A Thanksgiving with Friends

I am very excited to announce that Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! This is by far my favorite holiday for many reasons, but mostly because it is an excellent time to spend with your family and to give thanks for everything you have been blessed with. Now, for most of you, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that you really don’t need to worry about planning for; you show up at your mom or aunt’s house and they have everything under control. But for the hosts and hostesses, there are a lot of things that need to be done.

As with many holidays, though, Thanksgiving is all about traditions. Most of the planning is the same each specific holiday for every family. But things are different for me this year. Unfortunately, along with my some of my fellow classmates, due to time and financial situations, we will not be making it home to our families. So, as the planner of the group, I have decided to host a dinner party so we can spend this wonderful holiday together!

Here are some ideas to incorporate into your gathering this year, whether you are keeping with tradition or trying something new!

Make your house festive! Use decorations as simple as a wreath or potted flowers outside. Your guests will instantly feel welcome and it will give your house a “homey” feel. You can decorate the inside as much or as little as you would like. I am a big fan of simplicity. You can make every party look elegant and luxurious without a lot of extra expenses. Table decorations do not always have to be elaborate. Our dining room table is not that large and is always full of food. Therefore, keeping the centerpiece decorations to a minimum is a great option. By using decorations such as leaves to act as a runner and a few taper candles can be very effective. To complete the simple look, tie cloth napkins with a ribbon, set it on the plates and add a place card above the setting for each person. However, if you have the extra room, here is your chance to make a lasting impression! Feel free to use items such as pumpkins, pillar candles, and hurricane vases filled with cranberries, candy corn, or fall colored flowers.The full table will have a nice elegant touch and your guests will be in the holiday spirit! Let your creative juices flow! If you can’t come up with your own ideas, you can always go to an inspiration board like Pinterest. This way, you can see what someone else has created and either use the same theme, or copy the décor exactly. 

Let’s talk about my favorite part: the menu! Thanksgiving dinner is by far my favorite meal. I usually ask my mom to recreate Thanksgiving dinner for my birthday (even though its only 3 months later). Traditionally, almost every modern American family cooks a turkey, serves sides like cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and makes a pumpkin and or pecan pie for dessert. Since we are all coming together from different backgrounds, why not make a few different dishes and create some new traditions?  My new favorite Thanksgiving recipe is a Cranberry Jello salad that we serve instead of cranberry sauce. It is very festive (and works great for a Christmas dinner, too!) For a different use of sweet potatoes, try a Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Pecan Crumble. After the main dinner is served and everyone is almost completely stuffed, there is just enough room for dessert. Pumpkin pie is usually always present. However, although it is hard to believe, not everyone can stomach the flavor and texture. Add some variety this year with a Candy Apple Pie. Hot-spiced Cider can be a great addition to dessert and tie all of the fall flavors together! This menu will guarantee very satisfied and sleepy guests!!

To continue with traditions, there are certain activities that every family takes part in, whether it is something special or just simply all falling asleep watching football. For instance, my mom always talks to “Tom” the turkey while she is bathing and stuffing him. She says she feels like she needs to talk to him since she is getting so up close and personal! Although it is a silly tradition, it is something I will always remember and incorporate in my own preparation. We also watch the Macy’sThanksgiving Day Parade while we prepare all of the food and right before dinner, we all take a moment and either my dad or aunt says the blessing.

I think when you are entertaining during a holiday for a small group of people, it is important to try to incorporate at least one tradition from each person. It makes everyone feel special and it is a cool way to experience new things! It will make a lasting impression on your guests if you get them involved and plan something they can relate to! So this year, we will take turns around the table saying what we are thankful for, bless the food, and play a pick-up football game in the park after dinner! I am very excited to share these new traditions with my friends!

Never take anything or anyone for granted and always be thankful for what God has blessed you with! Happy Thanksgiving!

"Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great!"


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