It can also be a great time of stress and competition! A simple meal all of a sudden turns into a raging bucket of angst.
The key to a stress-free and enjoyable dining experience, as any chef will tell you, is preparation.
Just as in any reputable dining establishment, having all the equipment in good working order and the food freshly prepared results in a seamless meal.
As we start into the season - look first to your tools, equipment, and table service. When you plan the menu, will you have all the right pots and pans to prepare the meal? Are your knives sharp? Do you have multiple cutting boards and ample bowls to allow others to help with the prep work?
Will you be doing all the cooking and prep work in one location? What tools do you not have that you will need? Is your oven capable of handling the physical size of cooking vessel you will need to use? Remember that a 20 pound bird will need to be covered, and you are now looking at a rather large roasting pan. If you opt for 2 smaller birds, you may need to borrow a second pan (I did).