Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

My Top 10 Suggestions on how to host Thanksgiving... (even if you're not a Suzie Home Maker)

For the past three years, tomorrow will make four, Dave and I have hosted Thanksgiving for both sides of our family. This year will be smaller with only eight guests, but typically we've been averaging around 12 guests each year. We love it, and this year we are even more excited because we'll be hosting in our NEW HOME :) ! Every year there is always WAY to much food, lots of chatter, and lots of football to go around. While our guest list is fairly large, we never seem to be overwhelmed, anxious, or hurried. We are blessed because we have wonderful families, but we also just love the holiday, a day where we get together with those that we love and give thanks for all the blessing in our life. What could be better?

I thought in prep for Thanksgiving, I'd offer ten suggestions for hosting your own Thanksgiving feast. Keep in mind, this is what works for me. And I hope you'll get at least a little chuckle out of this :)

1. Use the excuse that you have to go to work from 8-12 in the morning and there's just no way for you to have time to cook the turkey... Then bat your eyelashes several times at your husband ;) . JUST KIDDING, 'cept for the working bit. Since I work for a newspaper during the morning I am off shooting football games so Dave becomes our Master Chef. Dave LOVESΒ  to cook and relishes in being the Man of the Kitchen for the morning, cooking up stuffing, the turkey, mashed potatoes and more. He just impresses me so much with his knowledge in a kitchen.

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2. Use the excuse again that you have to work so that both sides of the family have to come to you, instead of the other way around. Both of our families, mine in Massachusetts and Dave's in New Hampshire live really close. We are blessed that they can both celebrate with us on the actual day instead of us having to split the time between the two. We are also really blessed to just have a great family that loves us and loves each other. What more can you ask for?

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3. Make someone bring as least one side dish. I hardly have to lift a finger when people bring stuffing, or cranberry sauce, or green been casserole, or squash; the list goes on and on. It makes it SO much easier on me and my anxiety level when people help out. Instead of trying to everything myself we all work as a team and it really is awesome.

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4. Eat in the middle of the afternoon. With having so many people coming from different parts of the region, having dinner in the middle of the afternoon seems to make the most sense for us. People can do what they want in the morning, or use that time to travel, have a relaxing, non-rushed meal, and then have plenty of time to head back to where ever they came from. And then sleep for five days after eating all that food!

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*this was our VERY first Thanksgiving together:)*

5. Give up control. Ok, this might be similar to number 3, but it bears repeating. As a host or hostess you might feel the need to do EVERYTHING, to cook everything, to clean everything, to decorate everything, to basically control everything. Well, unfortunately, or fortunately you can't. And even if you don't it too something will go wrong. But don't worry! It is ok and all will work out in the end. Your job isn't to make sure everything is perfect, but to enjoy your friends and family who have come to enjoy you and NOT your Martha Stewart skills. I learned this after our second Thanksgiving together. As soon as I started to let go, I could relax and really enjoy myself. So go ahead and forget about that painting that is hanging astray and asked for another piece of pie!

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6. Make sure that you get a turkey that is appropriately sized for the crowd you are serving. You can find the measurements, online I believe, for how big a turkey you need to have to feed the amount of people you have. Dave and my dad take on this task of the very intricate and complicated calculations ;) We always go over, but it sure does make for really good leftovers for days after!

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7. Make sure that you take the time to call those loved ones you can't see on Thanksgiving to let them know that you are thinking of them. My grandmother is unable to come to Thanksgiving this year and my Aunt and Uncle live all the way out in Chicago. But we always make sure to give them a ring, or they ring us to tell them that we love them. Even if you can't be together physically, you really are never that far apart. Ok cheesy, but hey it's true.

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8. Make sure that you have all of your ingredients and supplies the day BEFORE Turkey Day. Going to the grocery shop the day of Thanksgiving = no fun.

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9. In the break between eating and more eating, ie dinner and dessert, try to get a few of the dishes cleaned or in the dishwasher. It sure makes your life a heck of a lot easier to do it little by little than doing a whole slew of dishes at the end of the night (when your passed out anyways!)

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10. Make sure that you give thanks (especially to you family that helps you pull off this thing called Thanksgiving) Reflecting on all that we have been blessed with. For Dave and I, we do not want to take anything for granted. We are most thankful this year for our family and their health, along with our marriage and living in our very first home. What more could you ask for?!

Well even if you didn't learn anything new, or were not helped by this little list, I at least hope that you got a chuckle out of it. I hope that you all have a great day tomorrow!

Stay tuned for some posts coming up in the near future, including our trip to NYC in a few days!

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by deborahzoe