Hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting experience, but if you plan ahead and use About.com's tips, you'll be hosting like an old pro by the time it's turkey day!
Your first step is come up with a written plan that details all the tasks that have to be completed for your dinner, from a guest list to recipes and shopping lists. Make sure you have a timeline for making all those tasks happen. Make sure you give your guests a date they must respond by so you can plan ahead to be sure you have enough food, seating, and dinnerware for them. If you don't have enough, you can asks your guests to BYOC (bring your own chair!)
Go ahead and buy items that won't go bad by Thanksgiving weeks in advance of the big day, and leave them in their bags in a place they won't be in your way. When it's time to cook, you can just grab the bags and get to work, rather than having to poke around in your pantry to find your ingredients.
When it comes to what to cook, choose simple dishes and don't cook something for the first time. Also, don't serve too many different items, as coordinating the timing of everything is a complex skill that isn't learned in a day. Make sure you practice each dish at least once in advance of the holiday so you are sure you can get it done successfully. Also, go traditional with your menu, it's what your guests want and expect.
Don't be afraid to give your guests tasks like pouring drinks or circulating the appetizers, they'll be happy to help since you are hosting the main event. Also, consider making it a potluck where you take on the turkey, dressing and gravy, and assign your guests the other courses.
Set your table in advance of the big day so you aren't scrounging for your formal china the day of. Also, consider adding a few dishes that don't have to be cooked to the menu, or pick up tasty pies from your local bakery rather than slaving over them yourself. Also, consider how much time the turkey will take in the oven, and plan accordingly. Your other dishes could be made on the stove or in the microwave.