My family hosts Thanksgiving dinner every year, which is to say, my mom hosts Thanksgiving dinner every year. It’s her affair; the rest of us are conscripted to our various roles, from carving the turkey (Dad) to baking the pies (me) to taste-testing the dips while everyone else scurries around before guests arrive (sibling who shall remain anonymous). Still, I’ve learned a lot about hosting large-scale events from these Thanksgiving Day feasts, because there have never been fewer than 20 guests present and often more than 30. Irish Catholics, amirite?
The resulting party is always fun, memorable, and a welcome chance for guests to relax and enjoy way too much good food. And as hosts, we’ve learned from certain mistakes made throughout the years, even if they’re just minor hiccups in planning or execution. Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned about hosting, feeding, and entertaining a small army on Thanksgiving—lessons that even small-scale gatherings can benefit from.