How’s the spouse, as a cook? This would be a lot easier with two than with one.
Decide before anyone gets there whether you want anyone other than you and your spouse in the kitchen, helping to cook. If you don’t, be sure to have hors d’oeuvres, or something, outside the kitchen to keep guests from drifting into the kitchen.
The world won’t end if you use paper plates (I know this because we did it last year), and you’ll have less cleanup to do. If you do use paper plates, Chinette are good, and can be gotten from Costco. You should use real utensils, but they don’t have to be fancy silver. They can be your everyday stainless steel ones.
If someone offers to bring something, ask if there’s something they’d particularly like to bring. Or, if you know they make something that’s really good, have them bring that.
White Zinfandel goes well with turkey and traditional Thanksgiving sides. Really. You may want to offer some other wines as well, but if your family is like mine, there will be at least one person there who only drinks White Zin.
You can make bread stuffing in a food processor. Get some good quality white bread or challah from the grocery store (either sliced or unsliced will work), tear it into hunks, and let the food processor break the hunks down into crumbs. You don’t have to cut it into even cubes. The food processor can also be used to slice other things that will go into the stuffing.
Find out which dishes it “just isn’t Thanksgiving without” from the people who are coming. Dishes that aren’t on that list for anybody are prime candidates for cutting out.
This isn’t the time to get too experimental in your cooking. Most people, even if they’re very adventurous eaters at other times, just want the traditional Thanksgiving dishes on Thanksgiving.
Costco makes several kinds of good hors d’oeuvres that you can just heat up and serve.
If the stuffing is not cooked inside the bird, it can be done ahead of time and reheated in the oven. So can casseroles and roasted vegetables.
Never turn your back on a roux, once you’ve started cooking it, until you’ve put the liquid in and mixed it up. Rouxes don’t have a lot of stuff, so they have a low heat capacity. That means they can burn very quickly. Don’t ask the person who’s working on the roux to find something, or to do something else, until they’ve integrated the stock into it. (Mr. Neville can’t deal with not turning his attention away from the roux until you’ve put the liquid in, so I am the roux maker in our household)
If you use drippings from the turkey for the gravy, taste them first. If you cooked them with something like lemon, your turkey will taste good, but the drippings won’t be suitable for gravy. (Mr. Neville did this one year) If your drippings are not suitable for gravy, you can use regular chicken stock (boxed, canned, or from cubes or powder) instead. It won’t be as good, but it will be much better than no gravy at all.
Brined turkeys are more foolproof than unbrined, as DtC mentioned.
Fortunately, cookbooks have improved a lot in the past 50 years. You can find cookbooks with instructions for doing the most basic cooking tasks. Or you could look for directions online.
If you don’t have any cookbooks that have good Thanksgiving recipes, public libraries have cookbooks.