In my opinion, there are 4 different types of Thanksgiving host… really any host for that matter. There’s not a more evident breakdown of these 4 than watching a Thanksgiving host do their thing on Thanksgiving Day.
Could there be more than 4? Yes. Can you be a combination of these 4? Absolutely. Is there a wrong or right way to host? NOPE. BUT- there very well could be a better for you way to host! So why not check out some options and see if one of these 4 sounds more like your mojo!
The Ima Do it All-er
These Thanksgiving hosts are the ride or die from scratchers who throw dinners and expect guests to just show up with just a smile. To be honest, sometimes it’s just easier to do it all yourself. I’ve certainly had moments where I immediately regretted asking for help. “Too many cooks in the kitchen” as they say. Honestly, asking for help may not be the best idea if you are have a particular vision in mind… and if you’re not ok with someone bringing Hawaiian rolls or a grocery store pie.
This type of host doesn’t always pull out the silver, china, 3 types of wine glasses, and linen napkins. I mean they could, but they might also opt for disposable everything. The point is they’re not going to ask you to bring the plates, because you might not get the heavy duty ones. Or help with the dishes because you might break one. To sum up this host, they were probably the ones who got screwed over on group projects. A combination of not trust people to follow through mixed with a particular vision and self induced stress.
Guys. This is not a reprimand AT ALL. I am this person and really struggle to let it go and let it be.
The Please Help Me-er
This is the Thanksgiving host who has identified what they’re comfortable or capable of preparing and looks to outsource specific elements of the event/dinner. For example, calling on that guest who always picks out the best wine. Asking that bomb baker of a guest to bring the pie. Or, letting a guest determine what kind of vegetable to bring. When I head this route, I get specific with folks…. like, can you bring a carb? Or a fruit? Or a veg? If you just say a “side” you’re bound to end up with 3 types of potato. Not that that’s a bad thing!
Someone actively asking for help generally doesn’t mind help with the decorations, clean up, or planning. This type of host probably has an established friend group, family who live nearby, is bffs with their neighbors, and therefore finds it much easier to ask for help. There’s a level of trust involved that’s honestly quite beautiful here.
When you decide to be this host, you have to be ok with “things” not being to your “standard”. This can be really hard if you enjoy traditional event, formal settings, and curated dinners. Chances are you’re going to have someone bring 2 buck chuck. Remember, it’s the thought that counts and the person who matters!
The Half and Half-er
For those who aren’t able to let go of control completely, but find themselves in a season of life where doing it all by themselves is not possible… I introduce you to The Half and Half-ers. More and more I’m embracing this method. The one where you make a plan, check it twice, determine what to make and what to professionally outsource.
As much as I LOVE making sourdough bread, putting together charcuterie boards, baking biscotti, and latticing apple pies- sometimes it’s just too much.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Remember this for the sake of your own enjoyment. Because hosting isn’t about showing off all the things you can do. How clean your house is, or how cool your glassware collection is. It’s about connecting, fellowshipping, and sharing. It’s super hard to do all that on any level of substance if you’re running around like a beheaded chicken pouring sweat and worrying about burnt biscuits.
These hosts aren’t comfortable letting folks all the way in and feel most comfortable still maintaining control of the “situation”. However, the extra free time that’s afforded by outsourcing certain aspects of the party allows them to have more fun with the decor, beverage selection, games/activities, and actually enjoy their guests that are present.
The Out To Eat-er Let’s Cater-er
I haven’t crossed into this phase of life personally, but do have several friends who have. They love it here. Like really-really love it here. The place where an entire meal is dropped off, picked up, cooked in house, or eaten out on the town.
Maybe you have a small family, you’re flying solo, or have just a few friends popping over. Maybe you work 2 jobs, work 1 job that works you longer than you wish you did, just welcomed a newborn, received some scary news about your health… you get the picture.
Some years it can be so tempting to fight extra hard to keep things “the way they’ve always been” that we miss out on the joy of “the way things actually are”. Going out to eat for Thanksgiving this year doesn’t mean you have to go out next year or that you’re a bad Thanksgiving host. Although… you and your crew might decide this is your new favorite tradition!! Deciding to cater a meal this year doesn’t mean you can’t make everything from scratch next year. This is not an all or nothing kinda life we live. You are not your next door neighbors, and they aren’t you.
What Makes a Great Thanksgiving Host?
I’ve pulled together a personal list of what I THINK makes a great Thanksgiving host. Your list might be totally different than mine, which is cool. In fact, I’d love go hear in the comments what you think makes a great Thanksgiving host!
- They’ve identified which types of Thanksgiving host they want to be and either embrace the grind, ask for help, plan to outsource, or reserve a meal in advance.
- They articulate their plan with their guests. No surprises here… like oopsy, this is actually a dry event. Everyone knows what to expect so the afternoon, evening, or event is able to run smoothly as a result.
- They’ve asked and taken in to account for allergies and aversions. This is not the same as preference. 10 people are going to have 10 different preferences on how potatoes should be cooked. Allergies and aversions are conditions on the other hand can truly make or break the health of a guest in attendance.
- They have defined stations. When there are clearly defined areas for what goes on where. The card table set up in the family room with puzzles and games. The fire pit on the patio with s’mores kits or a s’more skillet nearby. The wine bottles on the kitchen island with extra glasses. A few mugs, simple syrups, and cream options set near the coffee pot or next to the crockpot filled with spiced hot cocoa. You get the idea. Having defined stations helps folks naturally migrate to different areas they are most interested in, helping to keep the afternoon and evening flowing!
- Music and lighting (which depends on how many kids and dogs might be running around) are the cherry on top. The rest of decor is just for kicks and giggles. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good theme… but in my opinion folks generally come to a dinner for connection over great food and drink. Not for the glittery bows, hand painted glasses, or customized placemats. If you’ve got the passion, time, money, and patience for all that GO FOR IT. I’m all about being extra when I can be.
Let Me Know
Which type of host are you? Maybe you’re a combination of all 4? If you have any tips, just in general, about hosting please drop them below! When you take a moment to share we all learn something new 🙂
While you’re at the sharing and commenting, please Save to Pinterest or Share on Facebook. I need all the support I can get to keep on growing this dream of mine. A place where practical beats perfect- and simple, delicious food is a lifestyle. A place where together, we can begin filling homes and tables with joy.
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~