Whether this is your first or your fiftieth time hosting Thanksgiving, everyone could use a little help when cooking a large meal for friends and family. Before you plan the menu or hit the grocery store, check out these tips for creating the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

Research recipes. If you don’t have an old family recipe for each dish, you’ll need to do a little research before deciding what to make. Use your favorite cookbook or start searching on Pinterest for simple, tasty recipes that you feel comfortable cooking for a group.
-Plan the menu. Rather than simply selecting dishes for the meal, try writing out the menu so that you can see exactly what you’re making. That way, you can see if you’re lacking a certain something — or if you have too many sides and not enough desserts.
-Ask your guests to bring a dish. If you’re worried about the work involved (or the cost), you can always ask that each guest brings a dish. Your guests likely won’t mind contributing a dish, especially if you assign them something so they know just what to make.
-Figure out the seating ahead of time. To make sure you’re not stressed out on Thanksgiving day, work out where your guests will sit a few days ahead of time. If you need to borrow a few extra chairs, this will give you plenty of time to get it worked out.
-Set the mood. On the day of Thanksgiving, create a relaxed, welcoming mood for your guests to enjoy. Put together an upbeat playlist of songs, light a few seasonal candles and make sure the temperature is comfortable.

If you’re not hosting, but rather attending a friend or family member’s dinner, you might wonder what to bring along. Here are a few ideas for great host or hostess gifts.

A bottle of wine. You can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of wine — and the rest of the guests will likely appreciate it, too.
-A candle. Everyone loves candles, especially during the chilly season around Thanksgiving.
A dessert. You can never have too many desserts, especially on a holiday that revolves around eating!