Thanksgiving Dinner Tips for the Unprepared

Tips for Hosting a Last Minute Thanksgiving Dinner | Greystar

Thanksgiving is in two days, and there’s a lot to do! From tidying up the apartment and editing guest lists to finalizing meal plans, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s really important about the holidays when things get busy.

We’ve compiled several helpful tips for keeping your head above water on the big day, especially if you’ve waited for the last minute to get things done.

Easy Décor

You don’t have to completely transform your apartment into a fall-themed Thanksgiving paradise, but it’s a good idea to set the table the night before and get a good idea of what combination of plates, flatware and accessories you want to use. And an easy centerpiece can add an unmistakable touch of seasonal ambiance to your dining room.

Your spare serving dishes can be used to display whole nuts and similar foods in a festive manner, and you can serve them up as snacks as a bonus! The clever placement of pumpkins and select décor left over from Halloween festivities is another easy way to spruce up a room. 

Organization is Key

Try to keep a written list of everyone attending, especially if you have out-of-town guests arriving. Head counts can unfortunately be quite fluid during large family gatherings, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have too much food rather than too little. After all, who doesn’t like Turkey Day leftovers?

If you’re running out of time and don’t have the necessary cookware to get the job done, don’t hesitate to ask your guests if you need to borrow something. Being the host is a big job, and guests will understand if you need a few extra casserole dishes loaned for the meal. While you’re at it, ask for volunteers to bring a side dish, or even just some rolls. Knowing that you have people taking care of the minor things can free your mind to focus on the big things, like the turkey and desserts.

Stress Free Meal Prep

The actual day of your feast is not the time to be experimenting with new dishes! If you’re trying out something fresh and exciting, prepare a “practice run” if time allows. This will introduce you to any idiosyncrasies inherent in your particular oven’s cooking temperatures, your fridge or other cooking gear.

Despite what grandma might say, there’s no hard-and-fast rule that everything has to be homemade. Store-bought food, like brand-name boxed mashed potatoes, can be spruced up significantly with the judicious application of garlic, parsley and other seasonings. Also, if your gathering is smaller, consider only cooking a turkey breast instead of an entire bird. A single 5-pound breast will feed 5 to 7 people and cooks easily in just one hour.

And, just because it’s called Turkey Day doesn’t mean that vegetarians can’t get in on the feast, too. These festive recipes and delightful dishes will make anybody’s mouth water.  

No family coming into town? There’s nothing at all wrong with meeting close friends at your favorite steakhouse restaurant and enjoying a delicious turkey dinner prepared by professional chefs — and then letting them do the dishes.

Finally, remember to include a breather on the big day. Even just 15 minutes of time spent relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine and your favorite Netflix series can do wonders for your mind, body and attitude while reflecting on what the holidays are truly about.

From our Greystar family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!