What can I do to stay stress-free while hosting Thanksgiving dinner?

Follow these 10 tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner:
  1. Stay on top of your headcount -- the best that you can. Thanksgiving guest counts can change quicker than you can eat a helping of green bean casserole. Always plan to have more food than not enough (which is almost impossible at Thanksgiving anyway!).
  2. Don't go overboard. You don't need 10 different cornbreads; one will suffice. Determine your menu carefully and selectively, keeping your guests' eating habits (if you know them) in mind. If someone is allergic to nuts, keep them out of the meal entirely. By creating a menu that everyone can eat, you won't waste time making a dish for each person.
  3. Keep it simple. Challenge yourself, if you want. But it's fine to opt for easy recipes. That means making the five-ingredient pumpkin pie with items you already have opposed to the one with 15 that requires you to purchase every spice at the store.
  4. Nix some homemade dishes. If you dread peeling the potatoes for mashed potatoes but Suzy must have them, whip up the instant variety. Not good at making stuffing? Pick some up at the grocer.
  5. Stay organized. After you've chosen your recipes, write out any ingredients and kitchen supplies you need to buy, simultaneously scanning your shelves and cabinets. Organize your lists by grocery store aisles to save you from running around. Buy what you can in advance and get the perishables a day or two before.
  6. Enlist help. Need just a teaspoon of cloves for your recipe? Short on some serving pieces? Borrow cooking supplies, pots, pans and more from neighbors or dinner guests.
  7. Do what you can ahead of time. The more items you can prepare in advance, the easier the day will be.
  8. Get guests to pitch in. Ask guests to bring something and they'll most likely be happy to help. You may even want to ask someone to stay late instead of bringing food so you don't have to do the dishes alone.
  9. Create a schedule. Whether you're serving a few or a large group, the day will run more smoothly and seamlessly if you stick to a timeline. Write down what time each item needs to go into the oven, onto the stove or be taken out of the fridge. Plus, you won't forget to serve everything you've made.
  10. Relax! It's ok to sit back and pour yourself a glass of wine or enjoy the big game with your guests. Taking a break will help you feel refreshed and less overwhelmed. Remember that you're allowed to have fun, too.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.