Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and hoards of people will be gathering together with friends and family to celebrate the bounty of the season. And whether you have been elected, or volunteered to host we are here with a few simple tips to help you navigate the chaos that can ensue with large gatherings. 

1. Make It a Potluck

One way to ensure that everyone can eat something at your party is to make it a potluck. Have every guest bring a favorite dish of theirs, so all attendees have the opportunity to try something new, or stick to what they know is safe for them. This alleviates stress (as well as workload for the host), and you never know you may discover a new, fabulous recipe that you’d never encountered before.

2. Make a Schedule

Estimate how much time is required to prep + cook each item, so you can schedule when different dishes have to be popped into the oven or heated on the stove top. Salads and side dishes can be prepared ahead of time and then just dressed or heated prior to serving, and you can likely tetris the pans inside your oven to bake (or just heat) numerous dishes at the same time. If necessary, place sticky notes on your appliances so you know that X has to go into the oven at 4 pm, and Y needs chocolate grated on it just before it’s served.

3. Assign Seats

When you plan the seating for any event it's always good to keep in mind that mixing the introverts and extroverts at the table will keep the conversation flowing. We've got these free printable thanksgiving place cards from Style Me Green Studio. There is a formal set, and a more casual set. Hopefully one of them fits with your holiday. These place cards can be customized by typing in your guests names using Adobe Acrobat, or placing the pdf into a Microsoft Word doc. as an image and writing over the top. Or you can hand-write the names for a more personal touch.  Click here for the formal set, or click here for the casual set.

4. Keep Children Occupied

Plan simple time consuming activities for kids. There may be a lull between guests arriving, dinner service so pop in a movie or set up a board game. Also, make the kids’ table fun, cover the it with butcher paper and some crayons in paper cups. Hopefully they will be entertained for hours.

5. Don’t Try to Do It All Alone

Many hosts end up stressed out and frustrated because they get so overwhelmed by trying to handle every aspect of the celebration itself that they don’t end up enjoying the actual event. Gather together friends and family members and allot certain tasks to everyone. It’s inevitable that something may not go entirely according to plan, and that’s absolutely okay. Try to flow with things, keep a sense of humor, and remember that you’re among those who love you: dinner doesn’t have to be “perfect” in order to be amazing.