Thanksgiving is a time for people to celebrate blessings made throughout the year. It’s the perfect time for friends and family to reconnect over a bountiful meal that typically consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and endless amounts of pie. There’s nothing better than good food and great company, and Thanksgiving is a time where both come together. If you’re ready to be the master chef and take over as the host of the Thanksgiving party, you’re going to need to be prepared.

Throwing a party is hard work. Below, we’ll go over all there is to know about preparing for the big feast. From setting the table to cooking the turkey, we have all the answers you’re looking for.

Cooking the Turkey

With the holidays approaching, you’re going to need to start planning your meals. The turkey is the centerpiece of every Thanksgiving meal, so there’s no wonder so much stress revolves around cooking it. If you don’t want to disappoint all of your dinner guests, you’re going to have to do your homework and learn how to cook this bird. Here are some helpful tips on cooking a turkey:

  • Allocate 1.5 lbs of turkey per person, so if you have 15 guests coming, buy a 22.5 lb turkey
  • Give yourself enough time to thaw your turkey out in the fridge, typically 1 day for every 5 pounds
  • Don’t wash your turkey in the sink, it’s the dirtiest place in the house—most bacteria will die as it bakes in the oven
  • Cook your stuffing and turkey separately, then add the stuffing once the turkey finishes cooking
  • Test the temperature of the turkey, once it reaches 165F, you should be good to go

Preparing the Sides

Once the turkey is in the oven cooking, it’s time to prepare the sides. Thanksgiving Day will be hectic, especially if your guests are already at your house and you’re trying to entertain them as well. This means you should do your best to prepare any sides the day before. Sure, sides like rolls and cranberry sauce can be made the day of, but more elaborate dishes like stuffing, casseroles, and pies can be more demanding. Some popular Thanksgiving dinner sides include:

  • Roasted vegetables, with superfoods like carrots, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, yams, and green beans
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Gravy and cranberry sauce
  • Stuffing
  • Squash
  • Cornbread
  • Candied yams

Setting the Table

Setting the Table

Once all of your food is ready, it’s time to set the table, which can also be done the day before to save you some time on Thanksgiving Day. When setting the table, you want it to be festive. Make sure you light some candles, buy some Thanksgiving flowers, and place festive decorations around your table and home.

Then, make sure you iron your tablecloth, wash all of your china and set a dinner plate, side plate, bowls, glasses, and silverware. Don’t forget the napkins, either! With all that food, a tiny mess is bound to happen.

Get the Drinks

While the food steals the show when it comes to Thanksgiving, you can’t leave the drinks behind. When preparing for your first Thanksgiving party, you want to make sure you have a vast assortment of drinks for your guests to choose from. Water is always a staple, but make sure you get the party started with some wine, beers, and alcohol for mixed drinks. If you’re crunched for time, you can order an alcohol delivery service. Or, you can also ask your guests to bring a bottle as well to make sure the celebrations last throughout the night.

The best thing about having wine and other beverages available is that your guests won’t mind if your dinner comes a little later than expected. Time flies when having fun, especially when tasty appetizers are around, so make sure you have your wine cabinet locked and loaded.

Don’t Forget Dessert!

No Thanksgiving party is complete without dessert. While you’ll be cooking the main course, don’t feel shy asking your friends and relatives to bring a dessert. After all, Thanksgiving is all about giving, so they’ll be glad to help you out on this great holiday. Some tasty desserts to consider include:

  • Apple pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Pecan chocolate pie
  • Maple cookies
  • Pumpkin spice brownies or cookies
  • Rice pudding
  • Blackberry cobbler
  • Cheesecake

Getting the Party Started

It’s easy to tell yourself you have everything under control when it’s time to cook for dozens of people. But in reality, it can be extremely stressful, especially if it’s your first time hosting a Thanksgiving party. However, with this guide handy, you’ll be able to tackle any dish that comes your way and surprise your guests with your party-throwing abilities.

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