My DOs & DON’Ts of Thanksgiving


Like most things in life – the first time doing something is never the best time, right?!  Well – in most cases that is true.  Although I had grand plans for this year’s Thanksgiving feast (hosted by yours truly) I knew that there had to be a learning curve.  And a learning curve there was.

If you didn’t get a chance to read “Steph vs. Joy | Our Thanksgiving: Part I (Steph)“, be sure to do so… it will give you a little perspective.

In light of letting you all in on my pre-Thanksgiving meal plans, I thought I’d give you my wrap-up thoughts in a “DOs and DON’Ts of Thanksgiving” post format 🙂

So here ya go…

Steph’s Top 10 DOs and DON’Ts of Thanksviging

10)   DON’T forget the giblets (in the neck cavity).  Yes – we were told by multiple people to not forget the giblets… but we did. Oops.

9)   DO make Cooking Light’s Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe. ‘Nough said.

8)   DON’T make your own pumpkin pie – buy it from Costco. DELICIOUS!

7)   DO ask for a Chafing Dish for Christmas (that is if you like to host parties).  Thanks to my aunt who must know me better than I know myself – I’ve had this chafing dish for a couple of years and have used it multiple times.  Each time I get it out of our limited storage space I am sooo thankful I have it!  We used it to keep the stuffing and gravy warm this T-day. It was perfect.

6)   DON’T try and do it all yourself. Be sure to ask your guests to bring something.  I asked each of our guests to bring something and was so happy I did.  There is just only so much time in a day and so many hands (and ovens).

5)   DO take time to set the table nice and pretty. Everyone loves to sit at a pre-set, beautiful table, right?  Our table didn’t take much time at all (and very little money)… but it sure was pretty.

4)   DON’T make the turkey ahead of time. This is just one of those things. I know soooo many ladies that have done this well (all of which must be better cooks than I) BUT our turkey just turned out dry and icky.  Such a disappointment.  Don’t get me wrong, it was nice and juicy when we carved it…. the reheating just didn’t help. Probably because of this we’ll never do the turkey ahead and reheat.  Bummer… because it’s such a great idea!

Danielle & Steph

3)   DO use a Reynold’s Turkey Bag to cook the turkey.  Even in spite of above mentioned “Don’t” I would strongly suggest using a turkey bag.

2)   DON’T make Mashed Potatoes ahead of time. Ladies – I envy ya’ll who do this and they turn out (hey – even the Pioneer Woman does it) – but my mashed potatoes were TERRIBLE!  And for a pregnant lady who was looking forward to mashed potatoes I was pretty disappointed.  Ugh.

1)   DO invite your “misfit” friends/neighbors/coworkers to share in the celebration of this holiday with you.

I call these people “misfits” as an endearing term…really. What a HUGE blessing it was to be able to host a “misfit Thanksgiving” of sorts for people in our lives who didn’t have plans.  To read a bit more about one of our guests experiences click here. Thanks Danielle for coming – so thankful to have a SMB reader and her family with us!

So that’s all I got folks!  Take it or leave it… Till next Thanksgiving!

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Steph is the Co-founder of Scottsdale Moms Blog and Part-time Conference & Events Director for Family Matters. She is mamma to Nora (July 2009) and wife of Alan.  She loves shopping for great deals, wearing funky jewery and spending loads of time with friends.  Steph gets a kick out of multitasking and loves nothing more than throwing a good party. You are always welcome to e-mail Steph at [email protected].


  1. Here’s what I love about this post: it’s family tradition in the making. Here’s what I know from reading this post about your first time posting: Nora will use Reynold’s bags and will make the Cooking Light Sweet Potato recipe for her family, because that’s what you will do for many years to come. By the time Nora is 14, you will have figured out the mashed potato recipe/technique that works and you’ll eventually teach it to Nora (and the babe on the way). I love that Nora will grow up feeling that Thanksgiving is a time to invite “misfits”, not shut the door tight to the outside world. Congratulations on all that you learned from your first time hosting!

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