The Ultimate Checklist for Hosting Thanksgiving In Your New Apartment

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Just moved in and hosting Thanksgiving for the family at your place this year? We’ve got you covered as you plan your menu, time and space! Follow this checklist for a stress-free holiday (at least where the food is concerned!).

Meal Planning

  1. First, decide on the main dish. If you want a turkey and you want organic or free-range, make sure you know where you can find one. Then, estimate the size you need – one pound for every person is a good rule of thumb (until you get above 16 pounds, as there is more meat per pound; then estimate one pound for every two people).
  2. If you’re cooking a turkey, you’ll likely need to purge some things from the fridge to make room. Start with obvious items that might smell dubious or have passed their expiration date, toss (or eat!) near-empty jars and then work on consolidating what’s left.
  3. Consider adding sides to your menu that don’t take up valuable space in the oven or on the stove (such as a tossed salad, nuts, olives, meats, cheeses and prepared vegetables with dip.
  4. If you’ve invited people to bring dishes, make sure you know what they are so you can plan fridge and oven space accordingly (and to avoid duplicates!).
  5. Do you have all the tools needed to prepare each dish (thermometer, turkey baster, cutting board, carving knife, etc.)?
  6. Do you have all of the items you’ll need to serve (serving spoons, serving bowls, glassware, plates, cutlery, gravy bowl, etc.)?

Making Room

  1. If space will be tight and you might be hosting holiday dinners again, invest in a folding table, chairs, extra dishes and utensils. If this might be a one-time thing, request these items from your guests, or better yet, take this opportunity to meet your neighbors and ask to borrow some of theirs!
  2. Get creative! Poufs, coolers, stools, trunks and step stools can make great seats.
  3. Trays are useful for those sitting on couches or in other table-less spots.
  4. Consider hanging decorations instead of crafting a centerpiece that will take up valuable room on the table.
  5. Buffet-style serving from the kitchen can free up space on the table for everyone’s plate, especially if there are extra seats around the table.

Maximize Your Kitchen Space (and Time)

  1. Prepare some foods the day before (such as pies, casseroles, appetizers and cranberry sauces).
  2. Chop vegetables and herbs the night before and store them, sealed, in the fridge.
  3. Offer red, not white wine, to avoid the need to chill in the fridge.
  4. Spiced apple cider (or mulled wine, etc.) in a crock pot is festive and can be heated and served away from the kitchen (and it smells amazing!).

Timing Is Everything

  1. Make sure to move the frozen turkey to the fridge to thaw ahead of time! A good rule of thumb is one day for every 5 pounds.
  2. Another option is to thaw the turkey in a cooler – this will also enable you to brine it at the same time.
  3. Head to the grocery store several days in advance to avoid long lines and ensure availability of everything on your list.
  4. Clean your apartment the night before (if not a couple of days in advance). Priorities should be de-cluttering main areas and counter surfaces. If you’re going to need extra space, consider rearranging furniture or relocating unnecessary items to your bedroom.
  5. Build in extra time on the big day. Set your alarm and start early – some unforeseen events are likely to arise and it’s a good idea to avoid racing the clock. Know that the turkey, depending on its size, will take 4-7 hours to cook (don’t pull it out until it has reached 165 degrees!).
  6. On Thanksgiving, clean as you go to avoid the collection of clutter on valuable counter space.

Follow this guide and enjoy this special holiday in your new home!


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