Now that candy bowls are empty, costumes hang in closets and scary movie marathons have ended, it’s time to think about hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner. Hosting a party in your small apartment may seem like a daunting task, but with some planning, the day will be a hit. Optimize the space you have by getting organized and taking charge. Here are our best tips for hosting your first Thanksgiving:
Be the Boss
Once you’ve decided to play the role of host, own it. Get direct answers on who will and will not be attending. Maybes are not acceptable. If you have too many unsure RSVPs, you could end up making too much or too little food. Demand a yes or no from your guests. Once you know who is coming, you can delegate tasks. Have a couple family members or close friends come over the night before or early Thanksgiving day to help prepare.
The Big Clean
Though fall decor is nice for Thanksgiving, you don’t have to go out of your way to add decoration. All your beautiful and delicious food will liven the room. It’s much more important to clean. Do the big, time-consuming tasks–like mopping–the week before. As you approach the day of the meal, do smaller chores.
Your small apartment might not have room for a grand table, but you can still ensure all your guests have a seat. The living room is a great spot to plant your dinner table, as it usually has the most space. Do a little reconfiguring by pushing furniture to the outside of the room. Use card or folding tables as your dining space. These are nice because they can be set up and removed quickly. If you don’t have ample seating, ask friends if they have folding chairs you could borrow.
If you can, take the day before off of work to start cooking and prepping. Oven foods, such as stuffing and casseroles, can be made ahead of time and easily reheated an hour or so before the meal. You can also cut veggies and peel potatoes ahead of time. Waking up on Thanksgiving to a few completed tasks will take the edge off hosting.
Timing is Everything
The dishes that must be cooked the day of should be put on a schedule. Food that takes the longest to cook, such as the turkey, should be put in the oven first. The same goes for stovetop dishes. Plan which dishes go in the frying pan when so that things run smoothly.
Clean as You Go
When one food item is done cooking, get it in a serving dish and wash the pan. This will help prevent a giant pile of dirty dishes from building up throughout the day. After each course, recruit a friend or family member to help clear the table. Having a clean table at the start of each course is a nice visual queue that something new is about to start. Don’t go to bed with a dirty sink either.