Special Report

30 Thanksgiving Hosting Mistakes You’re Probably Making

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1. Too little time to plan

The Thanksgiving dinner is just one day but it takes days, if not weeks, to plan. Find out how many people are coming about two weeks in advance so you know at least how much food to buy. Begin the preparations — food and drinks menu, grocery shopping, and ensuring you have enough chairs and silverware — about a week before the big dinner.

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2. Not creating a shopping list

Ideally, you should buy everything you need at the store in one trip. Realistically, however, that’s not possible — unless you have a list of all the ingredients — from the big bird to the spices you’re going to use for every side dish — written down. It will take much longer if you have to go back to the store several times.

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3. Not asking for help

Don’t try to be Superman or Superwoman. “I’d love some help” can do magic. Thanksgiving dinner is a massive meal and no one expects you to do it alone. Ask the kids to help. You never know — they may even find it fun, especially if asked to assist with making desserts.

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4. Buying the wrong size turkey

How big should the turkey be? That’s why you need to know how many people are coming over. But then what? The rule of thumb is about 1 ½ pounds per person. That means, for example, a 12-pound turkey for eight guests.

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5. Skipping appetizers

Obviously, the star of the evening is the turkey. But what about the opening act? Keep some possibly hungry guests at bay with some bites and crackers to dip. Pretty much any finger food will work. Don’t overdo it, however, as you don’t want people to get too full before the headliner.