don’t need or want it afterward, donate it back.
spacer tip Throw some cushions on the floor around your coffee table and let little guests eat there.
step 2Call your guests
Call your guests so you’ll have a handle on how many people are coming – and an excuse to fish for contributions. People often want to contribute, especially if it ensures that their holiday favorite will be on the table.
step 3Ask for help
Don’t be shy about asking for assistance before, during, and after. You’ll need all the help you can preparing the food, getting your home ready, serving, and cleaning up afterward.
spacer tip If your budget allows, hire a cleaning service a day or two before.
step 4Plan to have all the favorites
Honor traditions; even if you personally think that green bean casserole is disgusting and cranberry jelly out of a can a disgrace. If it’s important to someone, serve it – and let them take the leftovers home.
step 5Cook two birds
Consider cooking two small turkeys instead of one big one. They’re easier to handle, cook faster and more uniformly, and are more tender and juicy than a large, older bird. Plus, they provide twice as many drumsticks!
step 6Finalize your menu
Finalize your menu and go shopping. Figure out what you can make a day or two ahead so that the big day is not such a rush. And remember: Now is not the time to attempt a dish you’ve never tried
spacer tip Plan on these per-person servings: 1¼ lbs. turkey, 1/3 c. gravy, ½ c. mashed potatoes, ½ c. of each vegetable side dish, ¼ c. cranberry dressing, ½ c. stuffing; two dinner rolls; and 1/8 pie.
step 7Make a simple centerpiece
Make a simple table centerpiece out of a bowl of small gourds and mini-pumpkins and line the table with votive candles. You’re all set!
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