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Nothing says "grown up" like hosting a family holiday. I remember when the dinner duty passed from my mother-iin-law to me. It was a little overwhelming at first. But over the years, I've learned things . . . and I'd like to share them with you.

 Make a Plan

Thinking about the flow of the day in advance lends clarity to the chaos. Consider the number of people and where you plan to serve dinner. Will you set up a buffet or serve family style at the table? Do you need to borrow some chairs or set up folding tables?

 What are your favourite recipes? Don't get crazy with too many new recipes at once. Stick to the tried and true.

 Also, think about your baking and cooking schedule because you can't stuff a turkey, pie, and potatoes all in the oven at once. On that note, your barbecue is your friend as extra oven space. 


Better quality ingredients require less fussy cooking. Salt, pepper and butter go a long way to season a beautiful turkey, or farmer's market vegetables.

Make your grocery list and shop a few days ahead of the long weekend to beat the rush.

 Accept Help & Delegate

Ask guests to bring food --- and feel free to be specific. That way, not everyone brings a Jello salad. You could even provide a recipe if they are not sure what to bring. People really do want to help!

And by all means, go to the bakery! I always order dessert from our favourite bakery or restaurant for pick-up in advance. It's a sanity saver.

 Set the Table

Set your table the day before so you can see if you're missing anything. Lay out utensils and serving dishes. Don't go too far down those Pinterest rabbit holes for decorating. Simple fresh flowers in a low vase, small gourds and pumpkins or pressed fall leaves scattered on the table as a runner are beautiful. I like to go foraging for fall branches and put them in a tall vase on the buffet.

 Don't Forget Beverages

How about a slow cooker simmering with apple cider? Or a self-serve punch bowl on a corner table?

Cocktails are too fussy and time consuming to make. A solid red wine, white wine and non-alcoholic option will do the trick.


The dinner might not be perfect, but all your guests will chip in if you let them. Remember, they're all just happy they aren't hosting dinner!

Lastly, the reward for hosting Thanksgiving dinner is leftovers --- no cooking for days! That's totally worth it.

 If you have hosting hacks you'd like to share, please drop us a line.

Happy feasting!



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