As the days get cooler and the holiday season approaches, many of you may be considering hosting friends and family for Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings.
First time hosting this year and wondering where to start? Learn how to host an enjoyable meal - with minimal stress - that everyone will love with these tips.

Plan and Organize Early

With proper planning, hosting doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Create a checklist of tasks that need to be accomplished, from menu planning to home décor. Setting a deadline for these tasks will help you stay on top of everything and reduce stress as the big day approaches. Consider what ingredients and supplies you'll need and make a shopping list well in advance.

Prepare Your Homes for Guests

No open-concept floor plan? No problem. One easy and quick way to trick your guests into making your home look and feel bigger is to place your furniture on the outer parts of the room. Doing this will make the room look larger and give more space for the items you need and want in the center (like the dinner table, perhaps). Bring in extra seating, if needed, and check that you have enough serving ware and utensils for your anticipated number of guests.

Decorate with Seasonal Flair

The first impression is lasting, so creating a welcoming entry area is a great place to make a large impact. A doormat featuring a friendly greeting can create a warm tone for your guests' arrival and seasonal decor like fall wreaths or potted mums help to introduce a touch of autumn charm.
Enhance your table setting with a beautiful centerpiece such as a floral arrangement, cornucopia, or pumpkins. In a pinch, explore the areas outside your home for leaves and other natural elements to include. Individual place cards with your guests' names create a personal touch (and can often be delegated to school-aged helpers, if willing).

Plan Your Menu

When planning your menu, remember to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences. Feel free to mix traditional dishes like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce with new and exciting recipes to keep the meal fresh and interesting - or stick with the classics if that’s what you prefer! If your guests are asking for ways to contribute, feel free to delegate certain items or to recruit them for help in the kitchen to reduce the stress on the day of the event. Beverages, appetizers and simple desserts like this easy pumpkin pie dip are easy ways that guests can lessen the load.

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup whipped cream or whipped topping
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Graham crackers, apple slices, or pretzels for dipping


1. In a mixing bowl, combine the canned pumpkin puree, whipped cream, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract.
2. Stir the ingredients until well mixed and the mixture is smooth.
3. Chill the pumpkin pie dip in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
4. Serve with graham crackers, apple slices, or pretzels for dipping.

When preparing to cook the meal, allow enough time for each dish. Some items can be prepared in advance, while others need to be cooked just before serving.
Pro Tip: If you’re a first-timer or not at ease in the kitchen, start slow! Enlist your family and friends to help with cooking and choose easy-to-follow recipes. Another option is to consider purchasing components of your dinner from a restaurant or market – just confirm with the location as it may require ordering in advance.

Games and Entertainment

Thanksgiving is all about the food, fellowship, and fun. A few engaging activities, such as a dedicated kids' table with coloring pages, crayons, and games can ensure that the little ones have a wonderful time during your Thanksgiving celebration. You can also create a craft station stocked with a few simple supplies like colored paper, markers, pipe cleaners and ribbon for making Thanksgiving-themed art or decorations to keep the children entertained.

Embrace the Moment

Most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude. Encourage your guests to share what they are thankful for through meaningful conversations. This tradition adds depth and significance to your Thanksgiving celebration, making it truly special.
By following these tips, you can turn your home into the perfect setting for a memorable gathering. With a comfortable and welcoming space, delicious food, and cherished company, you're well on your way to creating lasting memories. In the end, remember that there's no need to worry when hosting– it's all about creating a cozy atmosphere for quality time with loved ones. We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration from Shea Homes®!


Sales: Shea Communities Marketing Company (NC #C25840), (SC #24982); Construction: SHALC GC, INC.  (NC #75061), SH South Carolina, Inc. (SC #CLG.125141). Equal Housing Opportunity.

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