Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a big responsibility and can be extremely stressful. Newbie hosts need to start planning today because the holiday is almost here! Impress guests by showcasing your organizational skills. While hosting presents unique and unforeseen challenges, it can be one of the most rewarding things to do come the holiday season.

The first thing to do as a host is to decide on the menu. Keep the menu simple; you don’t want to overextend yourself by making too many dishes. Some staple Thanksgiving meals include roasted turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Use these suggestions from Real Simple as a guide for creating your perfect menu. Take any dietary restrictions your guests may have into consideration. This site is a helpful resource for finding recipes that include grain and soy-free options!

A prepaid bank card can help purchase Holiday dinner ingredientsNext, run through the ingredients and quantities necessary for the number of guests attending. Start purchasing non-perishable items with your Kaiku card up to a few weeks before Thanksgiving. It’s less stressful to cross items off bit by bit. Supermarkets start getting busy with shoppers the weekend before Thanksgiving, and each day leading up to the holiday becomes more packed.

It’s helpful to make several dishes ahead of time and freeze them. This includes soups, squash, mashed potatoes, pies, cookies, lasagna, etc. A day or two before your dinner, take them out to thaw or reheat. This will save a tremendous amount of time on the day-of and keep your stress level down.

It’s normal for guests to ask to bring something to dinner, and it’s perfectly okay to accept. Be sure to provide specifics of what is needed so that multiple people don’t bring the same item.

Setting the table the night before is a timesaver. It will free up time on Thanksgiving to spend with guests. The same goes for any big trays, utensils, or cooking items that may be needed. Take them out of the drawers a day or two before so you waste no time setting up.

Finally, if guests don’t need to be in the kitchen, keep them out by encouraging them to socialize in other areas of the apartment or house. Congestion in the kitchen is the last thing a newbie or any host needs.

More important than anything is sharing the meal and making wonderful memories with friends and family.