November 7, 2018

7 Tips on Hosting Thanksgiving // The Holidays

tips on hosting thanksgiving. the holidays

If there was female version of Clark Griswold, I would be it.

“If I’m out in the cold and committed to decorating the house, I’m going to do it right, and I’m going to do it BIG.” This is my gobble and fa-la-la motto for myself year after year over the holidays. Especially ever since I got married and became a mom. 

However, the last two years of hosting have taught me to start toning down the festive confetti and remember that there is only so much I can do with a little one around. : ) 

So, the story I’m going to share with you today is about my first Christmas hosting AND putting on a Christmas fest for allll 25 family members, as a new mom. 

tips on hosting thanksgiving. the holidays

In November of 2016, right before Thanksgiving, suddenly Abby wasn’t sleeping which meant I was up all night. So, the days leading up to hosting Christmas… there were lots of tears.  Except they were only my tears. : )

We live out in the middle of nowhere and slowly…. over the last two years our new construction area has grown into a suburban neighborhood among the evergreen trees. So, running errands did and still does take up a good portion of the day. Abby was 6-months-old at the time and even with breastfeeding in the car, we could do maybe two errands a day, if that.

Steve was slammed with a major work project that year, so I was on full time duty to get out and shop for gifts, wrap, breastfeed, decorate, clean, breastfeed etc. Did I mention breastfeed enough? Because it felt like that.  ; ) 

Things got especially stressful when we found out more family was coming a week before Christmas. Which put us in the position to rent a table and 6 chairs, so everyone could fit at the table. Along with me rushing out 5 days before Christmas to get those extra family members place settings.  And yes, many alllll of my friends thought I was crazy to house people for the holidays AND on top of it, make and host Christmas dinner as a new mom.

And they were right. It was challenging, too big, and too much with a non-sleeping baby. Yet, it also felt sort of magical to have all our loved ones in a big, warm, and happy home.

The Clark Griswold in me prevailed. Like it always does this time of year because I love to create. I love to host, and I love my people.  

And honestly, even though it was a major challenge to take on as a new mom who wasn’t getting any sleep…  I think I made things too stressful on myself by not adjusting a few details.

Which is why I’m happy to share today on what Steve and I have learned over the last two years about hosting family for the holidays. Especially the day of the big meal, Thanksgiving or Christmas! Here are our best tips for hosting as new parents. 

tips on hosting thanksgiving. the holidays

7 Tips on Hosting the Holidays as New Parents

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Ask AND assign

The second year we hosted Christmas dinner, I first looked at what we could realistically make without being in the kitchen all day and then, I made a list of side dishes in which I felt others could bring. The week before the big meal, I checked in to see if they needed anything like serving tools, toppings, if there meal needed to stay heated, etc.. because the first Christmas I hosted, we had wayyyy too many cooks in the kitchen!

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Count supplies

Between our move from the apartment to the house a few plates and cups broke, and I didn’t recount our supplies until AFTER everyone RSVP’d. I wish I would have been more realistic that first year of hosting for how many people we can have at the table, especially with Thanksgiving as the main event is to sit down and eat. And for us, we had to end up buying a lot of stuff and even renting a table and chairs.

tips on hosting thanksgiving. the holidays
Pumpkins are painted from left over paint from this blog post.

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For the second year of hosting, I passed out cute paper plates and fancy plastic forks for pumpkin pie so all we had to do was dump everything once it was finished. People were so full and happy by the time dessert came. No one really cared if it wasn’t on a fancy plate. They were just happy to have a piece of pie.

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Crock pot

Breakfast the day and or dinner the night before. Whatever frees up your time in the kitchen before the big meals helps keep it fun! While also being able to part be of the social aspect in hosting family or friends. Going out to eat is totally acceptable if your hosting and cooking the next day! It was important for me that with all this work, I get to enjoy the day too. 

tips on hosting thanksgiving. the holidays

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Hold your ground.

It’s your kitchen, your home. If you want help, ask. If you don’t, ask them to go sit down. You're the host. Does that sound a little mean? No, you got a show to run! You got this!

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Invest in You.

I have yet to do this for our own home! However, if we hired a maid right before hosting our first sleepless Christmas, then I would have been able to have more time to balance everything by being able to relax at the end of the day and sleep. Instead of us folding linens and towels for the guest bedrooms at 9:45pm at night.

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Ask your spouse, and or a close relative (of your choice) to come early and help you. Having Steve help with the mash potatoes really saved me! He took over entire dishes that first year and was so calming and helpful in the kitchen. We would have eaten an hour or two later if I didn’t have my amazing teammate.

tips on hosting thanksgiving. the holidays

I hope our story and tips help you and your family enjoy the holidays a bit more, and or at least feel like you're not alone in hosting. As everyone at the table deserves to take joy in the day. Especially you!

And if you liked this post, you might also like the matching pumpkin porch decor which compliment this center piece,  here. 

Warmly, Steph

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