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Our Ten Best Thanksgiving Host Tips & Tricks

Joanne Lee

Here at Dowel, we are all about family gatherings and feasting! And we absolutely LOVE the holidays! Here are some thanksgiving hosting tips and tricks that we've learned over the years and would love to share with you all. 

1. Set the table a day before

So many people do this and it's such a smart idea! You don't want to be setting the table in between basting the turkey and mashing potatoes. It also makes you feel better seeing it all done and set up and pretty! When people walk in and things aren't completely done yet, it's ok, the table looks amazing and everyone thinks you are a rockstar. 

2. Make room for everyone 

Make sure that you have seating for everyone that you've invited. If it's a larger party than you normally have at the dining table, it may be useful to have side chairs hiding around your house. Check out our last blog post on how to always have extra chairs on hand but useful in the times that you aren't having a party! 

3. Make as much ahead as possible

I know that this goes without saying and everyone knows this but try as hard as you can to get as much ready before the day of. Make the pie dough a week before - this keeps pretty well in the freezer. Make the dessert the day before. Some people even suggest roasting your turkey a day before! We think that's a bit overkill but hey, you do you! 

4. Remember to wash all serving dishes and have them ready

Everyone always thinks thanksgiving prep relates to food but just remember you have to take out those serving platters that you normally don't use, wash them, dust them, do whatever you have to in order to get them usable for the party. Check to make sure that you have enough utensils and table napkins. Get it done a few days before and not right as you are taking something out of the oven and realize that you have nowhere clean to serve it on.

5. Don't make a big deal over appetizers

People will be stuffed by the end of the meal no matter what. There are just too many great side dishes that appetizers can really just be relegated to store bought crackers/chips/crudites etc. Appetizers certainly won't be the most memorable part of the evening for anyone. 

6. Do a gravy practice run

If you want guaranteed lump free gravy, do a trial run a few days before with some chicken. As a back-up  and for gravy emergencies - buy the Williams-Sonoma gravy in a jar. This is always a win.

7. Make a list of what needs to be done and put it on a timeline for the day

Lists are a thanksgiving host's best friend. It is cathartic to scratch things off throughout the day and it keeps things on schedule. It makes delegating a lot easier as well. 

8. Keep the drinks ready and flowing

We suggest making one large mixed cocktail like a holiday punch so people can just serve themselves without anyone having to man the bar. Make sure there is also wine ready to go for guests not interested in mixed drinks. People are just generally happier and less impatient when there is enough alcohol going around. 

9. Serve the food you love!

It goes without saying that people can taste the love in whatever you cook. Doesn't matter if they are traditional Thanksgiving dishes or dishes that you had growing up. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate your family, the people in your life and everything you are thankful for through sharing a wonderful meal that you've lovingly created. 

10. Don't forget to take a shower!

This may sound silly but it happens more often than you think. You start the day thinking "oh, i'll just shower after I'm done with all the cooking..." Then the guests start arriving and you still aren't finished cooking. What now? Can you take a 5 minute shower while they are nibbling on appetizers? Is that even humanly possible? Schedule it in to your day so you don't forget.