10 Tips to Pulling Off Your First Thanksgiving Hosting Duties (PHOTOS)

10 Tips to Pulling Off Your First Thanksgiving Hosting Duties (PHOTOS)

Maybe you just moved into a new place, or you're newly coupled. Whatever the reason, this is the very first year you're hosting loved ones for the Thanksgiving meal at your place. Exciting! And more than a little bit overwhelming, right? 

It doesn't have to be. With some preparation and a calm and joyful attitude ... you totally got this. Style Me Pretty managing editor Erin Lepperd shared her tips for being a successful first-time holiday host -- and enjoying it to boot!

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Images via Style Me Pretty Living; Stephanie Frey/shutterstock


  • Keep It Simple


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    You may be inspired to go all out for your first hosting duties --  but don't let Pinterest carry you down a rabbit hole of overambition that will only lead to stress and disappointment. "Though we're all for a fancy new twist on tradition, if this is your first time at the rodeo, stick to the classics -- they're crowd-pleasers for a reason," Lepperd says.

  • Check Your Inventory


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    As part of your prep work for the holiday, take some time to inventory your supplies well ahead of time, counting out the items you'll need, from cookware to serveware. That way, you can fill in by buying or borrowing what you need with plenty of time. "From pots and pans to tablecloths and silverware, make sure you do an inventory check before the big day," Lepperd says.

  • Plan Your Menu


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    Especially if it's your first time serving a major plated meal, make sure you have a clear guest count. " Though it doesn't have to be anything too extreme, you'll want a set plan for your Thanksgiving menu," Lepperd says. "And knowing how many people are coming will help you determine the amount of food you'll need to keep the crowd fed and happy."

  • Grocery Shop Early


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    Leave this task to the last minute at your own peril. "The day before Thanksgiving can often be one of the busiest of the year for supermarkets," Lepperd says. "Don't risk your grocery items selling out before you get a chance to purchase them. 

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  • Set the Table a Day Ahead


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    You can't do everything in advance, but do what you can reasonably do to minimize stress and help manage time on the big day -- like setting the table." It's one less thing to worry about and will leave you more time for cooking up a storm," Lepperd says. "Plus, a pretty table is a major do in our books, so this will leave you time to really craft the perfect feasting backdrop."

  • Remember to Defrost the Turkey


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    At many Thanksgiving tables, the turkey is the main entree -- so make sure you get it on the table in time! "This is a major one -- like maybe the biggest deal," Lepperd says. "Turkey is the center of the Thanksgiving universe, and it takes a heck of a lot of time to defrost. Pull that puppy out way in advance so it's ready for cooking [on the] day of [Thanksgiving]."

  • Remember You Only Have One Oven


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    You may be excited to try new recipes, but stick to what you can feasibly do in the kitchen you have in reality -- not the one in your dreams. " Try to choose recipes that don't all have to be in the oven at the same time," Lepperd says. "Consider that cooking vessel prime real estate and plan accordingly. A cooking timeline works like a charm."

  • Take a Moment for Yourself


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    With so much focus on the meal and decor, many people forget to build into their timelines a bit of time to get themselves ready." Surprisingly, most newbies forget to build this into their Thanksgiving timeline," Lepperd says. "Carve out a few hours for showering and prepping yourself for the smorgasbord ahead, preferably well before guests are set to arrive."

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  • Set Out Some Apps


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    The Thanksgiving meal is a famously (notoriously?) big and heavy one. But guests will likely come hungry, and having a bit of food out for them will take the stress off the formal dinner time and create a convivial atmosphere. "Make sure to give guests the option of nibbling before the meal begins," Lepperd says. "Appetizers are a great way to stave off hungry individuals, especially if the food isn't served quite on schedule."

  • Don't Expect Perfection


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    At the end of the day, remember it's a party! More than that, it's a special time to celebrate abundance with people you love. "No matter how the day turns out, don't forget to enjoy with those you love," Lepperd says. "After all, you won't remember the burned stuffing dish as much as you'll remember the laughs and good conversation with the fam."

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