These fire roasted sweet potatoes can be made early to help make Thanksgiving Day easier on the host.
In the bi-weekly content series The New Southern Hospitality, I'll be exploring the old and new traditions of Southern hospitality, what qualities and behaviors make us unique and, of course, tips and ideas on how to be the ultimate hospitable Southern host or hostess.
I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my house for the first time this year. With my immediate family and my husband's, the guest count should round out at 12 people, not including my 9-month-old son, which is the primary reason we’re hosting Thanksgiving, in addition to being centrally located between families.
We bought our house in the summer of 2016, and since then we’ve been buying furniture, decorating and making the home feel like ours. I confess that I’ve certainly upped my tabletop, kitchen and home decor game since volunteering to host Thanksgiving, and my husband Josh is fervently working on refinishing a butcher block table we’ve had in storage for years, so we have enough seating come Thanksgiving Day.
Full disclosure: we are having a potluck-style Thanksgiving, with every member of the family assigned to a few dishes (yes, I sent out a very detailed email with everyone’s assignments). Still, I’m feeling the hostess heat, so I turned to our readers and friends to give me some tips, tricks and advice on hosting Thanksgiving for the first time … and they are good.
Whether you’re hosting for the first or the fifteenth time, I think these tips for hosting Thanksgiving will come in handy, so grab the wine, chill the pie and have a happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
Keep it simple! You don’t need a ton of sides; a cheese board and wine is an easy app that can sit out for a while and everyone likes it. - Clare Marshall
Prep as much the day before so it’s mostly heating up. Also, try buying the oven-safe, throw-away casserole dishes to cut down on clean up time. - Fraser Smetts
Delegate! I made the mistake of asking others to bring what they wanted to and I got generous offers for bread and cranberry sauce. - Caroline Cayce
If you’re doing a couple of signature drinks, print out instructions and have ingredients ready. Then, have people make that when they come over. They’ll still contribute and it won’t stress you out! - Iche Wallace
Set the table ahead of the big day. And make sure you have appropriate platters and bowls, as well as utensils you’ll need. - Suzanne Salvatore
Embrace your slow cooker. -Ashley Diamond Sieger
Start the day with the dishwasher emptied and the sink cleaned. Dishes pile up FAST when cooking for a crowd, and a cluttered messy kitchen stresses me out. - Kristin Bernhard
Make some sides that don’t have to be hot, so you don’t have to worry about oven space too much. - Lauren Zarzour
Type up your recipes. You know them by heart, but on the day of ... it’s best just to just have them written down. Plus, you can make notes for what works and what doesn’t directly on the printed recipe for next year. - Kate Altmix
If you polish silver, toothpaste works great in a pinch with warm water if you don't have polish handy. - Beth McKibben
Depending on how many guests you’re having and your seating arrangements, you might do a buffet. If doing a buffet, think of traffic flow and try to make it U-shaped so traffic can keep moving. I use my stove top as part of the flow for things I want to keep warm. - Katherine Leschper
GRAVY. - Evan Mitz
Have extra containers on hand for guests to bring home leftovers. - Marina White
In our house everyone cooks something … that collective effort is so the spirit of Thanksgiving, and everyone enjoys the compliments! - Nancy Butler
Do as much prep work as you can beforehand so you can relax and actually enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. - Penney Goodman
Thanks to everyone for the tips — let us know how your Thanksgiving goes by tagging us on social and using the hashtag #mysouthernkitchen