Whether your guest list includes the kind of family that you are born with or is filled with the kind you make for yourself, the thought of hosting Thanksgiving dinner in your apartment should elicit feelings of excitement rather than anxiety. Yet, many people stress out about roasting a flawless turkey or making their guests happy. Here are a few tips to help you entertain at ease.
Make Preparations Ahead of Time
Beyond baking or picking up your pies a few days in advance, do as many things as possible ahead of time to maintain your sanity.
Two Weeks Before
- Plan out your entire menu. Be sure to include a variety of foods to accommodate different diets.
- Decide which dishes you want others to bring and which you want to make yourself. You can’t go wrong by asking guests to bring ice or wine.
- Make a shopping list at the same time.
One Week Before
- Thoroughly clean your apartment from top (think cobwebs in the ceiling corners) to bottom (think deep-cleaning carpets or polishing wood floors).
- Free up space for holiday groceries by tossing unwanted or expired items from your refrigerator.
- Get your hair or nails done to avoid the rush at the salon, take your holiday ensemble to the cleaners if necessary, etc.
Two Days Ahead
- Make dip, soup, cranberry sauce and any other recipe that freezes or refrigerates well.
- Chop vegetables and do as much prep work as possible for recipes that have to be cooked the day of.
One Day Ahead
- Move furniture to make your dinner party more comfortable.
- Iron linens and put them on the table or lay them out somewhere else if possible.
- Decorate accordingly.
15 Minutes Before
- Have drinks and appetizers ready so that you aren’t surprised by any early arrivals and have something to offer them.
Label Food and Drinks
Chances are, at least one of your guests has a food allergy of some sort. If you are serving your dinner as a buffet, be sure to label dishes with key ingredients so no one ends up feeling sick from gluten or having an allergic reacting to finely chopped nuts.
It is also a good idea to have plenty of wine glass markers or charms to prevent drinks from getting mixed up.
Send Leftovers Home in Style
Save room in your refrigerator and eliminate the hassle of getting your dishes back by sharing leftovers in cute catering boxes in a variety of styles and sizes. Tie them up with a festive ribbon or a long strip of linen and finish them off with tags with pre-printed sayings like:
- “I’m thankful for leftovers.”
- “Great friends. Great food. Grateful.”
- “Leftover pie for tomorrow’s breakfast is a beautiful thing.”
- “Good food is meant to be shared.”
Your guests will remember your thoughtfulness long after the leftovers are gone.
Have you hosted Thanksgiving dinner in your apartment before? Share your tips and tricks to entertain with ease with our close-knit community by commenting below.