Now that the colder weather is setting in, that only means one thing — Thanksgiving! This wonderful holiday known for the family, friends, and feasts is something to look forward to once autumn arrives. Of course, the holiday has already passed this year but if there’s a few things that didn’t quite go as planned, it couldn’t hurt to start thinking about next year’s.
Here are some tips and a party planning checklist that will help you create the best Thanksgiving gathering you’ve ever been to.
Send paper invites
In today’s digital world, everything is communicated over social media and email. It’s time to bring back the old-fashioned paper invites for your party — because who doesn’t like to get mail? Sending out a themed invitation will not only make your guests excited for the event, they’ll likely respond right away. We recommend putting them in the mail about three weeks before the event to give the guests ample time to get back to you.
Ask for help
It is incredibly intimidating to host a Thanksgiving for the first time, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Thanksgiving is meant to be a potluck affair, so when you send out your invites, ask your guests to bring a dish to pass. To make things easier for planning purposes, you can ask specific guests to bring part of the meal, for example have three people bring side dishes, four people bring appetizers, and two people bring desserts. Don’t worry having duplicate dishes, because the more food the merrier. And who doesn’t like leftovers for Black Friday?
Make customized place settings
Take advantage of autumn’s natural decorations and use them to your advantage. Pumpkins, gourds, and colorful leaves are all wonderful pieces to use when it comes to your place settings. Some of our favorite ideas are:
- Create a personalized mini-pumpkin with each guest’s name on it
- Scatter colorful leaves all the way down the table
- Put a gourd on each table setting, then tie the napkin around a smaller gourd for your guests to unwrap after they sit down
- Create garlands with acorns, pine cones, and colorful leaves to string around the back of the chairs
Say why you’re thankful
Right after you sit down and before you dig in, go around the table and ask each person say what they are thankful for this season. Or, you can pass out pencils and papers for each guest to have a moment to themselves before the meal. Remember, being thankful for the delicious food is a legitimate thing to write down!
Get creative with your drinks
You’ll want to have a wide array of drinks to match the amount of food you will have. It is always a good idea to have a red and a white wine available, apple cider, an alcoholic and non-alcoholic punch, and some flavorful coffees to close out dessert with. Have fun with flavors and don’t be afraid to get creative; spicy, sweet, sugary and tart are all seasonal flavors that are easy to incorporate into your meal.
Pass out favors
No party is complete without a bag full of flavors. Try giving out goodie bags full of chocolates. Or, you can use your goodie bags as a way to prepare your guests for the start of the holiday season and include candy canes, little stockings, and chocolate coins. You can never have too much cheer to go around on Thanksgiving.
With these easy tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to creating a Thanksgiving for the record books. So go and have fun, and be sure to stay thankful!