7 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Hosting Thanksgiving

Posted 10/9/2019 by Baker Party Rentals.
Filed under: Hosting Tips

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a great way to show appreciation to your loved ones, but for many people this is a daunting task. Just the idea of hosting a party at home can evoke feelings of panic, worry, and stress. But hosting doesn’t need to be that way!

We’re here to help make the planning process as stress free as possible and to put the fun back into Thanksgiving! We've put together a list of our best tips to help you stay on top of the planning process and pull off a memorable gathering. Follow these simple tips and your guests are sure to be impressed! 

#1 Stay Organized

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but staying organized throughout the entire planning process is so important for hosting a successful event, yet it can be easily overlooked.

If you are unsure where to begin, start by making a guest list. Not only will this help you figure out your budget for food and drinks, but it will also help you figure out other important details, such as seating arrangements and rental needs.

Our biggest suggestion is placing your holiday rental order as soon as possible! Because Thanksgiving is our busiest week of the year, we start running out of the more popular rental items pretty quickly. You can still make changes to an order even after you’ve paid a deposit, so we recommend reserving your items now and adjusting your quantities as your RSVPs come in.

To help you stay organized for holiday hosting, we created a checklist of common rental needs that are easily overlooked but are indispensable for a successful holiday event. Click here to download the checklist now!

#2 Plan Your Design

Designing your event space is much more than just picking out a working color scheme. From seating arrangements to choosing your centerpieces, planning your design in advance is paramount.

If you are planning on seating everyone at the same table, but don’t have enough seats available, consider renting tables and chairs. Rental tables tend to be slimmer than most dining tables, which means you can fit more people in the same space. Rental chairs are also slimmer than most dining chairs, which means you can seat more people at each table.

Make a seating arrangement complete with name cards to make it easier for your guests to find a place to sit when it’s dinner time. You can also attach a party favor to each card to add a personal touch!

When planning your table scape, remember to keep centerpieces low so they don’t get in the way of conversation. A small floral arrangement and votive candles are a timeless combination that can elevate your tabletop design to the next level.

We put together a collection of our favorite Thanksgiving rentals to help you with your table scape design. Follow this link to view the complete collection! 

#3 Make a Playlist

Music is an integral part of any party, yet it’s easy to forget about it until your first guests arrive at your doorstep. Stay on top of the game by making the perfect playlist ahead of time that’s ready to go for your Thanksgiving dinner!

The type of music that you play can make or break your event, so pay close attention to the songs you add to your playlist. Instrumental music such as jazz or acoustic covers of popular songs are a great way to create an ambiance. Just make sure to keep the volume low enough that your guests can enjoy the music while conversing!

If you don’t have time to make your own playlist, look for a premade list on your streaming service of choice, or you can download our Spotify playlist here and let us be your own personal DJ!

#4 Prep the Food

Why cook everything on Thanksgiving Day when you can prep the majority of your menu in advance? Prepping your foods ahead of time is a great way to take things off your mind—and off your hands—when Thanksgiving comes around!  

We recommend baking your sweets and desserts ahead of time and freezing them. They’ll still taste just as good when defrosted and doing so will save you precious time on Thanksgiving Day. Just make sure to wrap each goodie tightly in plastic wrap after cooling down completely to avoid freezer burns.

Cooking and prepping your meal for Thanksgiving will result in a tightly-packed fridge! Consider renting a refrigerator or a large cooler to ensure you have enough space to store extra food and to chill your beverages. 

If cooking isn’t your thing, consider ordering ahead from a restaurant or hiring a caterer to handle your food needs. You can even purchase a pre-made turkey dinner complete with all the fixings from most supermarkets!

Our favorite food tip is to have your guests bring their favorite dish and make Thanksgiving dinner a potluck! This is a great way to engage with your guests and make them feel more involved in the festivities. Plus, this creates a sense of unity that brings people together. After all, this is what the holidays are all about!

#5 The Day Before

Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can take care of today! The day before Thanksgiving is all about getting ready for the big day, so make sure you make the most of it!  

If you’re picking up a will call order from us, make sure your vehicle has enough room to accommodate your rentals. Be sure to set aside enough time for the pick-up process (20-30 minutes), as this is our busiest day of the year.

Prepare your side dishes so they are ready to go the next day. This tip is great especially for cold foods, such as salads and slaws, and even the mashed potatoes! Marinate food items that you are planning on cooking the next day so that the flavors can soak in overnight. And don’t forget to chill those drinks!

After you’ve finished getting the house cleaned and the space cleared, set the dining table complete with linen and tabletop decorations so it’s ready to go. Set up any other table stations as well, such as the buffet station, bar or beverage station, and dessert station. Trust us, you’ll be glad you set this up early! 

#6 Thanksgiving Day

When Thanksgiving Day finally comes around, don’t panic! This is the day you’ve been planning for - just a few more final details to go!

Give yourself plenty of time to cook the turkey and any other side dishes. If you’ve frozen your baked goods ahead of time, defrost them early in the day at room temperature so that they’re ready to go for dessert.

Lay out all of your serving platters on the dining table or buffet station and label what each one is for with washi tape or post it notes. This will make it easier to serve the food and will make the overall presentation more organized and appealing!

When the first few guests start to arrive, have them help out with the little things, such as lighting candles or filling up glasses with ice water. Your guests will be more than happy to help out with these little details while you finish up in the kitchen.

#7 Have Fun!

Thanksgiving is much more than just fancy decorations and a hearty meal. After all, the point of hosting is to bring your loved ones together to show your love and appreciation for them. Don’t let the stress of hosting this special day keep you from enjoying their company over a delicious meal. Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and to be thankful for what we have. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your time with family and friends! 

Photography provided by:

Frances Tang Photography

Three16 Photography

Christine Skari Photography