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Hosting Thanksgiving: 7 Essential Tips

dark chocolate placesetting turkey

Congratulations! You’ve been selected to host this year’s Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family! So, now what? Navigating the planning and execution of one of the most important family gatherings of the year can seem daunting. Grab a glass of wine and take a deep breath to relax. We’ve compiled a handy list of tips, tools, and techniques for making hosting your first Thanksgiving enjoyable and stress-free.

Thanksgiving food per person plan

Tip 1: Planning a menu

From hors d’oeuvres and beverages to turkey and pie, this handy guide will help you figure out just how much of each item you need to complete your big meal.

perfectly roasted Thanksgiving turkey

Tip 2: Picking a turkey (go fresh and local)

When it comes to the turkey, the centerpiece of your meal, buy fresh and buy local. You have to start with quality ingredients to get a quality meal out of the oven. This nifty Turkey Finder tool will help you explore your all your free range, organic, and non-gmo Vermont turkey options.

enlist family members to help

Tip 3: Enlist help

Cooking a full Thanksgiving meal can seem daunting. Enlist friends and family to bring a side dish, drinks, or a dessert. (Their contributions might just become one of your new favorites.) Use a sign-up genius so that you don't end up with everyone bringing a pie.  Then, get the kids involved by setting the table or creating placecards for each guest.

prepping for Thanksgiving dinner

Tip 4: Prepare ahead

The key to hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving is to prepare ahead as much as possible. This useful Thanksgiving timeline outlines all the things you can do in advance. Whether it's preparing dishes or setting the table, the more you can do before the big day, the more time you will have to enjoy with friends and family.

decorate the table with mini chocolate turkeys

Tip 5: Make decorating easy

Don’t go overboard trying to create an elaborate tablescape. Set one of these tasty, organic and fair trade certified chocolate turkeys at each place setting and watch guests gobble them up.

Thanksgiving traditions

Tip 6: Start a new tradition

Thanksgiving isn't all about the turkey. Take this moment to start a new family tradition - have friends and family each give a toast, line the table with butcher paper and have guests write down what they thankful for, take a refreshing post-dinner walk. The beauty of being the host means that you get to put your own spin on the celebration.

Thanksgiving dessert pie

Tip 7: End on a sweet note

Chocolate Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie offers a scrumptious Vermont twist on the Thanksgiving classic. It is a mouthful to say. But, top it with fresh whipped cream and leave your guests with a sweet memory of the delight-filled day.

Phew. You've made it. (Well you've made it through the list at least.) Hosting your first Thanksgiving may seem like a big ordeal. But with these tips and techniques you are already on your way to an easier, stress-free day. Remember, it is about being thankful for what you have. So let go of perfection and enjoy the time with your family!