Thanksgiving party ideas for the hostess who doesn't want to spend the entire morning in the kitchen and who also loves beautiful decorations

The Schuplin Thanksgiving party is special. So, so special because we celebrate Thanksgiving and Leah’s birthday all in one, extravagant shindig. Did you catch that? I’m talking about the type of large and in charge that would send a normal person to the funny farm. It totally gives me a run for my party planner money. Aiyiyi!

Sleep? I’m not even sure what that word means at this point, but seeing at least a month of hard work come together for my loved ones is the most amazing feeling EVAH! Not to mention, it gives me a reason to share my grub secret weapon with you.

I was compensated for this post, but I throw this party every year, so the ideas are 100% MINE. Mine, mine, mine. 


Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Carve a reuseable pumpkin from the craft store so you can place a bowl of veggie dip in it

Many people want nothing to do with party planning. Me? Not so much. I thrive off of going from blueprint to execution. Throwing parties for the people I care about makes my heart SOAR.

For this Thanksgiving party, my guests were scheduled to arrive at 4:00, so my appetizers were prepped and ready to feed the masses as soon as their coats reached the closet… because everything was prepped the day before.

I might take a bajillion pictures of everything before the party begins, but I do NOT wake up at 5am to make food. Just, no. I need my beauty sleep. I wasn’t lying when I said I had a secret weapon that keeps my oven free and clear the day of the party! Keep reeeeading!

Thanksgiving party tip: Stalk the autumn clearance at your local craft stores because they move their items EARLY to prep for Christmas. I carved out the top of this faux pumpkin to the point of being able to set a bowl of vegetable dip in it. Simple. High Impact. Reusable for many years.

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Serving your guests appetizers before dinner


  • Vegetable dip and assorted vegetables
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Hot spinach dip with bagel chips and baguettes

I chose a hot spinach dip because everybody enjoys spinach dip, I was able to prep it the day before, and it required a mere 25 minutes in the oven before serving. The vegetables and cheese were sliced ahead of time, and the crackers were on the appetizer table waiting for the event to begin.

Thanksgiving party tip: Prep as much food as humanly possible and hit up Honeybaked Ham the day before so you are able to sneak in a shower before things get started. Or, in my case, a quick freshen up after oodles of pictures.

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Dollar Store gold charger, Dollar Store plates, fabric napkins, and silverware

This is where things can get expensive. We had over 20 people in our house. TWENTY! We have china. Heck, we even have multiple, mismatched, hand me down sets of china! What we do not own is 25 matching place settings. One day we will, though!

For now, we use plates from Dollar Tree. Yep, you heard it here folks… Dollar Tree! Do our guests care? Highly doubtful. And all my OCD cares about is whether or not they match. For this party they HAVE TO match.

Thanksgiving party tip: You will also find the gold chargers at Dollar Tree (lowest priced charger out there). Simply paint them a different color if gold doesn’t work for your decor. 

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- How to plan your recipes so you don't spend the entire morning in the kitchen

Let’s talk about the food, mmmkay?

As a kid, I remember my mom waking before the chickens stirred to ensure she had enough time to prep her meal. I did not inherit that gene, nor do I ever want to wake up before 8:00 am on the weekend. No thank you!

So, I do what works for me while providing a tasty menu.


Thanksgiving party ideas mulled cider, water, soda, and a cranberry cocktail make the perfect fall themed drink station


Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Honeybaked Ham saves you time on the food prep so you can focus on the decorations

Would you believe me if I told you I spent about 3 hours finishing up the food before people started showing up? I hope so because it’s true, and YOU can too! Picking up my turkey and ham from Honeybaked Ham seriously cuts down on my day of the party prep and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Spinach dip: 25 minutes
  • Mashed potatoes: 30 minutes
  • Stuffing: 50 minutes
  • Asparagus: 20 minutes
  • Green beans: 10 minutes
  • Ham & Turkey: 30 minutes

So much winning! Zero stress.

 Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Dessert table covered with a gold tablecloth

Keeping with my theme, the desserts were a breeze. My mom brought the pumpkin pie, and the cookies and apple salad were done the day before. I really hope you guys check out the entire menu because I figured out these secrets through trial and error… and SO MUCH STRESS. Unnecessary stress.

 Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Caramel apple cookies topped with pecans


This here was the point where I put myself in a food coma and unbuttoned my pants because everything was so dang good.

Shopping at HoneyBaked Ham for my Thanksgiving dinner party

The big Thanksgiving dinner party secret I keep mentioning is … HoneyBaked Ham! Seriously, I love our Flint, Michigan store. The staff was nice last year, just as friendly this time ’round, I was in and out in under 10 minutes, and my only cooking time investment was 30 minutes. I could not be happier with this shortcut!

Trust me. My mom is probably sick of listening me talk about how proud I am of my time management with regards to the food. You know that feeling of ‘Holy cow, did I really just get that out on time’? That’s what I’m talking about! Honeybaked Ham even has a variety of side dishes and desserts you can pick up when you pickup your meat.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, the meat is delicious! There were no leftovers to munch on later that evening. NONE! I kid you not, I had to order a pizza later that night because I was not planning on people smashing the entire spread. Ha!

From now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle. Check out this amazing limited time coupon for $8.00 off any Bone-in Ham and Turkey Breast or Boneless Ham and Turkey Breast from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (This offer is valid only at the following locations: Rolling Meadows, Orland Park, Villa Park, Morton Grove, Naperville, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Mesquite, Hurst, Lewisville, Houston, Austin, Spring, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, Indianapolis, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Roseville, Birmingham, Troy, West Bloomfield, Livonia, Flint, Dearborn Heights, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Canton Township, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg, Monroeville, San Antonio, Bellevue, and Lynnwood. For store addresses click here.) HoneyBaked Ham is giving away $500 in Gift Cards to some of your favorite places! You can enter below!

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