This is my most favourite time of the year. It's hard to believe that September is over and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! A few years ago, we had 15 people in our little apartment – although crowded, I think it was one of the best Thanksgiving dinners full of lots of fun and food. From personal experience, I know things can get pretty out of control (I.e. thinking about centerpieces/décor, menu, place settings) and I wanted to share some of my tips on hosting a stress-free evening!
Planning ahead is KEY – I start thinking about my menu 3-4 weeks ahead to make sure I have all my essentials. This makes prepping food much easier the week the off, especially if you have special dietary needs to think about. Last year we had friends who are vegetarian that joined us so we essentially had 2 different menus.
Prep ahead – there are so many little things that add up at the very end. Once you have your list of things that need to get done, this becomes really easy. I had prepped all our menus, bingo and place cards 2 weeks prior. Décor/Centerpieces for the tables is what usually takes up most of my time. Instead of buying pieces for the table, I prefer using what I have and adding fresh flowers (when I can!) to really bring the table together. If you can, set the table the night before – I try and do this the morning off before the craziness of cooking ensues!
As far as food prep goes, I try to get food items that just need to go in the oven prepped the night before. On the day off, I do my turkey first, then mains and lastly appetizers so they are warm and ready to go as guests arrive.
Don’t forget about your little guests – if you have little ones that will be in attendance, I always do up a kids table (when appropriate) and have their own version of Bingo that they can play along with some crafts to keep them busy while mom and dad mingle.
Refreshments – My husband loves to buy craft beers during Thanksgiving and so we usually have a selection of beers along with wine/champagne and a signature cocktail.
I'll be sharing some of my favourite classic recipes next week!