by Jennifer Dulski
As with many other gatherings and celebrations, there are two strategies that can help you pull off a great Thanksgiving: A little planning, and keeping it simple. With that in mind, here are a few tips from Center’d and Real Simple who put together a Thanksgiving planning center  to help people pull off a successful celebration.
Attending & Hosting a Potluck
The reality of traveling to a holiday potluck? You can't always take what you want. Those cider-glazed carrots that you're famous for may taste terrific when made just before serving, but chances are the dish will turn lackluster if you try to make it endure 45 minutes of interstate traffic. Make sure to choose sturdy side dishes  that can be made ahead of time and served as-is or with very little finishing work when you arrive at your destination.
If you’ve ever hosted a potluck before, then you know coordinating who brings what can feel like you’re trying to conduct a symphony. This year, try using some new online tools to coordinate dishes so you don’t end up with multiple veggie-jello platters (seriously, we heard that people actually make veggie jello). Sites like Center’d allow you to create an event invite that includes a sign-up sheet to help keep things straight, and if you want to dictate who brings what you can even assign them specific dishes.
Spruce Things Up
A simple yet beautiful table centerpiece is a great way to add some holiday warmth to your home, and you can pick up the elements for one while doing the rest of your grocery shopping. Consider this easy arrangement: Mix 6 pomegranates and 2 dozen Italian plums (or figs) together in a stylish white bowl, and you have a striking table decoration in under a minute.
Keep it Simple & Plan Ahead
Plotting out what you want to accomplish in advance will save you work and stress on Thanksgiving itself. First, determine how big a turkey you need (try using this turkey calculator ), and call your favorite local market two weeks in advance to reserve one.
You’ll want to prepare anything that is being served chilled a couple days before hand and refrigerate it. It’s also a good idea to prep things like stuffing and side dishes the previous day, as well as things like onions, celery, herbs and other ingredients that need to be chopped.
You can view more tips, tricks and ready-made Thanksgiving plans on Center’d .