Five Tips for Hosting Your First Thanksgiving


You’re hosting your first Thanksgiving!? Heck yes! It’s been years in the making, but you’ve finally been passed the baton. Before you start to freak out about how much you have to do, here are some tips to help make sure you’re prepared for hosting your first Thanksgiving.

1. Prepare as much food as you can beforehand.

This may seem like a common sense item, but preparing sides and desserts ahead of time is going to make life so much easier come Thursday morning. Things like casseroles can be prepared completely beforehand, put in the freezer, and thrown in the oven Thursday morning. No stress, no mess! Get all your pie making done a few days in advance so you can focus on making other things Thursday morning.

2. Go simple with your tableware and set it all up Wednesday night.

You may be tempted to go to Pottery Barn and buy the complete Fall-inspired tablescape before hosting your first Thanksgiving, but consider using what you already have. Make it Fall-like with some simple decorations like a handwritten name card or items from the dollar section like a mini Fall wreath for each plate. And get everything set up the night before. Better yet — set it up as early as you can. Getting that task off your plate (pun alert!) will be ideal.

Tips for hosting your first thanksgiving

3. Let people contribute to the meal.

You’re hosting your own Thanksgiving, but don’t feel like you need to make everything. If your Aunt makes some amazing green bean casserole, let her make it and bring it! Grandma makes the best pumpkin pie you’ve ever had? Bring it on, Grandma! Don’t think you’re on your own with making everything. Family and friends will be happy to help.

4. Go with simple decorations.

Beyond the table, simple, yet classic decorations will give your home a festive and warm feel. Light up some Bath & Body Works candles and get a Fall bouquet for your front entry table. We have an artificial Fall leaf branch (I’m obsessed with the changing leaves) in a simple clay vase from Target to make our home extra homey.

Tips for hosting your first thanksgiving

5. Make sure you have coffee ready to brew for after dinner.

This may seem strange. You might be thinking — why do I need coffee? Aren’t cocktails and wine enough? Although that might be enough for some, it’s always nice to have coffee on hand to have with dessert. It’s also a welcomed beverage for those who might be feeling a food coma coming on after the big meal.

Calming down now? No need to worry about hosting your first Thanksgiving. You have this under control and you’ll do great! The family will be talking about how amazing it was for the next year. For those of you who are seasoned Thanksgiving host pros, let us know your favorite tip for hosting Thanksgiving in the comments below!

And if you’re looking for a yummy, yet simple cocktail to serve with Thanksgiving dinner, look no further than our Cranberry Apple Moscow Mule.

Happy Thanksgiving, loves! I can definitely say I’m super thankful for Oak & James and all of its readers.

XO –


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