Hosting Thanksgiving

This year, we bought a house. We were not planning to buy a house, but we got suckered in to this amazing deal. We add that last part to help us not feel like we were crazy for moving from the perfect studio apartment into a 3 bedroom house. 

When you buy a house (everyone tells you) there are hidden costs. Not like – oh your realtor did not tell you that you owe this for escrow, or you have asbestos and owe for remediation, no, hidden as in, we need a couch. Those light fixtures are ugly, can we find any for less than $200 that look better? Washer and dryer? Maybe we can wash clothes in the kitchen sink? Those kind of hidden costs. Add to that a flurry of visitors, painting every room, yard work, etc, and you begin to question your great idea of house buying.

Somewhere in the midst of all of that, we decided to stay home for the holidays. This meant Thanksgiving dinner at home. This was such good news to me. Baking and cooking are hobbies of mine. I also enjoy hosting and planning events. My husband and I celebrate many holidays since I love any excuse to make a mess and eat on my china.

When friends found out I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner, the typical response was,  “WOW! I hope it goes well.”  I never knew what to say back, so a simple “Thanks!” sufficed while in my mind I thought “I must be crazy…”

I was so nervous about the turkey. I can recall Thanksgivings when the turkey delayed our dinner. I pulled out my best recipe ideas (thanks to my Grandma for sending over a Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving cookbook) and got to work. Thankfully, we did not have many people at our house so I only had to panic over a turkey breast.

I set the table the night before to cut down on my morning duties. I went for a simple look, using butcher block paper to cover the table, jute to wrap my hand-sewn napkins, and tree branches for the centerpiece. Complements of our dying tree (apparently, it has a disease – add that to the hidden cost list) – which adorns our front yard with dead branches.

My tips to success:

  • I planned out the menu 2 weeks before.
  • I wrote down how long each item took to prepare and made a timeline the Friday before.

This method allowed me to know what needed to go into the oven first and what needed to be prepped in the meantime. Start with your target end time and work backwards to know how early you need to start prepping and cooking.

The meal came together without any major problems. No one freaked out, nothing burned, and everything was cooked to a perfect doneness.  All that was left was to sit, eat, and enjoy!


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