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27 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips For The Laziest Host Of All Time

Ain't nobody got time to prep!

1. Since you saved everything until the last minute, keep your to-do lists and recipes handy.

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Write everything out in lists and tape the lists in plain sight so you can keep track of what needs to be done before your guests arrive, which dishes need to be cooked when, and how many shots you've had to calm yourself down because everyone is literally almost at your house and you have done nothing.

2. Make a roasting rack out of tin foil.

André Baranowski /
André Baranowski /

A roasting rack is an irreplaceable tool in the kitchen, but if you don't cook often, or don't have one that is the right size to accommodate your Thanksgiving turkey, use this DIY foil trick from Saveur.

3. Make placemats with paper bags.

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Cut open a paper bag length-wise and unfold for a disposable placemat. Make the small effort seem more meaningful by prompting your guests to jot down what they are thankful for.

4. Microwave potatoes instead of boiling them.

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This saves time and oven space, and let's be real, there doesn't need to be much more on the menu if you make a good bowl of mashed potatoes. Leave the skin on for chunky potatoes, peel 'em for smooth. Click for the detailed instructions.

5. If you're a creature of habit and you're going to boil the potatoes anyway, boil them whole.

Once boiled, soak the potatoes in ice water and the skin will slip right off.

6. Don't stress over appetizers.

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Most grocery stores are stocked to the brim with cheeses, olives, fresh bread, and already sliced cold cuts that you can lay out on a cutting board (wooden if you want to look all rustic and fancy). Your guests will be so excited to eat, they won't care that you didn't make deviled eggs shaped like pumpkins.

7. Buy your pies at the local bakery, or ask guests to bring desserts as entry tickets.

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If you're trying to pull off Thanksgiving solo, your local bakery probably has a delicious pumpkin pie recipe, but if you're not above it, asking guests to bring a dessert is definitely not a crime.

8. Make everything you can without even turning your oven on.


The idea of having to fit everything you want to make into the oven, as well as trying to figure out temperatures and timings, can be daunting. Here are 19 recipes for Thanksgiving that do not require an oven. Yes!

9. Dress-up paper towels.

Emily Farris / BuzzFeed

If you don't have fancy napkins, tuck your silverware settings into a folded paper towel (they're more durable for the Thanksgiving feast, anyway) and add a piece of twine or string to tie it all together. Slip in a hole-punched place card (piece of trimmed computer paper) if you're feeling ambitious.

10. Brine your turkey in a cooler so it doesn't take up all of your fridge space.


Too lazy to move around everything in your fridge? Don't! Brine your turkey in a cooler so that it's in a separate space. Here's a simple brining recipe from A Beautiful Mess.

11. Then slow-cook your turkey overnight.

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Lower the oven's heat right down while you sleep and in the morning your turkey will be ready to go! Click through for detailed instructions.

12. Use leaves as a place card.


Take a permanent marker to leaves straight from the front sidewalk and force your guests to sit in a certain spot with the leafy finished products.

13. Or dinner rolls wrapped in kraft paper.

Emily Farris / BuzzFeed

Tie the paper around the roll with some string, ribbon, or twine, and scribble your guests' names right on that little guy.

14. Throw all of your vegetables and potatoes into the oven with your turkey.

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Your oven is going to be on all day anyway (or all night if you follow our last tip), so why not chop up a bunch of veggies and potatoes to make a roast side dish. Toss everything in together with some herbs (rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil is a delicious and quick recipe) and let them cook alongside your turkey.

15. Fancy-up some boxed stuffing.

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Even though stuffing is the hero of Thanksgiving, if you add some cooked onion and seasoning to the boxed stuff, no one will know*.

*We can't actually guarantee that, though. Sorry.

16. Buy your gravy from the grocery store.


Even though it's pretty easy to make, it's just another thing to do. Grocery store gravy will serve your turkey just fine in most cases, and you can add your own seasoning as needed, plus turkey drippings from your bird.

17. Bake the pre-sliced biscuits.

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Unless there's a ridiculous cook in the family, the pre-sliced refrigerator section biscuits are da bomb dot com. If you do have a ridiculous cook in the family who happens to make amazing biscuits, tell them they're not allowed to dinner unless they make them. Sorted.

18. Use plastic cups and keep a marker around for labeling.


Save room in the dishwasher by using plastic cups, and have everyone write their name on their cup so there aren't 4,000 half-full cups lying around the house when the guests leave.

19. Make big batches of cocktails to get your family drunk enough that they don't realize how last-minute your prep was.


If you're lazy, wine and beer works, but your drunk family will thank you profusely for spending some time on cocktails. Here are 21 recipe ideas.

20. Or stock a bar cart so that everyone can make their own drinks.

Being a host doesn't mean you need to be a bartender! Make a DIY drinks station with recipes up so that your guests can eat, drink, and be independent! Check out some bar cart ideas for different budgets here.

21. OR, instead of guests bringing desserts, ask them to bring a bottle of their favorite alcohol.

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Again, lazy = not above mooching!

22. Use kraft paper as a tablecloth.

Emily Farris / BuzzFeed

Buy a roll of kraft paper, lay it out on the table before setting, and leave crayons and pencils around for your guests of all ages to doodle with. This lazy-host hack can actually turn into some great art!

23. Make a simple centerpiece that looks nice, but takes no time. / Via

Cranberries, ooooooh! Candlelight, aaahhhhhh! You're a decor genius.

24. Set the table with mis-matched flatware.

Emily Farris / BuzzFeed

As long as you pair everything up with matching cups or napkins, it'll look intentional rather than lazy. Win!

25. Set up a leftover station.

Gather up all of the tupperware you own and print out cute printable labels to make it look like you have your shit totally together. Then write yourself a note to replace all of your tupperware (aka save all of your Chinese take-out containers for the next few months).

26. Empty your dishwasher before guests come so that everything can be thrown straight in after the meal.

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Throw everything into the dishwasher as the day goes on, and as soon as your guests leave you can pour yourself a nice glass of whatever booze your aunt brought, put on your PJs, and spend the night with Netflix. Your dishes will be clean by morning and your kitchen will ~hopefully~ not look like a bomb hit it.

27. Lay everything out buffet style. Ain't nobody got time to serve.

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Let your guests go nuts and make their own plates. You don't have to plate up anything, and you don't have to worry about portions.

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