A Thanksgiving Table Setting
Credit: amandaparkerandfamily.blogspot.com


Thanksgiving can be a difficult party to host. It takes many hours to cook a turkey, make pies, and make all the sides for a meal that will last an hour. Fortunately, this article has many useful tips on how to plan your Thanksgiving party so that the time planning the party will be worth it.

Inviting People

The very first thing you'll need to do is make sure guests show up. You'll need to send out invitations in the mail or call/email people to tell them to come to your party. In your invitations be sure to include:

  • When the party is (date/time)
  • Who's invited (family, friends, kids, etc.)
  • Attire (formal or casual?)
  • Anything guests need to bring (a dessert, side dish, etc.)
  • When to RSVP by
  • Anything else you feel you need to add

Going Grocery Shopping

First you'll need to go grocery shopping to get enough food to cook a big Thanksgiving meal for everyone. The first thing you'll need to know is the number of people who are coming to the party. Go grocery shopping after everyone has RSVP'ed so that you know how much food to buy. Keep in mind that cooking a Thanksgiving meal might cost you a couple hundred dollars so don't be surprised when you spend that much. Bring coupons and look for deals on turkey's to save money.

We'll break the grocery shopping into categories.

Beverages: First you'll need drinks at the party. Some beverage options include a punch bowl, water bottles, juice, milk, etc.

Turkey: What's a meal without the turkey? You'll need at least a pound of turkey per person that comes to your party. If turkey isn't popular at your party offer an additional option such as ham.

Sides: You'll need lots of side to complete a big Thanksgiving party. Common sides include mashed potatoes, rolls or bread, peas, yams, stuffing, and other vegetables. One other thing you absolutely can't forget is the gravy. Gravy tastes good on almost anything!

Dessert: To top off your big meal, you'll need to bake some pies. Common pie types include pumpkin, blueberry, apple, lemon-meringue, key lime, and pecan. If you would like you could also make a cake or cook some Thanksgiving cookies. To go with dessert, many guests will probably prefer to drink coffee or have some other warm beverage such as tea, or even hot chocolate for the kids. Lastly, You can't have pie without whipped cream. Buy a couple of cans of whipped cream to put on top of the pie. If you bake pies, you'll need pie crust and pie filling. Buying pies from a grocery store or bakery will save you time but not necessarily money.

Shopping For Decorations

In addition to grocery shopping, you'll need to pick out some decorations to spice up your house and give it that Thanksgiving feel. Include some basic items such as balloons and banners.

To give your party that Thanksgiving feel you'll need to create a great atmosphere for your dining room and more specifically, the table setting. For the table, you'll need a Thanksgiving table runner or Thanksgiving Day themed tablecloth. You'll want to buy a Thanksgiving day table set or beautiful plates if you don't have any. To show some charm and character you'll want to buy everything with Thanksgiving themes such as Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers or Thanksgiving napkin holders. You'll definitely need candles to give the warm home feeling. To add to your table decorations, you'll want some gourds. Gourds are basically fake fruits and vegetables that are used as decorations.

Since Thanksgiving is a more formal party you'll want to use real tableware, not disposable plates and napkins. Make sure you have a set of real napkins. Wrap the silverware in the napkin or put it on the napkin to give it a more formal feel.

Cooking & Setting Up

To make things easier have family members help you cook and set up the party. This will save lots of time. Make the food the day of the party so it is fresh but get up early and cook early. Cooking a turkey will take on average 4-6 hours depending on the size of the turkey. Remember this and start cooking the turkey early.

When setting up, get the biggest table you have and make sure it fits in the dining room, or whatever room you plan on serving the meal in. Some tables are extendable. Decorate the room on Thanksgiving or the day before to save time on Thanksgiving Day. Then, you'll need to start setting the table. Add some candles and light them up when the meal is served.

When the meal is over, you'll have a lot of dishes to do. Get guests to help you clean up and do dishes to make clean up faster. You'll need to save leftovers and take the garbage out.

Lastly, you'll need to serve dessert. You don't need any fancy plates, silverware, or napkins to serve desserts. After this, you'll need to take the decorations down after the party and you are done.


During most of the party, guests will be eating and talking. Some guests might also leave before the party ends to take advantage of Black Friday deals. This means you won't need to much entertainment. Entertainment is tough on Thanksgiving though. It's usually too cold to go outside and there aren't many activities to do on Thanksgiving.

One common thing is to break the wishbone. This will only take a minute. Two people grab a side of the wishbone. Then you pull the wishbone and the one who has the biggest side wins and makes a wish. 

The main thing to do is to simply get in touch with the people you haven't seen in a while. Since Thanksgiving is technically the start of the holiday season, Common things to talk about are Black Friday deals, the upcoming holidays, and the weather. Thanksgiving is the holiday to be social!