Tips For Hosting Thanksgiving

Is it your turn to host Thanksgiving? Or maybe you want to host your first-ever Friendsgiving? Either way, we have your stress-free guide to hosting this season. After all, the best holidays are the ones where you get to relax a little. Below is a foolproof checklist so you can spend more time enjoying the day.


Plan your menu

Let’s face it, food is one of the most beloved things about Thanksgiving, so the menu is important. The earlier you start thinking about it the better. 

Start planning what you want to serve from appetizers, sides, meats, and desserts to wine and cocktails. If you’re going with a traditional menu, be sure to include all the family favorites, whether it’s Grandma’s pumpkin pie, Aunt Sue’s deviled eggs, or Uncle Bill’s honey ham. 

Hot Tip: If you’re in Frisco or Disney Springs and want great food options without the grocery list or clean up, you can always dine at City Works.


Send out your invites

It’s easier than ever to send out invites via text, but be sure to call anyone who might not be text-savvy. Add these key details and questions to your invite:

Time: What time you want guests to begin arriving, and what time dinner will start.
Needs: Now is a good time to let them know if they should bring anything.
Diets: If you are unsure, ask about any dietary needs.
RSVP: Most importantly, make sure they know to RSVP, as this will help determine how much food needs to be prepared.


Finalize Your Menu & Inventory Ingredients

Check your pantry to see what ingredients you have so you don’t run out of anything or overbuy the ingredients you already have. Don’t forget ice, napkins, and plates! And what about coffee? Will you have coffee drinkers? What about guests who want non-alcoholic options?


Grocery Shop

Buy your non-perishables in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving if you can. This will help avoid a large grocery bill all at once and will help ensure you have ingredients that your store may run out of (pumpkin)!





Plan Additional Meals

Are you having overnight guests, or do you just need to feed your fam the night before? Order in from Bottleneck’s Great for Groups menu, so you don’t have to do additional dishes or cooking.

You can also pre-prep a breakfast quiche the night before so all you have to do is reheat and get the coffee brewing in the AM.   

After a full day of eating, you may want to get a late start to breakfast on Friday, so try out brunch at City Works or Old Town Pour House




Prep Ingredients

The secret to a stress-free feast? Prepare ingredients in advance. Save time on Thanksgiving by peeling and chopping your veggies 24 hours in advance. You can also make some dishes the day before, like pies that need to chill, so you can spend more time enjoying the day and less time over the stove. 




Set the mood

Just a little effort can go a long way in terms of fall décor! Give these options a try to impress your guests:

Create a Centerpiece: While not necessary, it’s a nice touch and can be done easily on a budget. For a round table, grab a boutique of fall flowers from your local grocery store and pop them in a vase. You can add a couple of mini pumpkins around the vase for an additional festive touch. For a rectangle, pick up a table runner and 5-8 mini pumpkins to line down the center and you’ll have a beautiful tablespace.

Make your place settings or name cards: Planning to set the table with dinner plates? Top them with an old photo of each guest to help them find their seats. It’s also a fun way to get the memories and conversation flowing.

Don’t have photos? Use placemats that make for easy after-dinner cleanup. Get some kraft paper and cut it to your desired size, using your dinner plates as a guide. Place the plates you’ll be using in the center of the placemat and, with white paint, write your guest’s name in the center above the plate. For an added touch and conversation starter you can make a section for guests to write what they are thankful for.

Set the Table: You can do this the night before to help save time the next day and it will help set the holiday vibe. Be sure to set glasses upside down to keep them dust-free.

Music: Make a playlist or you can always nominate one of your guests to be the DJ day-of.  



Set Up the Bar

Don’t forget the drinks! You can set up a self-serve drink station to leave yourself more room in the kitchen. Whether it’s a cooler full of beers and sodas, wine, or a premade cocktail (sangria is always a hit) it’s a great way to help people feel at home.

If you’re looking for some pairing ideas check out our Holiday Pairing Guide.



While the food is the main focus, it’s always a good idea to have a few classic board games to help keep people entertained. If your family is into Black Friday, you can also go over your action plan for shopping the sales.

Hot Tip: Now through New Year’s Eve, you’ll receive a $50 bonus on any $100 Bottleneck gift card purchase, plus be entered to win a full-size kegerator (and a double entry on Black Friday)!



Since you have some of your items already made and all your ingredients prepped, the cooking part will be much easier. To help even further, map out a cooking schedule a few days before the big day to ensure all dishes are done when needed.

Take the worry out of cooking the bird by following our Safe Turkey Prep guide. We go over thawing, cooking, and stuffing and even provide ideas for leftovers – think pot pie! 



The meal has been served, your stretchy pants have been stretched to their max and it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your company. 

We hope this guide helps alleviate some of the stresses of hosting and gives you a little more time to enjoy your company on Thanksgiving.