Prepping for Thanksgiving dinner is such a busy time, and these Thanksgiving Hacks will make your day less hectic and your guests’ time together even more enjoyable! These easy, workable tips include hacks about cooking dinner, guest arrival, decorating, and even leftovers!
Hosting Hacks for Thanksgiving
Garnish everything you serve! Make everything a feast for the eyes as well with cranberries, orange slices, and sprigs of rosemary, fresh sage, bundles of grapes. You can garnish the platters and the spaces between dishes on the buffet, too! It is scientifically proven that when food looks better, it tastes better, too! (And, it feels extra festive!)
Plan parking ahead of time. Send a text and communicate the day before about where guests should park if there are any specifics they need to know. Some subdivisions have covenants which prevent parking on the street. This can eliminate the need to move cars once guests enter your home.
Set aside space for coats and jackets. Sometimes, the weather is beautiful where we live, and sometimes it’s very chilly! Right when guests arrive, offer to take their coat and hang it in the pre-planned area. One wouldn’t normally think of this as a Thanksgiving Hack, but when you don’t have a plan, it can certainly inconvenience others! Once, I saw someone stash their jacket in a room where one of the baby cousins were napping and they woke up. That never happened again! Ha ha!
Use a mini crockpot for a cozy-smelling home. My larger crockpot usually holds the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day, but my mini crockpot is perfect for heating up cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange slices, and apple slices. This makes our home smell cozy without any added fragrance.
Bring the outside in. One easy and beautiful Thanksgiving Hack is to gather branches from outside and place them in different sized glass vases as a centerpiece. Or, spray paint maple leaves in silver or gold, write your guests names on them, and use them as place cards! Natural elements from outside are easy and frugal additions to your Thanksgiving decor!
Plan seating ahead of time. I always like to be mindful of family dynamics when planning seating. Be sure to seat the cousins who are close in age together, as well. We also like to include a few extra seats just in case someone brings an unexpected guest, too!
Have to-go containers ready! I really like to send people home with leftovers they can enjoy the next day. Did you know you can buy these restaurant-style to-go containers on Amazon?! That way, there’s no need for guests to worry about returning your plastic storage containers. Genius!!
Food Prep Hacks for Thanksgiving Dinner
Wash potatoes in the dishwasher. I learned this Thanksgiving Hack many years ago when hosting a Baked Potato Supper Fundraiser, actually! When you’re washing the potatoes, skip the soap, though! The extremely high water temp will kill the germs and remove the dirt from your potatoes.
Keep food warm in a cooler. When oven space is at a premium, coolers can do more than just keep drinks cold! Why not use your favorite cooler to keep food hot, too?! We have used this method while traveling to the homes of relatives, but this hack works if you’re the one hosting, too. Use cutting boards to separate 9×12 baking dishes covered in foil in the cooler, so you can stack them on top of each other without crushing what’s inside.
A Yeti cup will keep gravy warm! With all of the food preparation going on, sometimes it’s difficult to keep everything warm and have it all ready at the same time. So many of us have a Yeti style cup handy. Use it to keep gravy warm, so your oven and stove top can be used for other purposes!
Make cute pumpkin pie bites like these from store bought pies! I always like to have a few cute desserts on hand that I know the kids will like. There’s no need to make a pumpkin pie from scratch though when you’re cutting it up and making it into a turkey!
Prep casseroles one day before. Some casseroles can be made ahead of time and baked the day of to save time. The time flies on Thanksgiving (for me, anyway!), so it helps to do all I can the day before.
Bake pie crusts and cheesecake crusts earlier in the week! I usually make pie crusts and cheesecake crusts from scratch. It does take up precious oven time, though. So, I like to bake the crusts the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I do this every year! This Thanksgiving Hack really helps my Thanksgiving day go much smoother!
Don’t forget your slow cooker! In my family, we use the crockpot for the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day, but you could also cook your macaroni and cheese or any casserole in it.
Cute Turkey Recipe Ideas
- Breakfast Turkey – The cutest idea for kids!!
- Turkey Veggie Tray – This is so festive! I like to place it in the center of the kids’ table!
- Turkey Pancakes – This is so easy and my kids love it on Thanksgiving morning!
I can’t wait for you to use these Thanksgiving Hacks during your own holiday season! Let me know which ones you tried and how your Thanksgiving goes this year!!