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Hosting Thanksgiving: Tips + Money-Saving Discounts


October 28, 2022

Hosting Thanksgiving means welcoming people into your home and, you hope, serving them a delicious meal with a side of friendship and family.

Easier said than done, right? Preparing a feast while attending to guests’ needs can be stressful, not to mention expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some Thanksgiving hosting ideas to help reduce stress and save money, a checklist to keep you on track, and some Thanksgiving FAQs.

Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving

Whether you’re planning on hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year or you’ve hosted before, here are some tips for hosting Thanksgiving to help make it more enjoyable and stress-free.

#1 – Get the Quantities Right

How much turkey per person? The rule of thumb is 1-1.5 pounds per guest. For 8 people, you’d want an 8–12-pound turkey, for example. (For couples or very small groups, a turkey breast or roasted chicken is a good alternative.) For sides, plan on a minimum of three.

#2 – Go Store-Bought and Upgrade

Who says you have to make every dish from scratch? Grab some ready-to-go dishes from the grocery store and elevate them. Stir chive butter into premade mashed potatoes, for instance, or top a store-bought pumpkin pie with a crunchy nut topping and freshly whipped cream flavored with vanilla. Spend your physical and mental energy on the dishes you most enjoy preparing.

#3 – Keep appetizers simple

Appetizers are intended to keep guests from becoming “hangry” while you’re working hard to get everything onto the table at the same time. No need for a wow factor – keep it simple with basics like cheese and crackers, stuffed celery, hummus and veggies, or a selection of olives and nuts. Save the labor-intensive, Instagram-worthy hors d’oeuvres platter for another time.

#4 – Say “yes” to help

If a guest asks if they can bring something, say yes! A side dish or dessert, some bottles of sparkling or plain water, extra paper napkins, or a cranberry sauce because you forgot it – anything to help make your life easier. Once your guests arrive, delegate simple tasks to helpful guests, like overseeing drinks and helping bring dishes to the table. People often want to help, so let them!

#5 – Do as much in advance as possible

Prepping as much as possible beforehand lets you enjoy the day with less stress. You might even be able to mingle more with your guests before the meal, too! Everything from chopping and prepping veggies, making sauces, and even baking and freezing whole pies can happen well in advance of Turkey Day.

Hosting Thanksgiving Checklist

Knowing how to host Thanksgiving like a pro means staying organized. Follow these steps for a successful meal.

Before Thanksgiving Day:

  • Brush up on food safety1: how to safely store, thaw, and cook a turkey
  • Verify your guest list at least a week prior and ask about food allergies
  • Create the menu
  • Write your shopping list
  • Make a cooking game plan: pick a sit-down time and work backwards so you know when to start making everything
  • Go shopping for food (remember to thaw turkey in time)
  • Prepare ingredients and dishes in advance
  • Clean and polish flatware, dinnerware, glassware, and serving pieces for every dish and course
  • Set the table
  • Clean your home before guests arrive

On the day:

  • Cook the meal, asking for help when you need it
  • Sit down and enjoy!

FAQs About Hosting Thanksgiving

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about hosting Thanksgiving.

How Do I Host Thanksgiving in a Small House?

If space is at a premium, get creative! Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a formal dinner with everyone gathered around the table – being together is the most important thing. With that in mind, here are some Thanksgiving hosting ideas for those with a small house or apartment:

  • Serve food buffet style, with dishes laid out on the kitchen counter or table
  • Seat guests in different places, like the kitchen table, high kitchen counter, around the living room coffee table, and so on
  • Make use of any outdoor space, weather permitting
  • Ask guests to bring fold-up chairs if seating is an issue

How Much Does it Cost to Host Thanksgiving in 2022?

This figure depends heavily on your menu and how many people you’re hosting. Last year, Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people cost an average of $53.31, according to2 the American Farm Bureau Federation survey.

But Thanksgiving 2022 will be different. When we published this, the average inflation rate was just over 8%. Not only that, but inflation and supply shortages have hit food prices especially hard. Turkey prices are at a record high due in part to the bird flu, which has wiped out millions of birds this year.

Although prices vary regionally, it’s safe to expect hosting Thanksgiving to cost significantly more than last year’s $53.31 average to feed 10 guests. It may be time to plan dinner using a turkey alternative!

Where Can I Find Thanksgiving Discounts?

Hosting a delicious Thanksgiving meal doesn’t have to break the bank. Fortunately, there are many Thanksgiving discounts around, if you know where to look. Shop will help you find deals from your favorite retailers to make serving up Thanksgiving splendor easier on your wallet.


  1. Preparing Your Holiday Turkey Safely
  2. Farm Bureau: Survey Finds Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up 14%