The season of giving is here, and what better way to celebrate than to eat way too much food and enjoy the company of loved ones we missed last year. We carefully retrace our steps into the world of hosting with a slight sense of the unfamiliar. Despite this new hosting terrain, we are thrilled to be able to get back to hosting friends and family for the day of feasting. When it comes to the big day, is it easy to stress about who, how, and where, but do not worry, we have got you covered.
When it comes to any gathering, the first finalize the guest list. Once you know what the attendance list looks like, you can begin space planning. This step is something you want to do early in case you do not have enough of something. If the number of tables or chairs is lacking, contact a friend that is not hosting and see if borrowing their supplies is an option.
Matching Not Required
Glassware is a hot commodity during the holidays. Wine, eggnog, water each take up separate vessels. Rather than opting for wine out of mugs by 6 pm, stop by your local thrift store to pick up some glasses that can be mixed and matched. The variety can add some fun diversity to your tablescape. If purchasing extras is not feasible, consider asking some neighbors going out of town to borrow their assortment. This same concept can apply to your dinnerware. We suggest that if you go for the mix and match approach, keep it consistent. Go all or nothing.
Décor Double Duty
We have all seen it; the attempt to create a beautifully decorated Thanksgiving dining table that becomes a roadblock to the all-important incoming kitchen harvest. To avoid your hungry guests leaving a trail of decorative casualties, use the table necessities to tell the story. You can still have print and color by choosing decorative napkins, plates, and tablecloths, but nothing blocks the feast.
With grocery stores being as unpredictable as 2020, go early to get meal supplies. Many families are used to stocking the fridge the week of Thanksgiving, but these days we are finding that stores are frequently out of stock without much rhyme or reason. To avoid green bean casserole from a can, we suggest going at least a week before you usually would.
If meal prep is part of your weekly routine, you know what a game-changer it is. With Thanksgiving surrounding the meal, this is the time to implement this concept, even if you never have. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, give yourself a head start by prepping all the desserts, sauces, stuffing, and sides. Many of these items will keep, but feel free to pop them into the freezer until the day before, giving them time to thaw. Pop any drinks in the fridge at this time so they can chill overnight. When Thursday arrives, plan your attack. We suggest starting with chopping the veggies and potatoes before cooking, so they are ready to roll. Dishes come together much quicker when you can grab ingredients. After that, begin reheating the items you prepared on Sunday and bringing everything else together. To keep the “hanger” at bay, have a charcuterie board on hand with plenty of options that guests can pick at throughout the day. Finger food is always a crowd-pleaser.
Understanding the Assignment
Do not be afraid to assign tasks to your company for the day. The delegation helps alleviate the stress of hosting and gives the guests a way to contribute to the meal. These can be helpful duties such as setting the table, acting as a bartender, or chopping the vegetables. Whatever it is, if it helps the host, most guests are happy to oblige. Another way to make this more of a group effort to ease the host obligations is to have each guest bring a dish for the meal. The group effort ensures there is enough food, everyone has something they want to eat, and that no one party shoulders the pressures of the day.
Love the Love
Most importantly, ENJOY having your loved ones around you again. Their absence last year makes this year that much more meaningful. Remain grateful for the moments that we have now and work towards creating new memories with friends and family.