Hosting a Thanksgiving celebration doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds! With the right amount of planning and preparation, you can host a great gathering to remember and still have sanity when it’s all over. Follow our top TIPS FOR HOSTING A THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION and you’ll stress less, so you can enjoy more!

1. Make a list. Or ten. Knowing what you have to do and when it needs to be done will help you not only keep on schedule, but delegate tasks to people who offer to help.

2. Keep Dishes simple and traditional. Big gatherings with family and friends is NOT the time to experiment in the kitchen. Most guests come with a particular palate for Thanksgiving dinner. As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder,” and stick to what you know.

3. Ask guests to bring a side, appetizer, dessert, or drinks. Don't bare the burden of buying, preparing, making, and serving everything! Almost all guest will very gladly bring a dish or two to share! Trust us -- they're THANKFUL that you've opened up your home...so they didn't have to!

4. Make what you can ahead of time. Casseroles, vegetables and desserts can be prepared and cooked a couple of days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Don’t save it all the big day when you can knock some of those dishes off of your to-do list ahead of time.

5. Consider buying v. making! Not all dishes need to be made from scratch! It’s OK to purchase items from a bakery or deli if it will save you time and sanity. If you struggle with making gravy or stuffing, go ahead and purchase it premade and save yourself from the stress. Chances are, if you pretty it in a pretty serving dish, your guests won’t even know! And we won’t tell!

6. Purchase disposable storage containers, so that you can send leftovers home with your guests. They'll appreciate it and then you won't be stuck storing/eating leftovers for weeks!

7. Set the table the day before. You know you’ll be busy cooking the meal on the big day, so go ahead and set the dinner table the evening before. It’ll be one less thing to do on Thanksgiving Day!

8. Enjoy the day that it is a blessing to be able to prepare and share a meal with loved ones. Your guests are there to spend time with you and not be entertained. Don’t stay confined to the kitchen and miss out on all the fun! Relax, enjoy the day and be grateful for the time you have together.

From all of us at Ankeny Real Estate Service, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving full of family, friends, AND FOOD!