How to Throw a Thanksgiving Day Feast for Family and Friends
Throw an epic Thanksgiving Day feast this year that everyone will remember—for all the right reasons. Let’s face it. Thanksgiving Day meals are a gargantuan affair, thanks to all the traditional dishes expected to make it to the table. And who wants to attend a Thanksgiving Day dinner that turns into a snooze fest? This year, follow a bit of planning so you aren’t spending all of your time slaving away over a hot stove. You’ll be able to join your guests in all of the exciting activities you’ve planned as they enjoy the beauty of your Thanksgiving Day-themed décor. Read the following tips on how to make your Thanksgiving Day feast an event your family and friends will recall fondly for years to come.
Planning the Menu
When planning the menu, remember that certain items must be included to meet the traditional expectations of guests, such as Mom’s homemade cornbread stuffing, for instance. However, you may be interested in starting new traditions, particularly if dietary needs have changed. For example, you may need a tofu-based turkey for the vegetarians in attendance, or low-sodium gravy for the guests with health concerns. Decide your Thanksgiving Day menu two months ahead of time and stick with it. Make a list of the meals you are going to prepare, the ingredients you need to purchase, the amount you need of each, according to the number of guests in attendance, as well as the items you are going to purchase premade, such as a gourmet pecan pie or canned cranberry sauce. Purchase most of the items no later than a month before Thanksgiving. Note that you’ll need to purchase fresh meats, vegetables, and freshly baked goods a week ahead of time. Set up an hourly schedule for the prepping, thawing, and baking of all of the dishes.
Decorate Your Home
Decide on a theme for your Thanksgiving Day decor, such as a fall harvest theme or one with a whimsical twist. Make your “tablescape” more inviting by decorating according to your theme. For example, for a fall harvest theme, fold cloth napkins into cornucopia horns and fill them with gold-painted acorns. Add table place cards with names written on corn husks. Continuing with the fall theme, add a plethora of pumpkins and gourds to your entranceway. Arrange bowls of autumn-colored leaves on sideboards and coffee tables, and tuck tapered candles in the leaves to give the space a feeling of warmth.
Thanksgiving Day Entertainment
For a Thanksgiving Feast with lots of younger guests in attendance, you’ll want to make some special preparations: keep the kids busy by setting up a crafts table for activities before and after dinner. Ideal crafts include making paper Indian headdresses, or painting handprint turkeys. Because Thanksgiving Day is also synonymous with parades and football games, set up a TV room for guests to relax before and after the dinner, without missing their favorite events. Also, plan some activities that everyone can enjoy, such as flag football, or active games, such as Charades or Wii, for guests to participate in after the meal, to help burn off those extra helpings of sweet potato soufflé.
Even with all of the planning and preparing, emergencies are always a possibility. Designate one of your guests to be on-call to pick up any last-minute items such as a prebaked pie in case your homemade version burns (it happens). With all of these tips in your Thanksgiving Day arsenal, you will be able to prepare a Thanksgiving Day feast that not only your guest will love, but that you can enjoy as well.