Ask the Swag Gal – November 16, 2011

Today’s question comes from a Swaggernaut looking for tips for a successful Thanksgiving:

“Next week I’m going to be having Thanksgiving at my house for the first time and I’m a bit nervous.  Can you give me some advice on how to make this go smoothly?  I get so stressed out when I’m just trying to get dinner on the table with everything still hot and yummy, and now I agreed to do what feels like the most important dinner of the year, Thanksgiving?!  What was I thinking?  Help!”

Hosting a dinner at your house can be very stressful, not to mention a Thanksgiving dinner.  There’s a lot of pressure that comes with hosting Thanksgiving, because everyone has been prepping for the holiday and holding their expectations high for all of the yummy food.  But, just thinking about the meaning of this holiday can help take the load off.  This day is all about giving thanks and being thankful for the people and things in your life.  It’s not about having a perfectly prepared meal or a spotless home, and it’s important to keep reminding yourself of this so as to not get overwhelmed.  Here are some tips I have devised to help have a relaxing and successful Thanksgiving.

  • Cook ahead of time – Cooking ahead of time will allow you to focus on other responsibilities.  Once you have the meal done, it’s one less thing you need to worry about.  So spend Tuesday or Wednesday cooking up your dishes, and just reheat it for the feast
  • Get Help – Have a close family member or friend come early in the day to help you set up.  This takes some of the pressure off of you, and will make your preparation more enjoyable.
  • Clear the Fridge – With a Thanksgiving feast comes a lot of leftovers.  Clear out your fridge ahead of time so that you won’t have to go through the hassle after your completely stuffed from the big meal, and you’ll have enough room to easily slide in the leftover mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
  • Kids Craft Area – Set up a little table with chairs with paper, crayons, markers, and stickers to keep this kids occupied.  You may also want to throw on “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” in the den so the kids are entertained, allowing you more time to focus on the day’s tasks.
  • Keep the Conversation Neutral – Because this holiday is one in which to give thanks and show your appreciation, try your best not to delve into controversial or touchy topics of conversation.  Save the politics and religion for a later date, and just focus on enjoying each other’s company.
  • Seating Cards – Thanksgiving dinner typically involves a house full of guests.  To avoid any confusion or argument when it comes to seating, print out little place cards and set them around the table so that everyone has a designated spot.
  • Know What’s On the Menu – Talk to your guests a few days before Thursday to find out if they are planning on bringing a side dish, and if so, what they’re bringing.  This will help you figure out what you need to cook and what you don’t, as well as ensure that there are no duplicate dishes and that nothing is being left out.

I hope these tips help you run your first Thanksgiving smoothly.  To our fellow Swaggernauts, if you have any tips for hosting a Thanksgiving feast, leave them in the comments section of this post!


P.S. – Send your questions to  If your question is picked your answer will be featured in the blog and you’ll be hooked up with 150 Swag Bucks!