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Tips to make hosting Thanksgiving less stressful

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Thanksgiving dinner hosts often face a daunting task. In a season that's already busy enough, hosts must find time to prepare a delicious meal for friends and family. Whether it's a big guest list or a smaller affair, the pressure to provide a memorable holiday meal can prove overwhelming at times. However, there are ways to ensure everyone has a good Turkey Day, especially the host.

Stock Up on Supplies

Supplies can make all the difference when it comes to reducing stress on Thanksgiving. You should have enough flatware, china, glasses, serving dishes, serving spoons, oven mitts and knives for slicing, chopping and carving. You'll want to heat more than one item at a time, so you should have adequate oven racks, too.

Do an inventory of your cookware a few weeks before the big day and purchase anything you are missing so you aren't scrambling when the holiday arrives. Party-rental stores have items that caterers use, including chafing dishes and big bowls, and hosts can also rent chairs, tables, tablecloths and dishes for the evening from them.

Assess the Space You Have Available

The amount of kitchen and dining space can play a role in the menu. Most notably, the menu should be compatible with the available space. Look at your fridge, freezer and counter space. If you want to display dinner items or serve an array of desserts, make sure you have the space to spread them out and transfer onto plates.

Write Out the Menu

While the Thanksgiving dinner menu is a tradition most families don't stray from, it still helps to write out exactly what will be served. Make a list of ingredients for all dishes, and determine if you have enough sugar, spices, flour, etc. Buy your ingredients in advance so you aren't short on any items when you need them most.

Empty the Refrigerator

As the big day draws nearer and nearer, you'll want to clear as mush space as you in the refrigerator. Consider buying a miniature refrigerator or cooler to stash excess food, or store foods you won't be eating on Thanksgiving in the refrigerator or cooler in the garage.

Ask For or Hire a Helping Hand

There's no shame in asking for help or enlisting the services of a local caterer to help the meal go smoothly. In addition, purchase prepared foods so you don't have to make everything from scratch. If you want the homemade touch without the hassle, consider asking guests to bring a plate or side. This can help reduce the amount of post-meal cleaning as well.

Do Prep Work in Advance

Many foods can be frozen if prepared in advance. At the very least, prep work like chopping, cutting and slicing can be done in advance. Sides can be prepared and frozen in the days leading up to the big day, so all it takes onThanksgiving is placing them in the oven. Make a calendar of what will be made when. That way everything will get done in a timely manner, and you won't stress on the big day.

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