How to Host the Holidays with Grace

Friday, November 9, 2018

I am not, by nature, an organized person. Ive been referred to as a "free spirit" in more settings than one. And Im totally ok with that. However, since becoming an adult and having to do "adulty" things like get a job, for example, Ive found that I have to try to incorporate some structure into my free spirit.

When my nana passed away a few years ago, my family was a little jolted in the way of holidays. She lived about an hour and a half away and we always traveled to her for holiday celebrations. The year she passed, however, I took on the mantle of Thanksgiving and hosted it for my family. Although I have LOVED it, it has not come without its fair share of blood, sweat and, you guessed it, TEARS.

Hosting such a large holiday requires planning and as the years have gone on, Ive come up with a pretty fool proof way to successfully host this beautiful holiday, while simultaneously getting to enjoy it myself. YEP. I said it! You CAN actually enjoy the holiday you are hosting.

Lets get started....


I can't stress this enough. The more you can do in the weeks leading up to the holiday, the easier and more stress free it will be. Breaking each task into segments done on different days makes the entire thing much more manageable. I created a little printable for you guys to use as a checklist (its at the end of the post). Its the one I use every year, and has become second nature at this point.

First thing to plan is your menu. Create yourself a Pinterest board, choose the ones that are actual reality (you know what I mean...we pin like we're on The Real Housewives of whatever, when thats just not our reality lol) and then set the plan! If you click here you can check out my Thanksgiving board, to get your juices going!

Print each recipe you're going to use. Then go through, write down all the ingredients on your shopping list (with the amounts you need). I created a shopping list for you to use below, but any old notepaper will do!


The first year I hosted thanksgiving I did every single thing myself. And I was DEAD tired. Now I plan out my meal and ask each family to bring something. They love to contribute, and I love to let them!


A little greenery goes a long way! Bring the outdoors, in! A little pinecones, fresh herbs, and a few tea lights? DONE. You probably have pumpkins leftover, use those! Be creative and for goodness sake USE PINTEREST! How did we ever not?

Rosemary Wreath Place Cards

easy rustic Christmas table decoration ideas place card holders



I use almost all classic, simple, tasteful recipes and they are always a hit. Roast your turkey the old fashioned way. Use your grandmas mashed potatoes recipe. Do what you know you're good at! My mom and I always joke because we tend to try new recipes on very important holidays (she hosts Christmas) and always think what the heck are we doing?! Keep it classic and simple and your guests will be so happy.

Heres a sample menu of mine...

Appetizers: Spinach artichoke dip, meatballs, cranberry goat cheese bites

*PRO TIP: choose apps you can do in the crock pot. I prep them the night before and in the morning simply plug in the crock pots and DONE. Boom.

Turkey: This classic recipe from Ina Garten. You can simply not go wrong with any of her recipes because they all turn to gold.

Mashed Potatoes: My sister brings these because she does it so well! Basically a lot of cream cheese and butter.

Sweet Potatoes: My mama always makes these are they're to die for.

Stuffing: I put this on the list because it is a must. But I use my sweet mamas recipe, and its staying in the family, for now :) The StoveTop recipe is very similar though.

Brussel Sprouts:

Hot Rolls: Pilsbury out of the can, duh.

Apple Pie: This one is the one Ive made two years in a row now and is a HIT.

*PRO TIP: get Trader Joes french vanilla ice cream to go with this and its basically heaven.

And last but not least...


The first couple years I hosted Thanksgiving, I was so focused on the crazy dinner and decor prep that I was getting myself ready with like 5 minutes to spare. Now that Ive learned to plan ahead and do some things ahead of time, I leave myself plenty of time for a well deserved hot shower and extra makeup application time ;)

On the subject of saving of my biggest tips, and something I love doing now, is making my Thanksgiving morning breakfast ahead of time. I make these cinnamon rolls a couples days before so they're ready to just take out and bake the morning of. We enjoy them while we watch the parade and its one of my absolute favorite mornings of the entire holiday season.

And don't forget to ENJOY!

Hosting a holiday is such a gift to your family and friends but it doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy it. Follow these tips and you will be able to sit down for dinner, relax during dessert and enjoy your family! Theres so much to be grateful for so ENJOY!


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