I’m excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year in my home. The last few years my family and I have been out of town, over at the high desert, where we created wonderful memories with our kids. Let’s say that our colorful friends are coming this year. The Greens, Blacks, and Browns – 4 families, a total of 18 people.

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Here are my thoughts on planning a dinner, on how to be organized, and how to make the meal come together, with little stress.

It’s easy to either dread the day, or to love the day. To be completely disorganized or to have a plan where it all flows easily.

My timeline goes like this: If you are planning a traditional turkey dinner, I’ve found it’s exciting to venture out and to try a few new recipes. Personally, I don’t feel like you have to “test” a new recipe, either. With the traditional menu, why not change it up a bit and try something new? There’s always an abundance of food on Thanksgiving Day, so if a new recipe isn’t the “star” recipe for the day, that is okay. (You will just make a note that you do not want to make it again).

Do this NOW — this weekend!
1. Notebook: Gather or buy a notebook (Dollar store works!)
2. Guest List: Write out your guest list.
3. Menu: Plan the menu and decide what YOU want to cook first, and then what you want your guests to contribute. (But be flexible!)
4. Invite: Call or email your guests and invite.
5. Delegate: When you hear back from your guests, follow up right away and tell them what you’d like them to bring.

Example Menu for Traditional Thanksgiving Meal:
Remember, have fun and gourmet it up a bit! (I am Coughlin, the hostess, so you can see exactly what I will be making.)

Drinks – Coughlin and Black
Appetizers – Smith and Brown
Turkey – Coughlin
Dressing – Green
Potatoes – Coughlin
Sweet Potatoes – Coughlin
Vegetable – Smith and Green
Salad – Brown and Black
Rolls – Green
Dessert – Coughlin and Black and Brown

Since I am the hostess, I am preparing most of the food, but not all of the food. Thanksgiving is a time to include everyone in the meal. If you feel you have to do it all, to be honest, I feel sorry for you. You will be exhausted. I am not super-woman and I need the help.

Plus, I love how each family can contribute to such a beautiful day.

Have you made your Thanksgiving Day invitation?

Have you planned your Thanksgiving Meal?

You’ve got your homework outlined for you this weekend, so get going on your planning! Next week, join me for Part II of organizing your recipes, shopping list, and thinking about the table! Watch for the promised Balcony Girl’s Apple Charlottes recipe and the Pecan Pie recipe that goes with this easy “no-roll” pie crust! Have a great weekend, friends!