Many families celebrate the Thanksgiving long weekend with loved ones gathered around a bountiful table. But did you know that hosting this kind of get-together can be a lot easier than you think? It’s all in your prep.


Plan your get-together in advance so you can choose the formula that works best for you. Do you want to hold a large meal where you prepare everything yourself? A buffet-style gathering where everyone serves themselves before sitting at the table? Or a potluck where everyone contributes to the meal?

Once you’ve made your decision, set up a timeline to target when you should get things done: inviting your guests, planning your menu, preparing grocery lists (one for the things you can buy in advance, and another for the fresh products you need to buy at the last minute), preparing any make-ahead dishes, setting your table, decorating, and so on.



  • Make sure to get your turkey ahead of time based on the number of guests expected. Calculate about ½ pound of turkey per person and a little more for those with good appetites. For large groups, try to go with two smaller turkeys to reduce cooking time.
  • If you chose a frozen turkey, remember to thaw it ahead of time, but only if it’s not stuffed. Plan about five hours of thawing time per pound, and keep the turkey at the bottom of the fridge. You should never thaw a turkey at room temperature or thaw a stuffed turkey.
  • Prepare ½ cup of stuffing per pound of poultry.
  • Once stuffed, place turkey on a rack inside a roasting pan with some water or broth at the bottom and baste with cooking juices at least once every hour.
  • Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and cook until reaching an internal temperature of 82°C (180°F).

Other alternatives

If you want something other than a traditional turkey meal, several options exist:

  • Festive rack of pork
  • Pineapple ham
  • Cornish hens
  • Vegetarian lasagna
  • Roasted squash


Satisfy your guests’ appetites with an array of traditional sides, or surprise them with something a little more original.

Traditional sides include pumpkin soup, mashed potatoes, a seasonal vegetable melt, glazed carrots, with of course some cranberry sauce and chutney set on the table for easy serving.


It’s hard to believe that your guests will still be hungry at the end of such a bountiful meal…but many consider dessert the best part!

So for those with a sweet tooth, serve the tastes of the season! Apple, pumpkin, squash and cozy spices are staples when it’s time to give thanks.