Most of us enjoy the annual tradition of Thanksgiving with families and friends, but participating as a guest is quite different than hosting such an event. If you haven’t hosted a large gathering before, you may wonder if you’re up to the task.
Are you preparing to host Thanksgiving for the first time ever? Have no fear; you can create a joyous and festive occasion that brings happiness to all in attendance! Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be complex; simply utilize a few time-tested, treasured traditions and your guests will appreciate your efforts and enjoy themselves as well.
1. Food, Food, and More Food
Thanksgiving is centered on one thing: food, especially a perfectly roasted turkey. Other traditional dishes include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie.
Many families include allergen and special diet-friendly fare, such as gluten or dairy-free alternatives, and vegetarian substitutes. Before you plan your Thanksgiving menu, ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions, food allergies, or specific dish requests. It’s best to know if Cousin Anne can’t eat peanuts before you use peanut oil to deep-fry the turkey! Your guests may even offer to bring their own special dishes, which is always a bonus. (Craving golden fried goodness? Check out this Deep-Fried Turkey Recipe from Epicurious.)
Create A Tradition: Find a unique, unexpected recipe to serve for Thanksgiving. If it’s a big hit, make it your signature dish.
2. TV Time
Aside from the feast, most people associate Thanksgiving with TV entertainment. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a cherished annual tradition that many families watch together, as is the National Dog Show that follows the parade. Football is another time-honored Thanksgiving tradition, and the NFL televises several games throughout the day. Just be prepared for some friendly rivalry should your guests root for opposing teams! (Go Lions!)
Create A Tradition: Ask your guests to wear team jerseys or organize a quick touch football game before dinner. (If a front seat to the NFL game is essential to your Thanksgiving Day happiness, check out this guide to Beating the Crowd on Thanksgiving.)
3. Family Time
After everyone is stuffed and happy, end your Thanksgiving feast with board games, cards, or charades. Creative crafts, like turkey hand-drawings and coloring books, are a great way to keep little ones happy after the meal. There are many great ideas online to keep guests busy. (Our favorites are from Spoonful and Mother Nature Network.)
Create A Tradition: Cut out hand prints and create a gratitude wreath, or take time to share what your most thankful for.
Bonus Tip: Make sure to have lots of comfy spots for guests to curl up and snooze a little – in case they need a quick nap after all that tryptophan.
By utilizing these treasured Thanksgiving traditions, you can create a warm and happy event you and your guests will remember for years to come. But most of all, don’t forget to relax, have fun, and count your blessings!
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