As much as you may love Thanksgiving, it’s easy to get stressed if it’s your turn to host. Not to fret: With a little bit of careful planning and the right tools, it just might turn out to be your family's best holiday yet! We've rounded up 20 Thanksgiving dinner essentials you'll want to have on hand to be prepared. Start shopping to nab them just in time for the big day.
The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner
To save yourself from running around at the last minute, trying to get everything done on time like a headless turkey (see what we did there?), early organization is key. Here's a few tips and tricks to make sure that you’re on top of your game this Thanksgiving:
- Lists, lists, and more lists! Make an analytical list of the menu you plan to serve, and what ingredients you’ll need for each dish, including details such as beverages, breadsticks, and even after-dinner mints.
- Assemble the proper tools: Consider the appliances and cookware you’ll need to create your meal. Do you have everything you need for the turkey? For instance, you'll want to have a great roasting dish (like this one from Macy’s, $95.99), a thermometer (we love this one from OXO, $44.99), and a turkey baster (like this one from the Martha Stewart Collection, $13.99) on hand ahead of time. And, for that extra finger-licking something, why not try a gourmet turkey seasoning ($6.98, Stonewall Kitchen)?
- Do your shopping early: Get your grocery shopping done as early as possible to avoid the Thanksgiving rush. In fact, we recommend doing some (or all!) of it online. You’ll be amazed at how much you can find — and have delivered — from Whole Foods at Amazon, Instacart, and Fresh Direct. Harry & David also have an array of delicious festive gourmet items, like its country cranberry relish ($6.99), plus many other scrumptious treats that can be delivered straight to your door — just in time for dinner.
- Plan your tablescape: Do you want your tablescape to be simple or elaborate? Draw it out in your mind (or better still, draw it on actual paper) and list out the items you'll need to make your ideal décor happen. If you’d prefer a minimalist aesthetic, a table runner or tablecloth, placemats, napkins, dinnerware, and a centerpiece are all you'll need.
- Create a vibe: Creating a warm Thanksgiving ambiance doesn’t have to be an intricate task. Spend some time spreading your decorations around the house. For something simple-yet-effective, dim the lights, light a few autumnal candles (like this handmade one from Wax Buffalo, $22, Amazon), and put on some soft dinner music to get everyone relaxed and in the mood for food with good company.
Thanksgiving Dinner Essentials
Once you’ve completed your to-do lists and figured out what it’ll take to enact your ideal dinner, you can start scrolling through our selection of 20 essential items you'll need to bring your dream Thanksgiving feast to life. Keep scrolling for FIRST's picks for the best Thanksgiving dinner essentials!
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