When the days get colder and the leaves start falling, it’s time to think about hosting Thanksgiving. Whether you’re in charge of your family’s annual dinner or plan to throw an intimate Friendsgiving, it can feel daunting. But, with the proper preparation, unique and fun traditions, and holiday serveware, anyone can host Thanksgiving.
If you’re anything like our family, planning the various festivities is underway. While some may focus solely on the main event with a beautiful tablescape and traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu, we love to stretch our family holiday time as much as possible. This year, consider all your options for festive gatherings, from breakfast during the iconic parade to a lunch of leftovers the day after, with our inside scoop on hosting Thanksgiving.
Why We Enjoy Hosting Thanksgiving
As a family, we’re passionate about hosting memorable gatherings for our loved ones, and Thanksgiving has become one of our favorites. It’s the ultimate gathering: a holiday centered around coming together, entertaining, setting a beautiful tablescape, and enjoying great food together—all of our favorite things!
Thanksgiving calls for family and friends to gather around a beautifully set table. With our carefully designed Thanksgiving Dinnerware, we enjoy creating memorable tablescapes year after year. Using a combination of traditional Thanksgiving colors to playful turkey-shaped dishes and more, we try our best to design an unforgettable table every holiday. The holiday gatherings also give us a reason to rotate our seasonal dinnerware in our kitchen. Who wouldn’t want to use fun, festive Thanksgiving plate designs all season long?
We’ll take any excuse we can find to gather with our loved ones and swap favorite recipes, and hosting Thanksgiving is a big one every year. Whether we’re hosting Thanksgiving’s annual turkey feast or planning a more casual potluck, we come together as a family and give thanks over a delicious meal and a beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape.
Our Thanksgiving Traditions
Every family’s holiday celebrations look a little different — and that’s where long-standing traditions come in. Whether it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving or your 40th, we highly recommend some of our favorite traditions:
- Thanksgiving menu
- Chop night
- Set the table
- Say thanks
Thanksgiving Menu Traditions
After years of hosting Thanksgiving celebrations, we’ve got our menu down to a science. We always host buffet-style, giving every guest the chance to cook for the meal ahead of time. To ensure a well-rounded Thanksgiving menu full of traditional staples and new recipes, the host will prompt everyone to sign up for a dish so no one comes empty-handed. With a fully planned menu ahead of time and the dishes spread amongst the guests, we can guarantee an unforgettable celebration year after year.
Usually, each person makes their favorite go-to dish every year, but if we’re feeling frisky, we’ll sometimes add a new recipe or two! The only rule is that the new recipe can’t replace a family favorite… or else! No one in the family would dream of replacing the Spinach Madeleine or The Great Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe Rivalry dishes.
Why should we only get to gather once during the Thanksgiving season? Every year, we host a Thanksgiving “Chop Night” to extend the festivities to the night before. We set up a long line of cutting boards, turn on some tunes, pour ourselves some wine, and all get to work chopping and preparing our recipe ingredients together. That way, we set ourselves up for success and hold each other accountable for prepping as much of our assigned dishes as possible ahead of time.
Chop Night kicks off a fun, long weekend and makes the day-of responsibilities feel a little lighter, letting us focus on catching up and enjoying one another’s company even more. When it’s time to finish cooking, we can complete the final steps of warming, garnishing, and more right before serving.
Setting the Thanksgiving Table
We love to get creative with setting a beautiful table, and though the opportunity usually falls on the host and their immediate family, we all tend to chip in one way or another! We try our hardest to set one big table depending on the size of the gathering, but if we have to split into multiple tables, we get creative with configurations to make sure it still feels like one big family table. After the meal, we don’t rush to clean the Thanksgiving dishes—we follow our guidelines to encourage guests to linger a little longer around the table.
The Tradition of Saying Thanks
After we’ve had a chance to dig in, the hostess typically makes a toast to tee up, asking everyone to share what they’re thankful for. While it’s a simple tradition, we find that sharing what we’re thankful for grounds us to the meaning of the day and prompts an opportunity to share reflections and gratitude for the people and moments around us.
The Best Timeline for Hosting Thanksgiving
With the right party prep timeline, hosting Thanksgiving can be less stressful than you’d think. Depending on your approach to the Thanksgiving menu, you’ll want to ensure food preparation, cooking times, and cooking durations are the first consideration when finalizing your timeline. Make sure to prepare anything and everything you possibly can before hosting Thanksgiving Day (at your own Chop Night, perhaps!) to save oven space for reheating and cooking any dishes needed the day of.
When ticking off tasks on the to-do list—delegate, delegate, delegate. Even for the most seasoned hostesses, It’s almost impossible to accomplish everything on time and alone when hosting Thanksgiving. Asking for help from your friends and family with the simplest tasks will make the week and day much less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
5 Simple Steps to Hosting Thanksgiving
Follow these five easy steps to learn how to host Thanksgiving:
- Select your entertaining space
- Choose your serving style
- Plan the menu and delegate each dish
- Pick your dinnerware and serveware
- Set the table
1. Choose Your Thanksgiving Entertaining Spaces
When planning to host Thanksgiving, consider your available entertaining spaces and your goal for each. We recommend planning for: a set table, a serving table, a beverage station and/or bar as your main entertaining spaces, then also plan for guests lingering in the kitchen and visiting the guest bathrooms when prepping each space. Every area must be cleaned, prepped, and set to welcome your guests and determine the event's tone, from the dining table to the buffet.
We set the scene for our festivities by including Thanksgiving-inspired linen hand towels throughout our home. Hang a Thanksgiving Towels Set in your bathroom for guests to use when they wash their hands before dinner, or place a Thanksgiving hand towel in the kitchen for a little décor in one of the busiest rooms before the event.
Pro tip: when you host Thanksgiving, set up a bar area for your guests to pour a glass of your chosen cocktails, wines, and sparkling seltzers throughout the gathering.
2. Select a Serving Style to Host Thanksgiving
Depending on the size of your gathering and the number of dishes you have, you can choose from a few different serving styles. If you have a smaller guest list or only a couple of dishes to dig into, you can set the table for a more formal, family-style serving, where you pass the dishes around. When it comes to hosting Thanksgiving, we only do buffet style to make individual serving easier with our many recipes.
If you decide to extend the holiday fun with breakfast the morning of or a next-day leftovers lunch, we suggest hosting a casual gathering. Let your loved ones fill their plates and sit where they please as you all come together to celebrate.
3. Finalize Your Thanksgiving Menu
With the holiday approaching, finalizing your menu is a key step to hosting Thanksgiving. After assigning dishes to other chefs in the family and doing the big grocery shop for all your ingredients, ensure you have every recipe ready to go the night before. If this still sounds daunting, keep an eye out for our carefully curated Thanksgiving Menu arriving later this year to get inspiration for your own!
4. Determine Your Thanksgiving Dinnerware and Serveware
The plates, flatware, and serveware you choose for your Thanksgiving table will set the tone for your entire gathering. Luckily, we’ve created Thanksgiving dinnerware featuring vibrant, festive colors and timeless patterns that fill any table with the joy of the season. Our designs use classic Thanksgiving colors, warm tones, autumnal hues, and classic sketches of turkeys to transform your tablescape.
Make sure you take your recipes into account when setting out serveware. Every one of your Thanksgiving dishes will need to be cooked and/or served in a serving dish—it’s up to you to determine what recipe is paired with which Thanksgiving serveware. You should also decide if your guests are bringing their serveware or if they’ll need to borrow yours upon arrival. We suggest bringing up your menu and assigning serveware to each recipe so you know what you’re in for on the big day.
Don’t feel pressured to use Thanksgiving dinnerware and serveware exclusively, especially if you have a large guest list to accommodate. Get creative and mix your favorite everyday collections to create depth and ensure you have enough plates, bowls, and utensils. Something like our Signature White Collection can mix and match with almost anything, making it the perfect companion to our Thanksgiving plates, bowls, and more.
7 Must-Haves from Our Thanksgiving Collection
Grab our entire Thanksgiving dinnerware collection for a cohesive tabletop look, or find ones to accent your personal collection:
- Dusk God is a Great Platter
- Turkey Stripes Ruffle Plate Set
- Turkey 9” Covered Bowl
- Dusk Give Thanks Salad Plate Set
- Give Thanks Dusk Mango Wood Medium Round Board
- Feathered Dusk Wooden Dough Bowl
- Give Thanks Trivet
5. Set the Thanksgiving Table
Setting the Thanksgiving table is one of our favorite steps year after year. With a little creativity, an understanding of how many place settings are needed, and an overall vision, you can let your inner designer flourish with a Thanksgiving table setting. Everything from the tablecloth to the individual Thanksgiving plate settings can be personalized to your style, so whether you lean towards traditional fall Thanksgiving colors or feel inspired to go another route, let yourself have fun!
Every chair should have a complete place setting, flatware, drink glasses, and at least a dinner plate (though we find it’s easier to have the plates on the buffet table at the start of the gathering). Depending on the formality of your gathering, you could always elevate your table presentation and add chargers or different utensils for certain courses.
Whether hosting a plated dinner or serving buffet style like us, the centerpiece is a must. Let your imagination run wild—we love using foliage, pumpkins, and candles, but anything works as long as it’s in your creative vision! The Turkey Covered Bowl is a favorite to use as a centerpiece for florals (in addition to its obvious function for sides)!
Storing and Displaying Your Thanksgiving Dishes
We admit our Thanksgiving dishes aren’t in our cabinets year-round, but we also don’t reserve using them for a single day out of the year. When the mood strikes and the Thanksgiving spirit hits your house, it’s time to introduce your Thanksgiving dishes into rotation. Add them to your cupboards to get the rush of seeing your favorite festive designs for the weeks leading up to the holiday celebrations. Everything from your morning cup of coffee to the average weeknight dinner will feel more special when you use your Thanksgiving dinnerware!
When you aren’t setting the table, your Thanksgiving dishes double as seasonal home décor. Whether displaying your decorative plates on stands in your China cabinet or hanging a Turkey platter above the mantle, showing off your seasonal dinnerware throughout your home means you and your guests can enjoy the season. When it’s time to set the table, just pluck them off the wall, wash them off, and you’re good to go!Hosting Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be daunting with the right preparation and excitement. Discover fun, new traditions to introduce to your family. With our simple steps to hosting Thanksgiving, feel inspired to set a memorable table, perfect a delicious menu, and sit back to enjoy the holiday surrounded by family and friends.