Thanksgiving is beautiful. It’s more than just the feasting, and the naps between snaps of football induced by the turkey coma. Thanksgiving is an American holiday that celebrates our heritage, honors our culture and enables our binge-eating habits (well, mine at least…). But, if you’re hosting, there’s more pressure riding on the outcome of your cranberry sauce than the football game. Lucky for you, we went to an etiquette expert who’s equipped with tips to make sure everything from the hello hugs to dessert goes over not just smoothly, but successfully.
While we know that beautiful smell of roasting turkey wafting around the house, and the way families and friends come together for quiet moments of thanks should be a time of calm and merriment, just because you’re hosting the event, doesn’t mean you can’t partake in all of that too!
We’ve enlisted Jacqueline Whitmore, speaker and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach and acclaimed author, to share her top 5 tips when preparing for holiday guests and festivities:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Find out ahead of time if any of your guests have food allergies or other dietary restrictions and plan your menu accordingly or prepare a buffet with a variety of items. Keep it simple and serve what you know. Don’t try to serve an unfamiliar, complicated, or labor-intensive dish your first time out.
KEEP A LIST
Write down all of the items you need to make your meal complete. It’s especially frustrating when you think you have all of your ingredients and then discover in the midst of cooking that you don’t have enough salt, sugar, or butter. Need a cute notebook to keep stove-side? This two-pack from Kate Spade is adorable and functional!
DO AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE THE DAY BEFORE
Don’t wait until the last minute. Set your table the night before. Clean and polish your serving pieces and fill your salt and pepper shakers a few days before Thanksgiving dinner to avoid last-minute flurries.
CHOOSE YOUR TUNES
Music is a vital element in the staging of a good holiday get together, as it sets the tone for the evening. Create a dinner party playlist on your iPod or iPhone or preset your CD player so there’s music in the air when your guests arrive and keep it playing throughout the evening. We love this one by Anthropologie!
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Allow plenty of time to shower, get dressed, and look your best for your party. You’ll want to greet your guests at the door with a relaxed smile on your face. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will feel, and the better time you’ll have at your own party. Lots of people recommend going barefoot helps, but find something that works for you!
And while we’re on the topic of Thanksgiving prepping, check out this must-try (and mouth-watering!) Cranberry & Pomegranate Bruschetta recipe courtesy of The Café.