Whether you’re a born-and-bred a big city or you’ve just recently moved to one of the five boroughs, you probably already know that there really is nothing at all in the world like the holidays in concrete jungle. As city dwellers, we’re used to living big in small places, and that means we know a thing or two about entertaining a big crowd in a tiny apartment or a giant house. Whether you’re living in a spacious loft or you have just barely enough space to fit the family, here are a few fun tips to help you host the perfect big city Thanksgiving dinner for the people you love most without losing your mind.
Send Out Invites and Find Out Who’s Coming
First of all, the biggest key to a successful Thanksgiving in a big city is a good plan. Before you do anything else, figure out who’s coming. Invite everyone early, so they know where the best Thanksgiving feast will be. Don’t be shy about getting RSVPs and finding out who’s bringing a plus-one. It’s always fun to meet your friends’ and family members’ new significant others, but it’s a lot less fun when you don’t have enough chairs or plates to go around. So get your head count right!
Do You Have the Dishware? Where’s Everyone Sitting?
After you find out how many guests you’ll have, it’s time to figure out how to make the logistics work. Open up your kitchen cabinets and drawers and take inventory of your dishes, glasses, mugs, and silverware. Do you have enough for everyone? If not or if you don’t have enough matching sets, you can decide whether to buy new ones, go with paper plates and plastic cups, or rent some china and silverware for the day.
If you’re hosting a fancy dinner, you’ll probably want to go with the first or last options. Solo cups aren’t really black-tie (or even a white-tie) appropriate, but they do make clean-up and dishes easier, so you’ll want to think really hard about how classy you want to be. Maybe it’s time for a boho Thanksgiving with friends? (We’re only half-kidding.)
Create a Plan of Attack for Your Groceries
Next, if you don’t have a giant Martha Stewart-sized kitchen, you probably aren’t going to be able to buy and store all of the ingredients and groceries for your dinner in the days before everyone arrives. So make a list of everything you want to eat on Turkey Day, and then start figuring out which ingredients you’ll buy a week before, a couple of days before, and even the morning of the feast.
And if you’re looking at your kitchen and thinking, “This is just not going to happen,” don’t force it. In fact, don’t worry about it at all. Instead, just start calling your guests and asking them to bring all the dishes that make up a great Thanksgiving dinner. The more specific you are in your requests, the better this will go. Don’t just send out an email with a list of what you want people to bring. That’s a great way to end up with five giant bowls of sweet potato soufflé and no stuffing or pumpkin pie. So be specific with what you want them to bring.
Then you’ll just take care of the turkey, and the whole meal will come together as a stress-free and ultra-delicious spread. And, if you’re not incredibly gifted in the kitchen or your oven isn’t big enough for a bird to feed everyone, there’s no shame in ordering a turkey to be cooked and delivered on Thanksgiving morning.
Prepare for the Big Event
Finally, don’t forget the last-minute preparations. We recommend setting up the table and chairs the day before so that it’s already done and you can take care of final details and start enjoying time with your guests right away. Remember, if you have a big group coming over, to have plenty of napkins and towels, and don’t forget to buy extra toilet paper.
Above all else, as you get ready for your big city Thanksgiving dinner, remember that you really can’t over-plan, but you can definitely under-plan. Trying to wing it when you have a huge crew of guests on their way is a great way to set the kitchen on fire and end up eating Chinese food while the fire department takes care of your apartment. Again, we’re (half) kidding, but, really, the more you plan ahead, the more fun the whole dinner will be for you and your guests. Get the details in order early, and you’ll have a great day with your loved ones.