The 3 Last-Minute Things I Always Do Just Before Thanksgiving Guests Arrive

published Nov 16, 2022
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Hosting Thanksgiving dinner comes with a lot of responsibilities. There’s a lot that goes into making guests feel welcome, and I always spend a good chunk of time the week leading up to Thanksgiving preparing my home. I want my guests to feel like I put time and energy into creating a space where they can truly enjoy themselves. 

But when it’s almost game time, I always make sure to check these three tasks off my to-do list. They may seem simple, but these things make me feel like a better host and, hopefully, make my guests feel more welcome. 

1. Set up the dining table.

We recently inherited an antique dining table from a family member. It’s the first time I’ve owned a table that comes with a leaf to extend the table by four seats. While I don’t usually set the table before guests arrive — I like to enlist help for that, because I always helped my family members set the table on Thanksgiving and Christmas — I do make sure the table is set up how I want to use it for a meal I’m hosting. My husband and I add the leaf and also bring up our extra chairs before anyone enters the door. That way, if guests want to sit down to enjoy hors d’oeuvres or play a board game before the meal, there’s already enough space for everyone. 

2. Declutter the living spaces.

I wouldn’t call my home open-concept, but the main living space is quite open (when you’re sitting in the living room, you can see into the dining room, and when you’re at the dining room table, you’re looking directly into the kitchen). For that reason, I’m extra sensitive about clutter in these spaces. I can’t just toss odds and ends into a room and close the door. Before guests arrive, I always declutter all three spaces on the main floor. I want my counters to be clear for food prep, and the living and dining rooms to feel warm and welcoming for guests to hang out. While I’m at it, I fold my throw blankets and rearrange couch pillows. It’s a small chore, but it makes a huge difference in how the living space feels for guests! 

3. Vacuum the living spaces.

The biggest game-changer in my cleaning routine this year? A Dyson V15 Detect. I usually vacuum every other day or so, but it’s amazing how quickly my floors accumulate crumbs, dust, and other unrecognizable debris. Before hosting anyone at my house, I always vacuum my dining room and living room area rugs, plus the surrounding wood floors. If the floors look extra dirty, I might mop afterward, but I find even a five-minute vacuum session makes the space looks better — and, just as importantly, helps me feel calm and relaxed before I welcome anyone into my home.