We moved into our new house a week before Thanksgiving, after closing 5 days late. I'm 6 months pregnant and had a bad cold and cough, which I spread to my husband who was just starting to feel awful Thanksgiving morning. We didn't have a sofa or seating in the living room because I'd sold it prior to moving, wanting to pick out new seating for the new house. Didn't have a range or dishwasher until the day before Thanksgiving, and it took my husband and BIL most of the day and 3 trips to Home Depot to install the range. Yet despite all this, we had a lovely Thanksgiving and I didn't lose my cool, or even feel overly stressed. (I had one close call the night before, but with a little time to myself I was able to get my head back on straight.)
It's long been a dream of mine to have a house with a large kitchen and formal dining room, and to have other women in the kitchen helping. I wanted to have all the family events at our house, and have it be a sort of entertainment hub. My husband knows of this dream, and when we were house shopping we picked a house that could support that. So months ago, when our offer was accepted on this house, his family wanted us to host Thanksgiving. I jumped right on that! Once we saw how close the house closing was going to be to Thanksgiving, we tried to back out of hosting, but his family just wasn't having it. They all wanted to help so that we could have Thanksgiving in the new house.
I whipped the house into some sort of shape as fast as I could, picked out a sofa and had it delivered, and did the Thanksgiving food shopping. Figured out when the ladies should come over to help cook and let them know a few days ahead of time. I didn't do any cooking prior to them coming over, just had the recipes out and ready to go.
It was all very smooth and laid back. At one point there were a good five people in the kitchen making various things, everyone had room and was chatting amicably. I gave my husband a big smile, like "this is what I wanted!" He told them a few times that this was my dream, and how much I love hosting. All the food turned out perfectly despite using an untested oven and most everything being out of my control.
Afterwards I had a bit of guilt, thinking that I should have done more. I really let everyone else do the bulk of the work - I wasn't even tired! But the morning after, while at breakfast with his family, everyone wanted to do the same and more at Christmas dinner. They kept throwing out different ways they could help more next time.
So don't be afraid to ask for or accept help, and to share your dreams. You can be a Superwoman Hostess Extraordinaire, or you can have fun with a group of women and have it done in half the time. People want to help, you just have to create a environment where it's welcome. It also helps to marry a man with an awesome, normal family. :)