It’s almost the holiday season and you’ve just moved in. Boxes are still everywhere, the cable isn’t hooked up yet, and there’s a weird smell that definitely wasn’t there before. Oh, and you are also hosting Thanksgiving in your new home this year. Don’t. Freak. Out. This is absolutely possible. If you follow a few simple tips, hosting thanksgiving in your new home can be fun and stress-free.
Here are 9 simple tips for hosting Thanksgiving in your new home.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving in your new home, planning ahead and organization is crucial. If you’ve not yet fully settled in, you likely are still unpacking, decorating, and setting up your home. And now, on top of all that, you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner. It is all very possible, but you will have to be organized to ensure the big day goes smoothly.
The key to staying organized is to start early and plan ahead. Finalize your guest list and send out invites well in advance, and then start your planning at least 2 to 3 weeks before showtime. Take some time to sit down with a pencil, notepad, and a calendar, and think through your event. Then make a detailed schedule with actionable tasks to complete ahead of time. Being prepared like this will take the stress out of hosting and allow you to enjoy the holiday, too.
Consider your logistics. Get an idea of how many guests you will have and their groupings (kids, couples, elderly, etc.). Start mapping out the space in your new home for the event. Decide if you’ll use one room or a couple, serve food buffet-style or at the table, put kids with the adults or separate, etc.
Take an inventory of your practical items. Do you have enough tables and chairs? If not, do you need to go buy or rent some or borrow from a friend? Is your kitchen ready with cookware, pots and pans, and electronics? Do you have enough plates, cups, and utensils for all your guests? If not, thrift stores are great places to stretch your inventory for the extra company.
Start thinking through your menu. Decide which dishes are must-haves for you and your family on this holiday. Choose whether to stick to the classics, try new recipes of old favorites, or throw in a new dish or two. Once you have your menu decided, make sure you have all the recipes you need.
Start making lists. Make a shopping list of furniture, decorations, or other practical items you have discovered you will need. Then start making a separate shopping list of grocery items you know you will need after looking at your recipes. And don’t forget the turkey.
Maybe after thinking through everything about hosting Thanksgiving in your new home ahead of time, you’ve realized you just don’t have enough time to do it all on your own. And that’s okay! There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, but there is something wrong with over-booking and over-stressing yourself. You have options.
If you’ve found you don’t have time to make the entire meal on your own, consider a potluck-style Thanksgiving. This is a well-accepted tradition for many families, and it could be really useful to you, too. Just stick to the turkey and whatever else you feel you can handle. Then assign the rest of the dishes to your other guests. They probably like their green bean casserole made a certain way . Try to assign others the dishes that would take up space in your oven while you’ll be cooking the turkey.
Maybe you’re hosting Thanksgiving in your new home but really don’t have time for all that cooking. It is completely okay to consider getting the meal catered from a local restaurant or grocery store. You can choose whichever meal package or sides you want to serve. And all you’ll have to do is heat it up the day of. This is also a great way to support local restaurants and local grocers. Just remember to get your order in on time. And make sure to be extra kind to the workers who are giving up their holiday to prepare your meal.
Another tip for hosting Thanksgiving in your new home is to clean out and prep your fridge. If you’ve just moved in, you probably don’t have much work to do here. But if you’re a month or two in already, your fridge has probably filled up fast.
The week before the big day, make sure you clean out any leftovers and items taking up extra space. You need to make sure you have room for the groceries required for all those recipes. Then after Thanksgiving dinner is over, you will need some designated (and easily accessible!) space in there for storing leftovers.
One essential tip for hosting Thanksgiving in your new home is to get your grocery shopping done early.
First, make sure you purchase your turkey well in advance, as it can take days to thaw, depending on its size.
Also, it’s wise to make a few dishes in advance, so you need to have all your ingredients on hand early. Do the bulk of your Thanksgiving dinner grocery shopping about 4 days before the big day.
Scour your recipes and take an inventory of your fridge and pantry for items you already have. Then make your shopping list for all the rest. If you can get everything in one store, that’s great! If not, organize your list by store. Then further organize the items you need into sections, such as frozen, dairy, canned goods, etc. for accuracy and efficiency.
One thing you can easily check off your list early when hosting Thanksgiving at your new home is table decorating.
You can have your table all set up and decorated and out of your mind a week ahead if you want! If you need to use your table up until then, at least have everything out and ready somewhere near.
You have plenty of other things going on, so don’t feel pressured to create something elaborate. Save that for next time when you’re more settled in. Some basics like a nice linen table cloth, your best china or dishware, fall-themed accents, and maybe some fall-inspired foliage pieces are all you need.
One of the most stress-saving things you can do when hosting Thanksgiving in your new home is to cook and do prep work ahead of time.
ANY dish that is possible to make ahead of time, do it. Start making casseroles, pies, salads, and any other dishes that can re-heat and keep up to 3 days early.
Then make the day-of dishes easy to throw together by doing any prep-work you can the day before. Chop veggies, mix batters, portion out ingredients, etc.
If you only have one stove, one oven, and one microwave, plan out your dishes accordingly. You can’t bake 5 different things at the same time if they all require different temperatures.
When hosting Thanksgiving dinner in your new home, you can enjoy the holiday more if you’ve prepped for cleaning. Everyone will finish eating at around the same time, and the dishes will start piling up. And the last thing you want to do after spending all day cooking is to spend the rest of it cleaning. Especially since you’ll be feeling your share of that post-Thanksgiving dinner nap tugging at your eyelids, too.
Wash pots and pans as you cook, so that by the time dinner is ready you are starting fresh. Make sure the dishwasher is empty and ready to be filled. Have one sink full of hot, soapy water. As people finish, instruct them to drop their dishes into the suds so they can begin to soak. This will help streamline the cleaning process.
Before dinner, empty all trash cans so they are ready to accept trash at full capacity. Line them with a couple of fresh bags. This way, as you remove one full bag there is already another one ready-to-go.
Also, go ahead and get an assortment of storage containers, ziplock bags, and labels out and ready to go for when it’s time to begin storing the leftovers.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving in your new home, remember that you do not have to do all of this yourself. Feel free to assign various tasks to a few helpers to take some of the load off.
There are always last-minute shopping runs, trash to take out, things to chop, and dishes to wash. Delegating away these tasks and errands will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and help you focus on cooking and hosting. Don’t hesitate to use your kids. You brought them into this world, they can at least help you make Thanksgiving dinner.
Hosting Thanksgiving in your new home is a great way to get to show it off to everyone! And they will all probably want a tour of the new digs as they arrive for the holiday.
So when planning your cooking schedule for the day, make sure to factor in a few home tours. Your guests won’t all arrive at the same time, so you might be in and out of the kitchen. Assign a helper to watch the preparations as you give mini-tours. And make sure you have a few simple appetizers out to keep guests from getting too hungry and anxious if this extends the time until dinner is ready. Because getting to show everyone around is all part of the fun of hosting Thanksgiving in your new home.
The most important tip when hosting Thanksgiving in your new home is not to forget to have fun! This is your holiday, too. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful on its own, but there are extra challenges if you’re in a brand new home. But if you follow these tips and remember to stay organized and ahead of the game, there’s no need to stress. You’ll be free to enjoy the feeling of hosting an unforgettable Thanksgiving for your family and friends and initiating your new home with warm memories.
Still looking for your new home? Contact us today and we will help you find the new home that is right for you.