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New Home Checklist: Hosting Your First Thanksgiving

Shot of a group of people sitting together at a dining table ready to eat
PeopleImages / Getty

If you moved into a new home over the past year, you might be finding yourself on hosting duty for the first time this Thanksgiving, and that can be a lot of pressure. But don’t worry — a little bit of planning will go a long way towards a stress-free afternoon.


Jump to:

Two to three weeks out

The week of

The day before

Thanksgiving Day


Two to three weeks out

  • Plan the menu
  • Order your turkey, rolls, or dessert
  • Send out invitations and a dish sign-up sheet
  • Take inventory of kitchen supplies, plates, and silverware
  • If using, book a rental service for plates and silverware
  • Test-cook any dishes you’re nervous about

MYMOVE pro tip

Plan on around one pound of turkey per person — or around half a pound of edible meat each. Experts recommend turkeys in the 10 to 12 pound range. 

The week of

  • Decorate the house
  • Thaw the turkey about three days before Thanksgiving — or 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs
  • Get the grocery shopping done
  • Prep the guest rooms (with a new mattress if needed)
  • Make a schedule for Thanksgiving Day

MYMOVE pro tip

Prepare what you can in advance. Dishes like casseroles and vegetables can be cooked and refrigerated for up to two days, and pie crusts can be baked three days ahead. 

The day before

  • Clean the house (or at least the essential rooms)
  • Set the table
  • Make a cooking schedule for the day ahead

MYMOVE pro tip

Put two bags in your trash can so you have a fresh one ready to go while you’re cooking. 

Thanksgiving Day

MYMOVE pro tip

If you need to keep a dish warm, put it in the microwave — it’s insulated, so it will help it retain heat. (Just don’t accidentally turn it on!)

Don’t forget to have fun!

With all the prepping guest rooms and last-minute grocery runs, it can be easy to forget what the season is all about: soaking in some gratitude with the people you love. While hosting around the holidays can bring its fair share of stress, try to take some time to appreciate everything that makes the holiday so special. 


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