Remember those carefree days of your youth when the Thanksgiving dinner was lovingly prepared by your mom? All you had to do was show up and maybe set the table and take out the trash. Still, it was a hassle-free holiday. The older we get, the greater the chances of the hosting duties shifting to our own homes. Now the fun begins as everything is under your control. Will your next Thanksgiving be a hit or epic fail or somewhere in between? You can help make the day work by avoiding these Thanksgiving mistakes:

Mistake #1: Not Having A Plan

“What time is dinner?” That is the most asked question on Thanksgiving. As the host, it is up to you to set the goal post. Once you lock in that time, everything needs to back up from there. Most importantly is timing the cooking of the turkey. Not only do you have to factor in the recommended hours by pound, but also a little overage time. Plus, there is also the equally important resting period. That bird can’t fly out of the oven and go right to the table. It needs to relax in its juices.

Mistake #2: Not Prepping the Day Before

You can wake up at the “crack of silly” on Thanksgiving morning and start getting everything ready. By the time you call out, “Dinner is served,” you’ll be exhausted. It’s much better to do as much prepping the day before as possible. That includes setting the table and making side dishes that will just need to be warmed up. The more you can do on Wednesday, the better your Thursday will be.

Mistake #3: Not Having Apps

No, we’re not talking about Smartphone apps. Instead, we’re talking about appetizers. Seasoned Thanksgiving diners know the importance of not eating a lot before the big meal. That might mean skipping lunch so they’re going to show up hungry. A few light appetizers will whet the appetites and keep everyone happy.

Mistake #4: Not Taking Help When Offered

Yes, it’s your party and you might be trying to impress the in-laws this year or a new significant other. That doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. A good guest will always ask, “What can I bring?” Have an answer for them. This is where you need to divide and conquer. Having someone pick up a bag of ice or wine is not a big deal. In fact, anyone who shows up without a bottle of wine should be kicked to the curb!

As for help in the kitchen, if you have the need for some last minute slicing and dicing for a salad, then bust out the aprons.

Mistake #5: Not Having Fun

There is only one Martha Stewart. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. Some things might get burnt. Some things might be completely forgotten. You might even cook the turkey with plastic bag of giblets still inside. What you shouldn’t do is take any of this seriously. In fact, the most memorable Thanksgiving dinners are the ones where something does go wrong. Embrace the mistakes and roll with them. After all, think about all that great wine you have!

What were your biggest Thanksgiving Day mistakes?