You’re the host for everyone’s favorite feast! That can add a lot of pressure with meal planning and decorating; if you have loved ones staying with you, it adds a whole other level of stress.
Let us help ease the burden. Whether you’re just in charge of the Thanksgiving meal or if you’re hosting houseguests for the weekend, these ideas can help you be the host with the most!
Hosting the Meal
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner takes a lot of planning and preparation. Don’t let that scare you, though. You can do this – you’re the host with the most!
Don’t wait until the week before to start your preparations. Start in early November and follow a checklist to make it as stress-free as possible. From your menu to the decorations, a checklist will help you stay organized and on task.
When planning your menu, take into considerations any food allergies or restrictions your guests have. You don’t have to make a completely separate menu for a gluten-free cousin or lactose intolerant neighbor, but make sure you have a few options for them.
If you want your Thanksgiving dinner to be one of the best, you’ll want to incorporate your guests into the event. Do something to make them feel like they’re a part of the festivities.
Nametags might feel a little formal, but you can have some fun with them and make your guests feel special! Try spray-painting leaves with a color that matches your décor, and write guests’ names on them. Or, place a nametag inside a pinecone for a rustic look. Another fun idea is to tie guests’ nametags onto mini pumpkins.
Create a tablecloth that your dinner guests can interact with – use kraft paper or a roll of chalkboard paper. Write questions for guests to answer, like “What are you thankful for?” or “What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory?” Make sure to scatter some pens and markers to use.
This is a fun way for people to pass the time and it’s entertaining to read everyone’s answers.
A thankful tree is easy to make, and it’s a great way to reflect on all the things for which you’re thankful. All you need is a large jar or bucket, some rocks and/or a Styrofoam block and a few sticks from the backyard.
Fill your container of choice with rocks and use the rocks to hold the sticks in place. If you don’t have enough rocks to fill the container, stick your branches into a Styrofoam block and place it inside your container. Use rocks to cover the Styrofoam. Make tags you can hang on the tree.
Fill out a few tags to get the tree started, and leave a note for guests encouraging them to add to it.
Packing Up the Leftovers
One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is leftovers! And let’s be honest, you might not be able to eat all of them, even if you tried. Since some of your leftover food might go to waste, you might as well pack it up for your guests.
Include some recipes to make with leftovers. The Roasted Root has 50 recipes to choose from – some standouts are the cranberry sauce cheesecake brownies, Cajun turkey pot pie, cheesy leftover mashed potato pancakes and stuffing-stuffed mushrooms.
Entertaining the Kids
Adults are fine with eating good food, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, but kids have a little more energy on Thanksgiving Day. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can entertain your younger guests.
Fall Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? It’s the perfect way to kill time while waiting for dinner. You can make your own list or use a downloadable version like this one from MoritzFineBlogDesigns.com; just make sure you have all of the items on your list in or near your house.
Give the winner a prize, like a small cash prize or one that’s fitting for the holiday, like a chocolate pumpkin.
Coloring Sheet Placemats
Restaurants that have special coloring placemats for kids are a big hit. Why not recreate the mats for the kids’ table this Thanksgiving?
Don’t worry, you won’t have to bust out any artistic skills for this one. Many sites have printable coloring sheets for just a few dollars. Try out this one from CaravanShoppe.com. It comes with images to print as table coverings, wall décor, placemats and even napkin pouches. Set out a box of crayons and let the kids have fun! And these pages are so cute, the adults may even want in on the coloring.
If you’re having overnight guests during the holiday season, this will really put your hosting skills to the test. There are a few things you can do to make this a stay your loved ones will remember!
Create a Resort Experience
After a long car ride or flight, your guests probably just want to kick back and relax. Set up their room with amenities they’d expect to see at a resort.
In the bedroom, set out festive glasses and bottles of water or their favorite beverages on the nightstand or on a tray on the bed. Include a snack, because those airplane peanuts are not filling.
Fill the room with special touches like fresh flowers and candles. If you have pictures of you and your guests, display them in the guest room. It’s a great way to reminisce about fun times together and make them feel special and welcomed.
In the bathroom, leave out towels and washcloths. Have some little shampoos and fun soaps out, as well as other toiletries they may have forgotten, like moisturizer and toothbrushes.
Out in the Open
When you’re staying in a new place, trying to figure out where everything is can be difficult, like locating remotes, the Wi-Fi password, coffee fixings and an alarm clock.
A nice way to display your Wi-Fi password is to print it out in a cute font, maybe with colors and designs that match your décor, and frame it. Leave one in the guest room and one in an open area like the family room.
Create a coffee or tea station in the kitchen. Having coffee or tea out, along with mugs and flavored syrups or creamers, will make guests feel welcome.
For small things like remotes and alarms clocks, keep them in plain sight; try putting them on a nightstand or dresser. Leave a guide for the TV channels and a quick how-to guide to the remotes and TV systems.
You’re going to be busy getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner, so you probably won’t have a ton of time to take your guests around town to explore. A great way to encourage your guests to enjoy all your city has to offer is to put together a little travel guide of your area.
Include a map of your city as well as information on public transit if you have any. Make a list of the top restaurants, shopping and attractions you think your guests should try. No one knows the area as well as a local! Don’t forget to leave them a house key so they can come and go as they please.
From Thanksgiving dinner to the entire weekend, these tips will have your guests heralding you as their favorite host! Do you have other tips to make houseguests feel welcome? Let us know in our comment section!
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