I did my first Thanksgiving dinner last year for small group (7-8) and I kept it very simple. It's better to do a few things and do them well. My DH and I made turkey, stuffing, a veggie of some kind and cherry cobbler. We then emailed guests and said they were welcome to bring any of their Thanksgiving favorites that were not on that list. We got a pumpkin pie, homemade bread, potatoes and squash. It was perfect.
I agree a timeline is very helpful, and a sense of humor never hurts. Most people are there for the company and a decent plate of turkey--it doesn't have to be perfect to be a great party.
For you to be here now, trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It's an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once.
--Bill Bryson, "A Short History of Nearly Everything"