Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Don’t let the stress get to you! (Easier said than done, right??) Our friends at Be Inspired PR reached out to their network of top event planners and entertaining industry professionals to gather advice for a flawless feast. Read on for suggestions — from what to serve to how you can connect with that cousin you haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving:

Strike Up Some Conversation
“Thanksgiving gatherings can either be a beautiful time for families who get along and get to love each other, or awkward family functions for those who are forced to be together, so any conversation starter for both types of parties can spark a little fun! Add some witty décor to the table with a letter board cake topper that says “feast mode,” funny cocktail pun napkins that say things like “that’s how I roll” with a gold foil graphic of a crescent roll, or a banner that says “give thanks and eat pie.” It makes it easier to strike up a conversation between people who haven’t seen each other in years, or between siblings who share the same kind of humor.” -Tina Marchand, Owner, Ellie and Piper Party Boutique

Think Outside The Box
“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to the meal. While some dishes might be a shoe-in like turkey and stuffing, get creative when it comes to this year’s side dishes. Cook and/or bring dishes that are some family favorites from all year round!” -Duane Greenleaf, Owner at Colette’s Catering

Divide The Work
“Consider a potluck Thanksgiving to divide the work and make it less stressful on you as a hostess! Stick to what you like to cook and what you know you can bring to the table. Have some tried and true recipes in your pocket for the Thanksgiving dinner, something you can master and make year after year as your signature dish. Have the gang get together and each bring a dish to supplement! They will enjoy participating in the feast, and it will take some weight off your shoulders. A win win!” -Tina Marchand, Owner, Ellie and Piper Party Boutique

Make Sure There’s Something For Everyone
“It’s important to be conscious of any guests that might have dietary restrictions. While you don’t have to go out of your way to alter all of your family recipes to make them gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, etc., try to make sure there’s at least one dish that everyone can enjoy. As a good rule of thumb, provide a main dish and dessert that’s both vegetarian/vegan to ensure that all tummies are full and happy!” -Euri Wong, Lead Designer at Bloominous

Stay Focused On Gratitude
“While it’s no secret that the holidays can be a stressful time, it’s important to stay focused on the things that really matter. Approach the day with thankfulness and gratitude. Thanksgiving is a great time to make some beautiful memories together with your friends and family!” -Duane Greenleaf, Owner at Colette’s Catering