1. Put Time On Your Side
Running out of time is one of the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving entertaining. Give yourself some help by setting your table days in advance and prepping side dishes the night before; this allows you to focus on the most important things like the turkey and entertaining. Mashed potatoes, casseroles, and stuffing are easy to make in advance and keep in your fridge until they're ready to head to the oven. Making a list for the week before will also make sure you stay on task and you aren't forgetting things. Thanksgiving day can be rather hectic, so making sure you have everything planned out by the half-hour is a great way to make sure you aren't forgetting anything!
2. Ask For Help
You don't have to do the whole thing yourself! Ask someone to be your assistant — husbands, kids, and best friends are great for this. Have them greet guests, take coats, and fill drinks so you can stay focused on what's happening in the kitchen and they stay out of your hair.
3. Set The Right Mood
Before guests arrive light a few candles, play some music, and dim the overhead lights. Not only will this set a relaxed and festive mood, dim light also helps to disguise a not-so-perfectly cleaned room. Playing music from a website like Pandora allows you to play music that will perfectly fit the mood and you are able to play it for hours without having to change CDs in the middle of dinner. Avoid scented candles near the table as you want all that food you worked so hard on to be the main event.
4. Serve Food Buffet Style
Serving food buffet style adds a casual element that can make dinner about eating rather than making sure the green bean casserole gets passed all the way around the table. It also frees up more space on the table for glassware and table settings. Set up food on one side of the room and drinks on the other to keep traffic flowing and to prevent bottlenecks.
5. Don't Take Things Too Seriously
At the end of the day, your guests will remember your company and not whether your table and meal looked like they came out of a magazine. Remember to relax and enjoy the day with your loved ones — that's what it's all about after all.