Tips for First-Time Thanksgiving Hosts

Being away from home over the holidays is something many college students experience. Hosting your first Thanksgiving is a rite of passage, but many can find it a stressful – and expensive – experience. Maybe you’re staying in Tucson over the weekend and want to recreate home comforts with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, or perhaps you’re hosting a Friendsgiving to celebrate before you go home. Either way, here are our tips on how to enjoy hosting and how to stay calm when cooking.

Give yourself plenty of time

Never underestimate the power of preparation. Without adequate pre-party prep, things can become rushed, frantic, and suddenly stressful. Cooking a Thanksgiving meal takes longer than you think. If you’re living in student accommodation, the chances are you only have one oven, so consider creating a cooking schedule to make sure you can perfect each dish and not end up with only a stressful 3 hours to cook a turkey.

Keep it simple (but traditional)

Some people like to get creative with their dishes, but Thanksgiving dinner is no time for experimentation. All you need is some traditional home cooking to keep people satisfied. Instead of attempting to re-create that amazing dish you saw on Instagram, stick to what you know and keep it simple.

Ask for help

Thanksgiving is a potluck affair. Most guests will offer to bring something, and don’t be afraid to take them up on their offer. For example, if someone is an avid baker, ask them to help and bring a pie for dessert. Others could bring appetizers, or even extra dishes and utensils that you may need. Not only will this break up the work load for you, but people will find it fun to make and contribute something to the table – it is in the spirit of sharing after all!

Prepare for leftovers

Leftovers are always a granted with any big meal. But often a turkey stuffing sandwich is almost as delicious as the main meal. If you won’t be able to finish all of the leftovers yourself, buy some takeaway storage containers and send your guests home with some goodies. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, but you also won’t be stuck with a fridge full of food.


While the prospect of cooking and entertaining may seem daunting, just remember to enjoy yourself and relax. People are there to enjoy your company, they’re not expecting you to entertain them. Even if your plans fail and your meal doesn’t turn out perfect, just remember that everybody is on your side and willing to help.

Here at Stargate West, all of our apartments come with great kitchens that will make your Thanksgiving cooking experience that little bit easier. Complete with luxury resort-style amenities and large spacious bedrooms, click here to take a look at our floor plans.