Holiday Special: Tackling Turkey Day


Is it your first year hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Or are you simply helping the folks prepare? Here are a few tips to make Thanksgiving dinner easy breezy and stress-free:

  • Confirm your guest list before you go shopping.
  • Figure out what size turkey you need for your group. Figure 2 pounds per person. For instance, 10 people = 20 pound turkey.
  • Pick your recipes and prepare your shopping lists ASAP.
  • Go shopping for all non-perishable goods this weekend and buy the turkey too.
  • Start defrosting the turkey three to four days ahead of time depending on the weight.
  • It’s a good idea to set the table a few days before. Check out the photos I included below for place setting inspiration.
  • The day before Thanksgiving: Go shopping for all perishable goods. Prepare all sauces, soups and vegetable plates too. If you have time, prep dessert as well.
  • On the day of Thanksgiving: Cook the turkey, make the stuffing and finish preparing all plates. Things may (and most likely will) go wrong so be prepared for slipups and take it all with a grain of salt. Mistakes will happen and it’s up to you to make the best of them.

If you’re in need of some Thanksgiving-themed table inspiration (that’s a mouth full), check out these beautiful place settings I found…







I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any useful tips, share them in the comments below.

Ever had a Thanksgiving go fabulously awry? Share your funny story in the comments below. I’ll feature the best tale in a Member Spotlight post!

XO Lauren

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Photos: Itswrittenonthewalls, Brittanystiles, Mochatini, Mochatini, CountryLiving, Besthomeinteriordesign
Categories: Celebrate, Dine, Holiday Specials
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  • Anna James

    All the table decor is incredible. I wish this is what my Thanksgiving parties would look like. lol. Thanks for the wonderful tips, Lauren. I’d love if you’d check out my latest outfit post on my fashion blog. xo

  • Lauren Hoffman
  • Lauren Conrad

    Took a peek at your blog @Anna – It’s great! Nicely done :-)

  • Melissa Panici

    These are wonderful tips!! I’m so excited for thanksgiving and I’m helping my mom this year too so this works out so well:) Thank you so much Lauren! xoxo

  • Alba Cuci

    Lauren these look great. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Layne Weber

    I love the tablescapes! Every year my mom and I would craft new name cards and center pieces for the table. I have an older sister, but it was our special thing that we did together. These pictures brought me back to those great memories! Thanks!

  • Stacie Grissom

    I love those white pumpkins. :)

    My newest DIY project– DIY Deer Polaroid Photo Holder

  • Sarah Fagan

    I love the table decor ideas but we usually have too many people and too much food to even fit all of the food on the table let alone decorations! lol

  • Sprinkling Sugar

    My best tip is to NOT USE A WHOLE TURKEY!!! Turkey pieces (breasts if you prefer) are the easiest and most delicious way to cook a bird. Check it out:

  • Summer Katzenbach

    Lovely! Solid tips & inspiring table decor ideas…making Tday much more manageable. Deep breaths…

    I’m sharing these with our FB friends:


  • Jennifer Sellen

    hey Lauren, I wish there was a button that we could click on to save the posts/articles. Cuz it is so hard to find some of my favorite posts that you put up and I wish I could just save it in my profile and go there when I want to look at my favorite posts from you!!! Especially this one it has a lot of cute decoration ideas… especially the room redux one. I love that post!!!

  • Lindsay Myers

    I love the first table setting! I’m doing my first Thanksgiving this year, so I might just borrow the look :)

    The funniest Thanksgiving disaster that happened to me and my family was a few years ago. My dad had heard great stories about deep-frying a turkey instead of roasting it in the oven. We had a house full of people, and my mom was extremely reluctant to try cooking the turkey a new way. But after going to the trouble of getting all the supplies, my dad went through with it. Just as the turkey was finished and he was bringing it in from the garage, the turkey somehow rolled off the tray and onto the kitchen floor. And because the bird was sitting in the fryer for 3+ hours, the greasy turkey glided 12 feet across the kitchen floor. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life! (My mom swore that she cleaned those floors immaculately for our house guests, so we ended up eating the turkey anyway!)

  • Iris Johnson

    My favorite story to tell was of the year my aunt and uncle moved into their new ADORABLE little house on Mount Washington. All the warm dishes of food were staying warm on the stove while the oven below was on, cooking the turkey. Everyone else decided to go for a walk to see the neighborhood but I decided I wanted to stay home and play my gameboy color (I was 9 and in my tomboy phase. Don’t judge me!). So while everyone was out on their walk, I’m innocently enough tackling some Mario action on the old gameboy when the FIRE ALARM goes off in the house! I ran into the kitchen and smoke was billowing out of the oven and I panicked! Was this cute new little family home really going to catch on fire ON THANKSGIVING with my lazy self in the bedroom playing gameboy? A life of despair, right?

    But no. I went running out of the house to try and see if I could call to my family who had to be close by and luckily they were coming down the road. My mom freaked out and sprinted over, they got the (crispy burnt) turkey out of the oven and the house didn’t burn down. In the moment it was terrifying, but looking back on it now, its funny to think of the tough tomboy with her gameboy screaming and running around like a chicken with her head cut off over a slightly charred turkey. Now we pay MUCH CLOSER attention to our bird every year and the joke is ALWAYS MADE not to leave me alone in the house while it is cooking!

    Thanks for this post, Lauren! The photos are beautiful!

  • Rachel Cole

    One year my aunt dropped the full gravy boat. Gravy was everywhere and on the ceiling for years after! It was a mess!

  • Melissa mould

    wow that looks fabulous. I wish we had thanksgiving in the UK! I absolutely love Christmas though and can’t wait for the holidays. I want this outfit to wear on Xmas day :) xx

  • Kimmy S

    What great tips! Love the table settings… so pretty!

    I remember one year my dad decided to fry a turkey but something went wrong and when the turkey was dropped into the fryer it literally shot up like 30 feet in the air… Luckily no one (aside from the turkey) was hurt. We ended up ordering pizza… : ) It was a Turkey Day for the books!

  • Mariana Medeiros de Paula

    Hi Lauren!! I love your tips and specially your blog!

    This is my friend’s blog, unfortunally it’s in Portuguese but is really nice!

    She is a stylist too and her brand name is “”Pera””.

    Check it out:

    Thank you!

  • tinamarie

    soo cute. the bird cages=awesomness.

  • mask

    These are beautiful. I don’t have a funny story to share, but i have a little secret for a moist turkey. Marinate the turkey the day before in a citrus brine.. so, so yummy.

  • Jennifer Olland

    YES! Last year I made the most decadent and delicious caramel-soaked pumpkin cupcakes, with homemade cream cheese frosting. and I painstakingly and meticulously created these fall leaves with fondant and topped it with toasted pecans…..

    well I bring the two dozen or so to my in-laws party….and all of my MIL’s siblings (8 in total) are diabetic… needless to say they were quite neglected! :(

  • Shoegal Out In The World

    Great tips for hosting a Thanksgiving dinner & with the holidays around the corner they will be useful for all the holidays meals we have to prepare & want to be special…

    xo, Violeta



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