Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and the planning has already started at our home. For over 15 years, we have hosted Thanksgiving weekend for all the family. The guest list runs for 15 to 30 depending on who can travel in any given year. It is my most favorite holiday to celebrate. I have it down to a science and can pull it off without stress or anxiety. So here are some of my top tips for planning a fun family Thanksgiving celebration that I enjoy as much as our guests.
First things first, Bill Clinton’s famous presidential campaign motto once noted “It’s the economy, stupid”… well to paraphrase it, my Thanksgiving motto is “It’s the fun, stupid”. There is nothing difficult about cooking a turkey. It is one of the easiest things to make. Not sure or have questions.. Look at the Butterball web page and ANY question you may have about cooking or defrosting a turkey is answered there. The side dishes can get tricky. Timing and preparation can make for a chaotic kitchen. So I do recipes that can be made ahead, are foolproof, easy and delicious. Rather than worry about running or lumpy mash potatoes that have to be made hours before the turkey is ready, I make a delicious cheese and potato casserole. Limp and soggy vegetables dishes? Not an issue for me as I have an incredibly easy vegetable souffle recipe that everyone loves. I add a Harvest Rice dish with seasonal pumpkin vinaigrette and cranberries and I have added some variety to the menu. Fresh breads from the bakery and easy homemade carrot and poppy loaves and I am set to go. All the guests bring a menagerie of appetizers. I have homemade pumpkin tarts; apple pie and chocolate chip cookies. Dinner is done!
What do I spend most of my time on…. Preparing fun crafts, table favors and games and activities to keep everyone laughing and together for the day. When the kids were small, we planned a craft table to keep them all busy while the adults were watching the parade, the football games or gathering in the kitchen. As they got older, we went to the local high school football game and even had an annual flag football game of our own on the front lawn. Every year, I make table favors; plan fun games and entertainment for one and all. At the end of the day, I would tell you.. It’s these fun Thanksgiving ideas that keep everyone coming back each year.