Start Planning Now for Thanksgiving

by Robyn Wright on November 4, 2015

in Food

Planning Thanksgiving - It Is Time To Start Now!  Robyns.World

We are already into November and Thanksgiving is not that far off. If you plan on making the Thanksgiving feast for your family and friends this year, now is the time to start planning. This year I will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house and having my son and his girlfriend, my parents, my brother, and my in-laws join us. My plans have already begun!

Think About the Food

  • Classic versus New
    Most of my family prefers classic foods for Thanksgiving. However Hubby and I always like to try new things. When planning my menu I have to have a mix of both things so that everyone will be satisfied with the choices.
  • The Turkey
    It is a given for most of us that we will serve turkey on Thanksgiving. Not only do you need to think about how you will prepare the bird but also what kind of turkey to get. We are not all slave to a frozen turkey these days. You can get organic, free range, fresh (never frozen), whole turkeys, turkey parts, and many other options. We have been doing fresh turkeys lately and really can tell a noticeable difference. I have been getting mine at Whole Foods. Check with your local grocer to see what options they will have available and order one, if necessary. Most likely Hubby will want to cook our turkey on the grill or in the smoker, fine by me. We have also done fried turkeys in the past. Whatever method you prefer, plan ahead now and make sure you have the proper sized cooking vessels.
  • The Sides
    As I said, I will do a mix of classic and newer recipes. Ask your guests if they have any favorites that they would like you to have – but only ask if you are willing to make them. My son has requested his standard cranberry muffins. Hubby will most likely request, ugh, green bean casserole.
  • Desserts
    Will you make a pumpkin pie? Buy one ready made? Desserts are also great items to have guests bring. My mother-in-law will be brining a mincemeat pie which is a favorite of Hubby and his dad. We will have another dessert also for the rest of us who aren’t such fans of mincemeat.
  • Drinks
    Don’t forget to think about what everyone likes to drink. Can you get away with coffee, tea, and water? Or do you have someone who drinks a certain kind of soda? Think about some wine or other drinks as well. I will be sharing some Thanksgiving cocktail recipes in the upcoming Friday’s here on my blog.
  • Special Diets
    Many people have dietary restrictions these days. You might have someone who eats gluten-free, who is diabetic, vegan or vegetarian, or someone with other allergies. Make sure you ask when you invite them so you will have options available that are safe for them to eat.

Think About the Table

  • Plates
    Do you have enough dinner plates for everyone who will be attending Thanksgiving? I have my grandmother’s china which I will be using. Often my family uses paper plates though on holidays to save on the dishes. There is no shame in that!
  • Silverware
    This is another item that you may not currently have enough pieces for the amount of guests you have. Count up your pieces to be sure. I know for some reason forks and spoons disappear in my house – I have no idea where they go. If you are going to go with disposable I would suggest the better quality disposables though and not the super cheap stuff.
  • Glassware
    This is another one you can go with real or disposable based on your needs. Growing up I remember my grandma having me set a glass and fill it with ice and each place setting but half of them never got used because people were drinking something else already.
  • Serving Pieces
    I love having pretty serving bowls and platters for everything. Some people are perfectly fine with putting the pots on the table though. Just think ahead and make sure you have enough of whatever type of vessels you need for all of the foods you will be serving.
  • Linens and Centerpieces
    Holidays are really the only time I put a tablecloth on the table. The reason for this is that my cats would get fur all over them if I had them on all of the time. For Thanksgiving though I will get out one of my linen tablecloths to make it all look more festive. Centerpieces are nice, but I generally barely have enough room for all of the foods let alone a centerpiece. I love the idea of them though.
  • Chairs
    I have six chairs that go with my table. The other chairs will be a hodge podge of office chairs and folding chairs from around the house. As long as everyone has a place to sit I think they don’t really mind what kind of chair they sit on. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family if they have folding chairs they can bring if you are short a few.

Pre and Post Dinner Entertainment

  • Before Dinner
    While you are busy prepping and cooking you are bound to have some guests waiting. For many families watching the football game or a parade keeps them occupied but not everyone wants to watch TV. Have a playlist of nice background music available. Maybe put out some easy games or even turn on the Xbox or the Wii.
  • After Dinner
    I have some in my family who are eat and run type of folks, that’s okay, whatever floats their boat. Some of them though will stay and chat and visit which I enjoy. Still have some of those other activities (see above) available in case someone gets bored.
  • Kid’s Activities
    If you have younger children that will be joining you consider having a box of goodies just for them. Print out some fun coloring pages, puzzles, have crayons and markers, or look for of the easy craft kits for Thanksgiving projects that they can make.

Budgeting

  • Start Buying Now
    This is especially true of some grocery items. Most stores will start having some of those classic Thanksgiving items on sale already. Pick up a few of the shelf stable things on each trip to the store between now and Thanksgiving to spread out the cost.
  • Ask Guests to Bring a Dish
    There is no harm in doing this. Ask guests to each bring a side dish to help cut down on the cost of the meal if you need to. Most area always happy to help. Just coordinate who is brining what so you don’t end up with duplicates.
  • Reuse What You Have
    Look for things you may already have around your house that you can use. Do you have a tablecloth already? Enough plates, glasses, and silverware to use – it may mean more dishes to wash, but it is less expensive. Ask the kids to create a centerpiece from craft supplies they already have and things they can gather in nature.

This may sound like a lot, and it ease, which is why you are better off to start planning ahead now so you don’t get overwhelmed as Thanksgiving gets closer.

Do you have any ideas or tips to share about planning for Thanksgiving?

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© 2015, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.

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{ 15 comments }

1 Kristen November 5, 2015 at 2:20 am

Lots of good advice….but this year I think I’ll start planning who I can get to invite us over for dinner! LOL

2 Robyn Wright November 5, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Hey, that’s important too! Don’t be shy, let people know you don’t have any plans yet for Thanksgiving!

3 shellypeterson November 5, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Such great information. The Holidays are creeping up too fast. I think it’s a good idea to stick with the classic foods but also try something new every year.

4 Robyn Wright November 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Yep, this way everyone is happy

5 tannawings November 6, 2015 at 2:39 am

We for the last few years have served and eten Thanksgiving at the church. We feed anyone that comes and the church has beeen doing it for many years. I make a turkey maybe every other month, so we dont need turkey :) We have a good time spending time with people and see the damily later in the day.

6 Robyn Wright November 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

that’s really very nice of you

7 Lisa Brown November 6, 2015 at 4:38 am

Luckily, I do not have to cook or anything. No relatives coming this way this year. It will be a peaceful day :)

8 Robyn Wright November 9, 2015 at 1:57 pm

you’re not even cooking just for you?

9 Lisa Brown November 9, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Actually, no. Right now, I have health issues that prevent me from eating all that is Thanksgiving dinner. My husband can eat it, but he won’t because he knows I can’t. I guess, he is sharing the misery :)

10 Robin November 9, 2015 at 7:55 am

You can never have too much pie (easy for me to say, since I’m not the one who bakes the pies). I bring a vegetarian side dish, of course, but there is always plenty of non-meat food to eat anyway.

11 Robyn Wright November 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Yes, lots of vegetarian friendly foods on my tablet for Thanksgiving! The only thing not is the turkey and gravy. My MIL makes the pies here luckily

12 Tiffany C November 23, 2015 at 9:12 pm

mincemeat pie is a dessert? I have to look this up, never heard of it! We’re bringing apple cider donuts and pumpkin pie :)

13 Robyn Wright November 27, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Yes, mincemeat is a very old thing – my hubby loves it. Apple cider donuts sound amazing and of course, pumpkin pie!

14 salexis November 27, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Good for you – planning ahead definitely eases the work and allows for more time to relax and enjoy! (I always ask my guests to bring chairs if they can… I never have enough! LOL) Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

15 Robyn Wright November 27, 2015 at 2:28 pm

We always have a hodgepodge of chairs!

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