Tips for Hosting a Holiday Party

The holiday season is a treasured time for many Americans. For others, it’s a time of incredible stress and uncomfortable conversations. Let’s focus on the positive, shall we?

Hosting for Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving, if that’s more your speed), Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other holiday festivities is often a huge undertaking, to be sure. There are so many moving parts requiring coordination, and all of your guests are counting on you to pull it together in delicious fashion. No pressure! However, having the event at your home can be a truly rewarding – and fun – experience. Below you will find a few simple guidelines to help make your get-together a success.


Make a guest list, and invite early and formally. Even the most spontaneous among us will often solidify Thanksgiving plans by early November, so:

  • Write down your list of honored guests and make sure they know that their presence is humbly requested.
  • Don’t make assumptions on whether a guest will be there or not. Offer a formal invitation and allow them to respond.
  • Sooner is better, as having a firm count on how many people you will be hosting, when they’ll be showing up, and what special needs they have informs the rest of the decisions you’ll need to make.


Plan your menu. Whether you’re using tried-and-true family recipes, the latest creations from Pinterest, or some combination thereof:

  • You’ll need to decide exactly what you’ll be eating. Be sure to account for food allergies and diet restrictions.
  • You’ll want to make sure you allow yourself time to gather all of the necessary ingredients from the store.
  • Allow room for your considerate guests to offer to bring something to contribute to your feast. 

Prep ahead of time as much as possible. Don’t limit your early prep to the food:

  • Get as much setup done around your home as you can.
  • Again, take into account any special accommodations that will need to be made for specific guests.
  • This is an opportunity to make your life a little easier on the day of the event. If everything else is taken care of, you’ll have more time to focus on the meal, as well as enjoy the company of your loved ones.

Finally, and most importantly, have fun! Hosting a holiday dinner shouldn’t be an exhausting chore. If you’re not enjoying it, chances are your guests aren’t either. Make a plan and stick to it as best you can, but don’t beat yourself up if things go a little sideways.

See? Hosting doesn’t seem like such a daunting task now, right? You’re fully prepared to knock it out of the park. If you get stuck, find a friend or family member whose opinion you trust and ask them for guidance. If that doesn’t work, there is always the Butterball Hotline.

Happy Hosting!