So, you volunteered to have everyone at your house this year, but now realize you really need to plan Thanksgiving. In order to bring it all together, it’s important you finalize the guest list, plan the menu, entertain the guests, make some Black Friday plans and create Thanksgiving Day memories that will last a lifetime.
That may seem like a lot of turkey day planning, but it’s doable if you get started now. Take time to work out the details below and you will find that Thanksgiving runs much smoother than you might expect. Everything you need to know about how to plan Thanksgiving is contained in the five tips below.
Finalize Guest List
Thanksgiving is typically built around family and very close friends. But the keyword there is “typically.” It’s your holiday and you can do whatever you want to do with it. Just make sure that the number of people you invite can fit comfortably in your home. It’s important to decide somewhat early (a month or so in advance) so that people can clear their schedules. There’s no need to send a formal invitation, just simply make a phone call or send an email. This is a good time to ask if there are any dietary restrictions and to find out if there is a dish someone really wants to bring.
Plan Thanksgiving Menu
This is where the real fun is when you plan Thanksgiving, which really is the best holiday for foodies. The traditional dishes include turkey, stuffing, cranberries, buttery mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. You can do whatever you want, of course. But one approach is to do the traditional dishes but then add in a few new dishes to spice it up (a cheesy spinach dip, for example, or red velvet cake). You’ll want to shop as early as you can – it gets crazy at the store as Thanksgiving gets closer. It’s helpful to also know the dietary restrictions of your guests and to have a backup plan for dinner in case something burns.
Entertain Thanksgiving Guests
You can keep people happy with appetizers to nibble on, but you might want to think about entertaining them with something different. You can rent all kinds of games that will keep a family busy and happy rather than debating politics! There are many ways to entertain Thanksgiving guests, from bounce houses for the kids to games that will test everyone’s skills at football. Or everyone can test their skills at a classic carnival game or two.
Make Black Friday Plans
Black Friday has become as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey, stuffing, and football. Deciding where to shop and in what order to hit the stores takes some planning and teamwork, so reach out to your shopping partners beforehand and put together your plan. Find the stores with the best deals and determine which is the best one to get to right when it opens.
You’ll remember this day forever, but it will help to create memories for everyone if you do something special beyond just the meal. One great idea is to go ahead and have the Christmas tree on hand so that you can all decorate it together. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to take photos of everyone all together now that you have them all under one roof! Another way to send everyone off with a smile is to provide goodie bags full of treats, toys for the kids and maybe even some Thanksgiving Day leftovers.
Just remember that even with all the turkey day planning, the whole idea is for you to enjoy yourself. Take the time to plan Thanksgiving and make the day special, but also remember to take the time to spend with your family and friends.