If you are like most of us the thought of hosting a large Thanksgiving Day celebration can be a little overwhelming and sometimes stressful. Here are some helpful tips from The Mower Group on how to pull off a successful Thanksgiving Day dinner with your loved ones, while leaving you with some extra time on your hands to spend with the ones you love.
1. Plan Simple Thanksgiving Decorations
There is no need to spend a lot of time and money decking out your entire home in fall decorum. A simple table cloth and vase of fresh flowers is all you need to make a picture-perfect dining space. However, if you are going for a little bit more this year try going edible with your table centerpiece. Simple and popular fall decoration is to get a glass bowl and fill it with edibles such as fresh fruit, nuts, and small pumpkins. Not only will this look perfect for the occasion but you can encourage your guests to grab a handful of fruit or nuts while they wait for that slow-roasting turkey to bake.
2. Get Your Appliances And Serving Dishes Prepared
Do not wait until the morning to get your baking dishes prepared. Hosting a large meal such as Thanksgiving dinner often requires serving platters, toaster ovens, and extra tables and chairs. Don’t wait until the morning of to pull these things out of storage. Also, wash and label your serving platters beforehand with what dish you want each to hold. This will save you a lot of time and confusion the day of, especially with all those helping hands in the kitchen.
3. Go Store-Bought Where You Can
The less time you are stuck cooking in the kitchen the more time you have to spend with your family. Although many of us like to use the holidays as an opportunity to try the newest trend on an old classic or to show off our homemade cooking skills, we recommend you go store-bought where you can. Some Thanksgiving Day staples such as rolls, cranberry sauce, and pies are just as good from the store, and buying these things rather than making them from scratch can save you a lot of time.
4. Use Your Oven Space Wisely
If you are like most of us, trying to figure out how to cook the sides while your turkey takes up all your oven space is one of the biggest headaches of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. If you don’t own a toaster oven buy one! These are a great way to get a little extra oven space for big events, but they can easily be stored since most of us do not need a double oven more than a couple of times a year. Also, plan out what you can do on your stovetop. Dishes such as mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be done on your stovetop.
5. Travel-Friendly Thanksgiving Dishes
If it’s not your turn to host the big event this year you can still contribute to the meal by bringing a tasty side dish. However, some sides travel better than others. If something as simple as a store-bought pie is not an option we recommend dishes such as sweet potato mash or green bean casserole for the travelers. These dishes can be prepared in a baking dish, keep well in a brief car ride, and can be baked in the oven in the same dish they were prepared in. However, don’t forget to ask the host about that coveted oven space we talked about in number 4 if you plan to bring a side dish that requires baking.
6. Keep the Kids Busy
If your Thanksgiving holiday is like ours there are plenty of kids running around the house. Waiting on that bird to come out of the oven can feel like a lifetime for a kid, and when at a home that is not their own there is most likely not a lot of toys to keep them occupied. Setting up a craft table with some simple crafting supplies is a great way to keep the kids occupied on Thanksgiving Day. Also, decorating the kid’s table with a bucket of coloring books, crayons, board games, and trivia cards is another sure way to keep them happy and entertained while the adults cook and mingle.
7. Get Creative With Thanksgiving Leftovers
Once all is said and done you will most likely be left with quite a few dishes of leftovers. Often the host is the only one able to enjoy these tasty leftovers, but why not share these with your guests? Buy a package of disposable Tupperware and encourage your guests to pack a to-go bag for themselves. Also, a fun way to get your guests to take and enjoy leftovers is to print and hand out some fun Thanksgiving Day leftover recipes for them to try out. We recommend a turkey-potato soup or cranberry-turkey roll-up recipe as great ways to recreate those classic dishes the next day.
The most important part of Thanksgiving Day celebrations is to have an opportunity to get together with family or friends, enjoy each other’s company, and give thanks for what you have. The less time you spend in the kitchen stressing over the small things the more time you will have with your loved ones, and that is what really matters.
So with all that being said, we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours!