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Ideas for a Stress-Free Feast

Host your Thanksgiving guests with ease this year by setting a stylish table, make a centerpiece that wows and be prepared before dinner time. Here is a quick guide to reference to make the most out of Thanksgiving day as the countdown begins.

thanksgiving ideas

Think being a hostess with the mostest means stressing in the kitchen while your guests enjoy the party? Think again. Your guests are there to spend time with you! With a little advanced preparation, you can unlock the secrets of pulling off an amazing dinner, spend more time chatting and be the center of attention without breaking a sweat. The following time-saving tips will give you more time outside the kitchen, and less stress while you’re in it!

Plan Ahead

Test out new recipes in advance and choose dishes that don’t have to be served piping hot. Once you’ve got the menu figured out, prepare what you can ahead of time like chopping up ingredients, or pre-cooking casseroles. Make food that will keep for a day; then heat them up just before your guests are set to arrive this is what busy restaurants do to have a seamless culinary experience.

Drink Up

Try serving a signature holiday cocktail, whether it’s alcoholic or family-friendly. Find one that can be premixed and served from a pitcher or in a slow cooker. Chill other beverages in an ice-filled tub to free up refrigerator space. Have a drink station, out of the way from cooking prep or buffet table to create a nice flow and avoid bottlenecks. Make one of these Martha Stewart drink recipes that will surely quench your thirst.

thanksgiving ideas

Appetizer Overkill

While appetizers are a great way to quickly comfort guests and spare you more time to perfect dinner, there’s a lot of food at holiday gatherings, so a ton of fancy appetizers may stuff guests before the main course. Simplify snacking with an antipasto tray, complete with crackers, cured meats, pickled vegetables, a few cheeses, olives and spreads. You can even add some sea food. (All prepped in advance, of course!)

Spare the StoveTop

Slow cookers can do more than make chili. You can slow cook mashed potatoes, “baked” potatoes, root vegetables, and even apple crisp. So, set it and forget it (at least for a little while) to free up some time to prep other courses, finalize the decor or mingle with guests. Here are 23 slow cooking recipes for Thanksgiving to check out.

Peelin’ Blues

Another tip to save on prep time when making an infamous Thanksgiving staple is to peel a ton of potatoes in seconds. Here’s what you do, boil the potatoes as usual. Immediately after boiling, place them in ice water for five to ten seconds. Then remove them from the ice, the potato skins will peel right off. How simple is that?

Easy Cleanup

The worst part of the feast is cleaning up after it. So, recruit some family members to help ease cleaning time. This can be a great way to bond with a family member. To simplify the process plan out the number of serving dishes you’ll need in advance. Want to reduce your dish-washing burden? Serve hors d’oeuvres, which can be filling with a napkin or decorative paper plate. Begin dinner with an empty dishwasher so you can clear plates and glasses as soon as guests have finished.

Table Toss Up 

Traditional holiday tables can get crowded, create traffic jams and clutter on the tabletop. Try buffet-style service, placing all the prepared dishes on a separate table or in a separate room. People can eat at different times or all together. Getting seconds just got a lot easier, too! Make sure your buffet table is decorated accordingly and try using serving dishes with varying height to create an interesting tablescape.


Table Dressing

Thanksgiving Day is a time for friends and family to get together and reflect on what they’re thankful for. Along with sharing laughs and special memories, the array of delicious food is typically the highlight of this fall celebration. Family dishes are often passed down for generations, but every year it’s fun to surprise your guests with new Thanksgiving decor. From creating a festive centerpiece with local flowers or personalizing a miniature pumpkin for your place settings, there are hundreds of ways you can style your Thanksgiving tablescape while sticking to a budget.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this interactive Thanksgiving decor tool by Tiny Prints. It allows you to sort through 100 photos by choosing a filter that suits your style such as modern, rustic or traditional to find the perfect DIY ideas for this year’s turkey dinner. Once your table is set, all there is left to do is to fill the air with sweet apple pie and enjoy your company!


Formal Setting

To set a formal table for dinner, start with a table runner or table cloth (maybe both). Place a charger or place mat under the dinner plate to dress it up. The dinner plate is positioned in the center of the place setting and everything else is placed around it. Next, flatware is arranged around the plate to the left of the plate is the fork, to the right of the plate is the knife and spoon. The knife is placed to the right of the plate with the sharp edge toward the plate. The spoon is on the other side of the knife. If a salad is being served, the salad fork is placed to the left of the dinner fork. The beverage, soup and/or dessert spoons are to the right of the knife or can be brought to the table when soup or dessert is served.

If soup is served, set the bowl on the plate and a soup spoon to the right of the beverage spoon. Salad or bread and butter plates go to the left of the forks. Position butter plates above the forks with the butter spreader placed across the plate. Cup and saucer go above the spoons with the handle toward the right. Wine or water glasses can be positioned to the left of the coffee cup. A water glass goes above the knife. White and red wine glasses (if necessary) along with the water glasses are positioned to the left of the coffee cup. Napkins can be placed under the forks or on the plate for an informal setting. 

From our house to yours, we hope these Thanksgiving ideas spark a festive time with your family and friends. Remember, the party is only as good as the hostesses mood so plan ahead and don’t let anything ruin your day, because today is about being thankful and gathering with loved ones. Oh…and don’t stuff yourself too much…

black friday

Be on the look out for more details about our 1st annual Black Friday sale, we’re were going to be offering 50% off all our products, it’s our best offer ever and we’re sharing it with you! So, make sure to get on our list by emailing me your favorite Thanksgiving tradition. Make sure to leave a comment below as well to share, how you’re preparing for Thanksgiving this year.

Happy Thanksgiving,

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