Stories

Expert Voices

A host's guide to staying sane

Most people will tell you that Thanksgiving is not the time to wing it, and those people are probably right. But life doesn't always work out that way. Should you find yourself 24 hours from the big day with no turkey, not enough chairs and a supermarket out of celery, don't panic. When you feel like the wheels might be coming off (and they will come off), just remember that people will eat (something) and that as long as there is wine (there should be), they will have fun.

Here are some other tips to help you keep your sanity.

  1. Outsource. Everything. Outsource the adult beverages, the cheese plate, the cranberry sauce, the flowers, the table setting, the carving and the clean-up. "What can I bring?" are the four most magical words in hosting. Listen for them. Take advantage of them.
  2. Pick two to three things to make and make them well. I always choose the dish I'm pickiest about, since I'd rather cancel Thanksgiving than have someone ruin it for me by making soggy, under-seasoned stuffing.
  3. Be lawless, be flexible. This means being open to creating new traditions. Out of turkey? Make two chickens. Pie crust melted in the oven? Serve ice cream instead. Don't like sweet potatoes? Don't serve 'em. This is your Thanksgiving, and you make the rules. Isn't that great?