​Thanksgiving Survival Guide: 10 Steps to a Perfect Dinner


Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’re welcoming dozens of distant family members into your home. Rather than feeling frazzled and missing out on the holiday festivities, you can find a way to host dinner while enjoying time with your family. Whether you are hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner or you’re tenth, a few simple strategies can turn that hectic day into a memorable one.

1. Start early

One of the most useful tips on how to survive thanksgiving with family is to tackle simple tasks in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Don’t leave everything on Thanksgiving morning because you will surely be overwhelmed.

For example, have your family help pick up around the house. Finish your grocery shopping early in the week so that you aren’t battling crowds on the day before Thanksgiving. Many desserts hold up well in the freezer, so you can make them ahead of time, freeze them, and bake them on Thanksgiving morning.

Adhering to this piece of advice on how to get through Thanksgiving with family, you can feel more energetic. You can even start preparing for your Thanksgiving family evening right now. Consider making decorations or purchasing some and decorating your house this week. The earlier, the better.

2. Accept help

You might be hosting Thanksgiving at your dinner table, but that doesn’t mean you have to provide all of the food. Ask your guests to contribute to the meal. You can provide the turkey and a few of your favorite sides or desserts, but have the guests fill in the rest.

Dole out tasks to guests to help alleviate some of the work on your end. Having some help will result in less time spent in the kitchen and more time spent mingling with guests. Hosting a potluck dinner is sort of a trend these days. Following this piece of advice on how to survive Thanksgiving with family can save your valuable time.

More: 8 Ways Moms Can Stay Thin This Thanksgiving

3.  Clean your house in advance

Inviting guests to dinner will most likely trigger a deep cleansing. It will probably take a little extra time. So plan most of your house cleaning a few days before dinner. Be sure this one of the most useful Thanksgiving tips for families will not only help you prepare for Thanksgiving but also help you feel more relaxed in the run-up to the holiday.

4. Set a flexible schedule

Even a well-planned Thanksgiving dinner can turn into a disaster if the turkey takes an extra two hours to cook or you burn everything in the oven. Therefore, if you want to survive Thanksgiving with family, you should create a schedule to help you get through the cooking and baking frenzy that is Thanksgiving. Write out what time you need to make everything.

Leave yourself enough time to shower and get dressed— you don’t want to leave these basic tasks for the last minute. Be prepared for a glitch or two, and be willing to adjust your schedule accordingly to account for any holiday hiccups.

5. Be realistic

Another surviving Thanksgiving advice is to be realistic. Thanksgiving should be a time for you to gather with your family without feeling pressure to impress. Don’t make your Thanksgiving dinner a formal affair if you’re going to have kids running around.

A casual Thanksgiving family dinner huddled around the television watching football and enjoying each other’s company can be just as enjoyable as a formal event. Use the Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with your family, not impress them with an overdone event.

6. Lay the table the night before

Setting the table the night before is an excellent tip on how to get through Thanksgiving with family. If you have children at home, this is a good activity to have them help you with this.

In addition, due to this idea on how to survive Thanksgiving, it can keep them busy since most kids don’t go to school the day before Thanksgiving. You can even ask them to polish beautiful silverware if you want to add extra time to the activity!

More: 5 Quick Fixes to De-Stress Thanksgiving

7. Make plenty of appetizers

Appetizers are a great way to distract your guests from the dinner itself. You don’t know what can happen at the very last moment.

But you will know that your guests aren’t hungry and they have something to eat while you are fixing your cooking disasters. Appetizers will also help to keep your guests socializing while you are getting your dinner on the table.

8. Do not leave the cooking of all dishes to the last day

Be sure you will not have enough time to prepare everything for the festive table in one day. Therefore, it would be better to cook most of it in advance. For example, biscuits, pies, some snacks, and vegetable sides can be prepared before the holiday.

Another piece of advice on how to get through Thanksgiving with family is to use additional devices such as cookers, instant pots, toasters, and air fryers to cook more dishes at the same time.

9. Dedicate the last 30 minutes to yourself

The holiday season, including Thanksgiving Day, isn’t about cooking and pleasing the crowd. It’s about enjoying the time together feeling great and happy. However, when you’re busy with preparations and think you have no time to relax, chances are you won’t enjoy your dinner.

Even if you will, you’ll wake up the next day forgetting many moments. Dedicate the last 30 minutes to yourself. Meditate, pray, do some relaxing yoga poses, or whatever helps you calm down and focus on having fun at Thanksgiving family evening.

10. Give thanks and enjoy the evening

And, when everything is ready, it’s time to have dinner with your loved ones. Have each guest share something they’re grateful for—this simple tradition sets the mood. Then enjoy the feast you have prepared. Finally, one of the most relevant Thanksgiving tips is to get together with your friends and family at Thanksgiving and enjoy the time spent together after all your hard work.

If you’re hosting the big feast this Thanksgiving, don’t do it all alone. Just like your guests, you deserve to look and feel relaxed and enjoy the whole holiday. Start early so that you can do everything without a hustle.

How do you keep your sanity when preparing Thanksgiving dinner? Do you think a potluck dinner is a budget- and nerve-friendly idea? Share your thoughts with us.

Below, we have compiled a list of the most interesting questions about Thanksgiving survival guide:

How far ahead can you make Thanksgiving dinner?

You can start preparing for the holiday in 3-4 weeks. It depends on the household chores. For example, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, decide on the number of guests, create your shopping list, and prepare decorations. Then, a few days before the holiday, clean the house, and decorate the dinner table the day before, if possible.

In addition, you can cook some dishes the day before the holiday, such as cookies or pumpkin pie, or other pastries the day before. This way, you can concentrate on preparing Thanksgiving main dishes.

How do you decorate a table for Thanksgiving?

There is a great variety of excellent ideas for decorating a Thanksgiving table. For example, you can decorate the center of the table with anything related to Thanksgiving, which you can buy in the store or make your own.

Scented candles, a bouquet of autumn flowers, or a bowl of fruit are also wonderful ideas for decorating the centerpiece of the table. You can also make themed name plates or make these turkey nameplates.

What goes on a table on Thanksgiving?

The traditional menu includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, several types of vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and zucchini, cranberry sauce, pies, and bread.

No lunch is complete without dessert and drinks, especially Thanksgiving dinner. For example, apple cider and cranberry punch are in high demand, as everyone at the table, including children, can feast on them.

What time should Thanksgiving dinner be?

As a rule, people who celebrate Thanksgiving sit at the holiday table at about 4-5 o’clock, as this is the most optimal time because you can talk a lot, relax and have fun.