Looking for ways to organize yourself to host Thanksgiving? Here are 9 tips to hosting the best Thanksgiving dinner ever. Not hosting this year? Check out my Thanksgiving hostess gift ideas at the end of this post.
Do you host Thanksgiving dinner? It is my favorite holiday of the year and we host it every year.
We get together with our large extended family and have the best time. It’s a great opportunity to re-connect and catch up with one another.
But the other reason it’s my favorite holiday of the year is because my birthday typically falls on or around Thanksgiving. So we have even more to celebrate!
Before we renovated our home 15 years ago, it was tough to host everyone here for Thanksgiving. Because we just didn’t have the space!
We used to only host my side of the family, which is pretty small.
Once we renovated, we were able to include my husband’s side of the family. And he’s the 6 of 7 kids. So I’m sure you can imagine how big the holidays are around here.
Since renovating, we typically host our family of about 20-30 people. The numbers go up and down but in general, between kids and adults, we range from 20-30 people. So it’s a pretty big event!
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Create a Festive and Welcoming Front Entry for Thanksgiving
First impressions are everything! Add some pumpkins, mums or other fall flowers to add a cozy touch when guests arrive.
And because its the end of the season, you can get leftover pumpkins and flowers for a steal!
Making Room at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table
We enjoy a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner, so how do we do it with such a large crowd?
It’s all about the table configuration. And I like a configuration that fosters conversation with the whole group.
Not just with the people sitting across or next to you.
Now my dining room is not the largest, but we figured out a way to extend our dining table to make extra seating without using folding tables.
Aren’t those table annoying sometimes? They are all different heights, awkward and unstable.
A few years ago we decided to address it so we could seat more guests at our dining table without using folding tables. And we love it! You can check out how we made room for extra seating HERE.
Simple Fall Table Decor Ideas
Our Thanksgiving table decor looks different each year.
One year, I decorated with more traditional autumnal colors.
Another time, I decorated the dining table with soft neutrals.
And if you notice, I use a lot of the same decor items but in different ways.
Last year, I mixed winter and fall decor together and it looked so cool! That might’ve been my favorite table.
Oh and check out this rustic fall centerpiece idea for the dining table.
It’s really easy to make!
But if you are looking for something super simple, you might already have most of these on hand for this easy fall centerpiece idea.
Tips for Hosting the Best Thanksgiving Dinner Ever
- Plan ahead of time and don’t be shy asking for help. If you have a lot of guests, divvy up the dishes. Ask guests to contribute a dish to lighten the load. Just because you are hosting doesn’t mean you have to cook the whole darn thing!
- Determine how many guests are attending and create a dinner table configuration that fosters conversation with everyone. We re-configure our farmhouse dining table to be a square shape so guests can all see and talk to each other.
- Make or buy a beautiful centerpiece. If using a live centerpiece, create or buy it a day or two before the event. If using a faux centerpiece for the dining table, create it as early as possible to save yourself time and energy well before Thanksgiving.
- Determine what dishes you are making, then make a grocery shopping list.
- If making more than one dish, prioritize the ones that can be made ahead of time and ones that need to be made on Thanksgiving Day.
- Get beverages for adults and children a few days before. These don’t go bad, so pick up beverages early Thanksgiving week or sooner!
- Set the table with fall table decor the day before. Be creative and use lots of layers. The more layers, the cozier and more welcoming the table feels.
- Prepare make ahead dishes the day before to make things easier on Thanksgiving Day.
- Make place cards for each guest. These can be simple or elaborate. Do what you have time for.
- When you are enjoying the meal, go around the table and give each guest the floor to say what they are thankful for. This has always been the best part of our Thanksgiving dinner. Our entire family enjoys this the most from grandparents to grandbabies. It’s a heartwarming touch to hosting the best thanksgiving dinner. And you won’t believe the things you learn!
Want to Learn What You Need to Set a Beautiful Thanksgiving Table?
Click here to get my FREE GUIDE that tells you everything you need to set a gorgeous table! Welcome friends and family to a cozy dining table with this must-have list of table top decor that you’ll use over and over again.
Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas
Not sure how to organize a Thanksgiving Dinner? Here is a list of Thanksgiving dinner menu items to get you started.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Vegetable Sides
- Charcuterie or other light apps
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pecan Pie
- Apple Pie
Host Gifts for Thanksgiving
Not hosting this year? Here are some great Thanksgiving hostess gift ideas.
I hope you found some great Thanksgiving dinner inspiration and hostess gift ideas. We are looking forward to reconnecting and spending time with our family this year. I am thankful that my girls will be home from college and we’ll have the whole family back under one roof.
Each day is a blessing.
What are you thankful for this year?
From our family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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