I've been hosting my family's Thanksgiving for a decade now and I feel like I've learned a thing or two.

So here are what I hope will be helpful hints for you.

1. Cook Your Turkey Upside Down

Yep, cook the turkey breast side down. I believe this is an actual tip from Martha Stewart or someone, but I learned this one completely by mistake.

One year I accidentally put the turkey in the roaster upside down and the thing turned out delicious. Super moist, no gravy required turkey.

The skin doesn't get nearly as crispy (if you like that sort of thing) but the turkey doesn't need as much basting to keep from drying out, so I'll never cook it right side up again.

 

2. Get Paper Plates For Dessert

Tacky? I say tactical.

Think about it. After dinner people are typically still willing to help with the clean up. Family is clearing the table with you, washing dishes for you even helping pack up the leftovers.

After dessert, it's a different story. People are ready to relax (and you are too.) and not quite as interested in cleaning your house. That's why I do paper plates for dessert. Why leave myself a pile of dishes for late night or early morning? I'd rather toss out a few decorative plates thank you very much.

 

3. Throw Some Pillows or Beanbags on the Living Room Floor

Post-Thanksgiving dinner is all about getting comfortable. But you may not have as much chair/couch space as you have guests.

I threw some big pillows on the floor for little ones last year and found even my teenage niece and nephews enjoyed lounging on them - with their phones of course. Still it left couch space for aunts and uncles to get comfy, so it was a win.

 

4. Get Dollar Store Containers for Leftovers

Personally I don't care for a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers for days. More likely than not I'll be throwing half of it away cause it went bad in there.

So now I stop at a dollar store and grab enough takeaway containers for everyone to get a "turkey day to go" box. Then as I clean up after dinner I put a little of everything in each container and pass them out as parting gifts when folks leave.

I do save some for my family, but this cuts down on leftovers tremendously.

 

These things make hosting for the holidays a lot easier for me. What advise would you have for first time hosts?