Should You Host a Large Thanksgiving Dinner?

Though hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner can create warm memories, it can also spark a few horror stories. Before you decide to host a large Thanksgiving dinner, ask yourself a few questions to determine whether it's really a good idea.

Do you have the space?

Usually, the first thing people attend to when planning a holiday meal is the food itself -- but it will be very hard for your friends and family to enjoy the meal if there isn't enough space for everyone to sit down. Think about how many people will be attending, and compare your table space and available seating before you send out the invitations.

Have you ever done it?

Crafting a large meal is different than cooking just for yourself or for your own family. Like all things, it takes time and experience to perfect a holiday meal. If you've never hosted a Thanksgiving dinner before, let someone else take the host or hostess job this year -- then ask if you can help get things ready. This allows you to gain experience without having sole responsibility for the meal. You can take the helm after you've gained a little more confidence.

Do you have the money?

If you're creating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, the cost of the turkey adds up fast -- not to mention all the incidentals, such as cranberries, stuffing, rolls, yams and pies. It's true that a large meal can be worth the splurge, but there's no sense volunteering to do something beyond your means when a small, intimate dinner can be just as meaningful.

Do you have the time?

This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself before agreeing to host a large Thanksgiving dinner. Not everyone realizes how much time really goes into creating a meal. You will likely need days to prepare, because there's no way one person (or one oven) can have all that food ready to eat for dinner in just one day. The turkey will likely take up most of your responsibilities the day of the meal, while items such as rolls and pies can be made ahead of time. If you can't commit to a few days of prep work, it's best to leave the big meal to someone who can.

Don't sweat the big stuff

If you've asked yourself all the necessary questions and still think you're in a good position to host a large, Thanksgiving dinner, wonderful! But if you aren't, try not to stress about it. In the end, what matters isn't how big of a meal you had or what you ate -- it's setting aside time for giving thanks and bonding with family and friends.

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