How to Host Your First Thanksgiving

So, it is your first time throwing a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for your friends and family. You might have thought it was a good idea at first, but now you are realizing that you really don’t know what you signed up for. Relax, if everyone else can do it- so can you! Zippy Life is here to help with everything you need to know about hosting your first Thanksgiving.

Step by Step Guide to an Easy First Thanksgiving

Limit your Guest List

For your first Thanksgiving you want to make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. Keep the party small and intimate. By doing so, you will avoid many issues that could ruin the night for everyone. Keeping your party small means you won’t have to cook extremely large portions you might not be comfortable with. You also will not run the risk of running out of food or having your home be overcrowded. Avoid inviting fighting family and friends, you are going to be under enough stress. Don’t add negativity to the mix!

Send Invitations

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Facebook event or a mailed paper invitation, as long as you send your potential guests something that has the specific party information on it. The invitations should have clear directions and dinner time. The directions will help your guests avoid getting lost while a set time will prevent guests from arriving too early or too late. Make sure your guests know to RSVP, the RSVPS will tell you exactly what you need to be ready for. You will know how much food you will need to make, how many place settings to have ready, and how much space you will need long before the event. You can also ask your guests to let you know if they have any food allergies or beliefs (like vegan) that you need to prepare. Don’t make multiple meals, but consider making sides that everyone can enjoy.

Keep your menu simple

The food is the most important part of Thanksgiving…. I’m sorry but someone had to say it. Obviously, seeing your family and friends is one of the best parts about the holiday, but it is the food that brings you together in the first place! Don’t overthink everything you are making in an attempt to be fancy or “adult”. Make simple food- very well! Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring an uncommon dish they normally have at their family Thanksgiving. It gives you one less side to make, and lets everyone try something new! Here is a great “first Thanksgiving” menu from Martha Stewart to try out.


More than just a song by the Beatles, help is exactly what you are going to need to pull off your first Thanksgiving meal. Before the holiday arrives, secure a RELIABLE family member or friend to help you in the kitchen ALL DAY. This person needs to be able to double as a host while you’re mashing potatoes or be tending to the turkey while you’re making pumpkin pie. Choose wisely, the wrong choice could mean more work and trouble for you.

Take Wednesday off

It takes a lot of work to open your home to visitors. You have to make sure everything is clean and organized. By giving yourself another day to prepare everything, you can ensure you won’t have to worry about that much the day of. You should try to finish cleaning the house, purchasing all the groceries, baking all the desserts, and finishing off all your decorating the day before. If you are decorating, remember that decorations aren’t as big a deal as they are for Christmas and Halloween. Avoid tacky streamers or pilgrim cutouts, pumpkins and other fall items will give your home a classy festive look.

Shopping Smart

It is easy to think you have an ingredient already and then find out while cooking that you never did! We are all human and make mistakes, mistakes that can be avoided with a little preparation! Make a clear and accurate shopping list before you head out to the store. Go through all your recipes and check to makes sure you have each individual item. It is crucial not to miss something!

After Dinner

Every family has a different after dinner tradition, but just make sure you get some help cleaning up! The more people that help, that faster you all can sit back and relax!

So Good Luck to all you first timers out there and remember, you’ll be just fine! From all of us at Zippy Life, Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!