Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite time of the year. It’s no secret that I love food and I love to cook for others, and Thanksgiving Dinner is my Superbowl of company dinners. It’s a chance to gather with friends and family and indulge in the traditional and the exceptional.
Are you planning on hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner? Are you a seasoned pro, but ready to take some of the headaches out of hosting Thanksgiving? Well, you’re in luck, it’s time for this year’s Countdown to Turkey Day. (Psst, it’d be awesome if you’d share this series with your friends or family who may be hosting for the first time, too.)
Before the crap year that was 2013**, I hosted an early Thanksgiving Dinner each year. I know they say that grief takes about 3 years to work through, but until you’re coming out the other side, it’s easy to say, “I’m fine” even if you aren’t.
I used to look forward to the day of cooking at least as much as the real deal. Partly because I had the chance to experiment freely with recipes, but also because sometimes I really, really miss working in a commercial kitchen. (Don’t worry, Phil, I’m not heading back to food and bev, I don’t miss enough about it to ever really consider making the switch).
I am happy to say that this year, I was able to restart the tradition. We had a lot of fun, and I’ve been working to update the images on the website. My youngest also got in on the action. She was handed a point and shoot camera, and it is so fun to go through the pictures from her 9-year-old point of view. Life isn’t actually edited Pinterest Picture Perfect. Yes, you do see store bought desserts on the table. Everything else we made for Thanksgiving was gluten-free. I didn’t want to risk the cross-contamination for my friends, and it was also a time-saving decision, too.
This year is another year with an early Thanksgiving, and we’ve got just over three weeks to plan. This year Thanksgiving falls on November 24th and since I was on an airplane yesterday, I forgot to post the kickoff. (There I go with that dang being human thing again).
This means it is time to get our acts together and get started. We’re kicking off with a few, hopefully, easy tasks.
1. Decide – When and Where
Sit down with pen and paper and decide where and what time dinner will be served. Create a tentative guest list that notes any allergies or dietary restrictions. It’s easier to plan around a gluten or nut allergy than it is to rework a menu.
2. Figure Out – Seating and Serving
Before things get crazy, look at your guest list. Do you have enough chairs and place settings? Are you serving a casual enough meal that sitting on the floor and using Chinette works? No? Party rental stores often allow chair, china, and glassware rental in lots much smaller than you’d imagine. I’ve rented as few as ten chairs in the past for parties. Reserve what you need ASAP.
3. Find the dining room table.
Yes, I’m not kidding about the last one. Our dining room table has become both my fiance and I’s office. He’s great about putting his work away at 5 pm. Me? Well, we’re not going to talk about that pile of steno pads, scratch paper, and pens*.
Well Home Eccers, will you be playing along this year? Have you hosted Thanksgiving dinner before? Are you trying it for the first time? What are you looking forward to and what are you dreading about the holiday?
I hope you join in on the fun.
*Complete and total tangent, but I finally have a favorite pen thanks to one of my awesome co-workers. She is quite possibly one of the most organized people I know. She was working from my home one day, and I grabbed one of her pens to take a quick note and fell in love.
**For those not in the know that was a year of death and divorce. The latter is hard enough on its own, even when everyone acts like grown-ups.