Tomorrow the whole crew rolls into town and thus begins my season of holiday entertaining. In our family, it doesn’t really end until the 15th of January culminating with a certain handsome fella’s birthday. Some people stress over the holidays, and to some extent, I do too. Maybe that is why I love Thanksgiving so much, it is about having your friends and family around your table and good food. And not about presents that need to be bought, wrapped, or shipped. I love those holidays too, but this one holds a special place in my heart.

I have hosted Thanksgiving more years that I can remember, and really only can think of one time in recent years that I haven’t. And it was so weird to not do it myself that the next day, I went to the store bought the last turkey to be found and made a mini-version. Thanksgiving can be challenging to make – the turkey can be intimidating and the amount of dishes can overwhelm even the most seasoned entertainer. But I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that help me enjoy the holiday instead of sit in the corner and cry.

1. Figure out how many people are attending and make sure that you have enough plates, silverware, and glasses to go around. There is nothing more embarrassing than realizing that you do not have enough plates for everyone just as people are sitting at the table waiting to be served. Same goes for casserole dishes and platters. Make sure you have enough for the amount of dishes you are making.

2. Decide on a menu and break the tasks out over the course of a few days. I only make my turkey on Thanksgiving Day, everything else has been made and just needs to be reheated. I have a red folder that I have had for years, and it has every task broken down into days. It makes it completely manageable. I always seem to run into the grocery store for something the night before Thanksgiving and chuckle at the people that are putting a 20 pound frozen turkey in their carts. That baby takes a couple of days to thaw safely. A little planning goes a long way.

3. I am a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving. I make the same things year and after year, plus or minus a few things depending on the number of guests. By not making really new or different recipes you know what to expect, how long it takes to make, and becomes a family tradition. No need to reinvent the wheel.

4. Make sure that you have at least 5 pounds of butter in your house at all times! Just kidding. Maybe that is on my list, but I am weird, I feel uncomfortable without at least 4 pounds of butter in my freezer at all times. Have fun! Enjoy your friends and family.

This year I am teaming with Captain Morgan to celebrate the holidays in a big way. I have been chosen to enter a contest that celebrates entertaining over the holidays. Over the next 4 weeks, I will be competing in a contest that involves a few of my favorite things. Eating, drinking, and entertaining. 10 bloggers have been chosen and we will be throwing a party and the only requirement is that a cocktail, appetizer, and dessert include Captain Morgan in some way. DC’s own Spike Mendelsohn will be the judge. If I win, a donation will be made to a charity of my choice. And a few prizes for me of course…

So I have a favor to ask of you, what is your best entertaining tip? A recipe that you have to have? A rum recipe that you swoon over? Please feel free to share here in the comment section or join the conversation over on my Facebook page.