The Next Web / r_gnuce / PlayfulLibrarian, Flickr

Tired of all the Thanksgiving hype, Thanksgiving decorations and extravagance? Or is this your first time hosting a Thanksgiving dinner? Whether you feel the need to go back to basics with the holiday or you want to learn all the facts, don't feel like you're left in the dark.

Everything you need to know about Thanksgiving is right here, from turkey preparation to facts about the food your eating.


How to Choose a Turkey



Picking the right turkey is important and simple, but not something we learn in school. The poultry experts over at Butterball say that if you’ve got big eaters and you want some leftovers, you need to buy two pounds of turkey for every adult diner and one pound of turkey for every kid.


Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

How to Prepare a Turkey



Preparing the turkey is the next important part of the day. It’s one thing to get 19 pounds of bird home, but frozen turkey isn’t much fun at dinner. You need to plan 6 hours of refrigerator thawing for every pound of turkey, or two hours of water thawing for every five pounds of turkey. For baking or roasting, you should plan two to two and three-quarter hours for every five pounds of turkey, stuffed, in a 350 degree oven.


toholio, Flickr

Proper Cooking Gear



Finding out you don’t have the right tools needed to prepare your Thanksgiving meal will really put a damper on the day. For example, make sure you have a roasting pan, a meat thermometer and plenty of place settings, table room and chairs. You should also read through your recipes before the big day to be sure you have all the tools and ingredients on hand.


ercwttmn, Flickr

Pre-Cooking Planning



If you’re going to be cooking a lot of dishes, you need to carefully plan oven space, temperatures and cooking times. With a big meal, this can be quite a dance and you’ll save yourself a ton of stress if you have a plan before the timer starts dinging.


PlayfulLibrarian, Flickr

Check with Your Guests



To make sure everyone gets to enjoy the day, check with your guests to find out about any food allergies or special diet needs. A great meal is a meal during which all the guests have something to enjoy.


The Next Web, Flickr

What to Expect



Every one of your turkey lovers is going to go right to sleep after you eat, unless you can talk them into washing the dishes. We can tell you this because your turkey will have a magic little amino acid called Tryptophan. All poultry has it. Tryptophan increases serotonin levels in the brain and a higher serotonin level can make you sleepy. Just make sure you have plenty of pillows around for everyone.


andrewr, Flickr

Food Facts



It’s likely that 46 million turkeys will be consumed on Thanksgiving Day, with an average weight of 16-17 pounds per bird. 750 million pounds of cranberries, 2.4 billion pounds of sweet potatoes and 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkin will be raised in the US in 2011, although we don’t recommend eating all of that in one sitting.


Dinner Series / r_gnuce / NatalieMaynor, Flickr