Hosting Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) for the First Time

10 Nov, 2016

If it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!), you might feel a little nervous about the big day. Follow our tips below to make the entire day run smoothly. As an added tool, we’ve created a holiday dinner timeline to help you time your meal just right.

Enlist the help of others

Luckily, the Thanksgiving menu is probably pretty set in stone, so there should be little mystery about what to cook for Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie are standard for most celebrations. If you want to try a new dish, appetizer or dessert, you can add it to the menu, but be sure to include the traditional favorites to please everyone in the family. For those hosting Friendsgiving, talk to friends beforehand to determine the final menu – it may be a great opportunity to put a spin on the more classic Thanksgiving menu items.

To make hosting a little easier, consider assigning dishes to certain family members or friends. In fact, you may find that certain people will be put off if asked NOT to help cook. So let your aunt bring her famous green bean casserole and your sister contribute her beloved cheesy appetizer. Be sure to make a list of all the foods you plan on serving, and make note of any dishes you need to make vs. dishes others are planning on bringing.

Prep ahead of time

Much of the cooking can’t be done ahead of time, but you can prepare your house beforehand. Start cleaning the week before and set your table – including any holiday decorations and centerpieces – the day before. Jot down any special ideas for Thanksgiving dinner that come to mind and plot out your approach.

You should also gather any recipes you’ll need in advance, whether that means scouring Pinterest, an old copy of “The Joy of Cooking” or calling your grandma to get the secret family recipe. Get a general idea of how long each dish takes to cook and outline a schedule. You’ll also want to consider how many burners your cooktop has and if any dishes can be cooked at the same time in the oven.

Make sure your refrigerator has plenty of space cleared out (don’t buy your weekly groceries the day before!) for leftovers.

Don’t forget about those extra kitchen appliances that can make your day as host of Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving easier! A slow-cooker, for example, is perfect for preparing a casserole or dessert (and will free up valuable oven space). Browse hhgregg’s selection of small kitchen appliances to find more products that can help.

Follow our Thanksgiving dinner timeline

Not sure when to get started cooking for the day? When should you begin prepping the rolls? What about basting the turkey? And more importantly, is there time for a glass of wine? Never fear. The hhgregg “Traditions Timed Right” infographic will help you get everything on the table on time – with laughs along the way.

hhgregg traditions timed right

Plan for fun

Don’t stress too much about making every dish perfect. Remember that Thanksgiving is about family and celebrating all that we are thankful for. Approach the day with a positive attitude, do your best to ensure your guests have fun and you’ll be sure to have a successful experience hosting your first Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving.

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