So you’ve agreed to host Thanksgiving. Your first instinct might be to panic, but don’t worry. We got you covered.

Hosting for the holidays may feel overwhelming, but it’s also an absolute blast when the right amount of planning and preparation is in place. In this article, we’ll lay out the steps to take when preparing to host your first Thanksgiving in a new apartment.

Step #1: Assess the Guest List and Inventory

Pull out a piece of paper and pen and write down the following:

  1. How many guests are most likely to attend?
  2. Do any guests have dietary restrictions? (Vegan, vegetarian, nut-free, gluten-free, etc.)
  3. Do you want to cook or have the meal catered?
  4. What are some of the must-have dishes?
  5. Where will you serve the food? (Buffet style, sit-down meal at a dining table, sitting casually around the living room, etc.)
  6. Are there any cooking essentials you need? (Meat thermometer, food processor, extra silverware, cups, plates, etc.)

Step #2: Send Out Invites

Try to send out invites as early as possible and include an RSVP date so you can get an accurate headcount. Knowing how many people will attend helps tremendously when assessing the inventory list above. Invites don’t have to be anything fancy, a simple text message with the details will more than suffice.

If you want to send out something a bit more fun, check out the digital invitation options on Paperless Post or Evite.

When determining who to invite, it can be challenging to narrow down the list. But remember, you’re hosting in your apartment, which means guests will get very crammed very fast. Invite those closest to you for Thanksgiving dinner, and consider hosting an after-dinner get-together with a larger group to avoid hurt feelings. You can make a plan to meet up at a bar, parade, or tree-lighting event in the area.

This is also a great way to get everyone out of your apartment, especially those who like to linger! When you’ve had enough of the festivities, you can return home to your peaceful apartment.

If that sounds a bit too ambitious, you can also invite people over in stages – perhaps older relatives arrive in the early afternoon and then your friends arrive later in the evening for drinks and dessert after the relatives head out.

 Step #3: Lay Out the Menu

After getting the RSVPs and an accurate headcount, you’re ready to lay out the menu. But before we dive into this section, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting the food catered! Not only will it save you hours of prep, but it will also alleviate the stress of overcooking the turkey or under-salting the mashed potatoes. Hosting is stressful enough!

If you do decide to cook, only make dishes you have made in the past. This is not the time to try that cool new recipe you saw on TikTok. Stick with the tried and true dishes you are comfortable preparing. Don’t hesitate to ask guests to bring dishes, especially if you know they make a stellar green bean casserole or sweet potato pie. This is also helpful for those with dietary restrictions – let them make vegan mac n’ cheese or a nut-free dessert so that they can feel comfortable and safe.A group of people sitting around a table with a sign that says Happy Thanksgiving.

Step #4: Take Inventory of Your Cooking Essentials and Start Cooking Early

After determining the menu, assess your kitchen inventory to ensure you have everything you need to cook. Do you need a meat thermometer? A food processor? Do you have enough plates, cups, and silverware for guests?

If you have everything you need, begin prepping several days before Thanksgiving. Gravy bases can be made and frozen the weekend before and casserole and vegetable dishes can be refrigerated for two days ahead of time.

Step #5: Determine Where Your Guests Will Sit

There are a few options you can go with here. If you have the space, you can rent or purchase a long folding table and chairs and have a sit-down meal. If you have an outdoor patio and the weather doesn’t get too cold in your area, you can host outdoors. If your building has an amenity space with a kitchen available, request to rent that space for the day.

In terms of seating arrangements, you can allow guests to sit anywhere, or you can make formal place settings on Canva. You can do buffet style or pass dishes around the table. You can have guests casually sit around the living room while the game is on or you can create a more formal atmosphere.

Whatever your style, try to factor in space and consider rearranging some furniture to ensure there will be plenty of seating options.

Step #6: Prepare the Day-Of Logistics (Coat Storage, Extra Toilet Paper, etc.)

The day is finally here! You made it, and you’re probably going to wake up at the crack of dawn to get everything in place.

Remove any glassware or other items that could get knocked over in your living room, especially if young kids will be running around. If you’re going to have guests lay coats on your bed, cover your pillow and duvet with a sheet to provide protection from any rain or snow residue. Have a designated area for shoes, purses, and gifts guests may bring.

Stock up your bathroom with extra toilet paper, hand soap, and room spray, and consider setting out disposable hand towels. If you do decide to do a sit-down meal, don’t go too crazy with the table settings. A small bouquet or two of fresh flowers is perfect and won’t get in the way when guests pass dishes around.

The kitchen may have a million dishes going but try to make it as clean as possible before guests arrive. Clear off counters, empty dishwashers, and line your trash can with an extra bag so that it’s ready to go when the trash becomes full.

Things to Consider

If you’re in the market for a new home, Draper and Kramer’s luxurious properties offer the ideal space to host for the holidays. Not only are the apartments spacious for hosting, but our buildings also offer tons of amenity areas available to rent for large gatherings.

Many of our residences also include guest suites that residents can book for visitors. Similar to hotel rooms, our guest suites offer the ideal way to host family and friends over the holidays (without them invading your space!). Browse our properties here.

A group of people sitting around a table with pies and desserts.

Hosting for the holidays may feel overwhelming, but it’s also an absolute blast when the right amount of planning and preparation is in place. In this article, we’ll lay out the steps to take when preparing to host your first Thanksgiving in a new apartment.

Keep Tabs on Us

Industry updates, insights, and Draper and Kramer news—all delivered straight to your inbox.