Planning during the most wonderful time of year

Hosting a Thanksgiving Day holiday feast is a big task. Just doing it for your immediate family can be tough enough. But it’s even more challenging if you have guests coming for the day. Keeping everyone happy takes effort, especially when you have to take a range of needs into advance, from those of your children to your great aunt. While you can’t make everyone happy all the time, you can do your best to ensure everyone has a good time. If you want to keep everyone in a good mood, as much as you can, you need to think about their wants and needs during the holiday. These Thanksgiving tips to keep everyone happy are sure to work and make the day successful.

Tips to Keep Your Family Happy at Thanksgiving

Ask for Help

Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to begin the holiday season. But planning and executing everything for Thanksgiving on your own is tricky. If you don’t want to get stuck doing it all single-handedly, be sure to ask for help from others. Whether you get your partner and children involved or you ask other guests to do their part, they can contribute to the event if they want to benefit from it. You could ask everyone to bring a dish or contribute money for the food. You can delegate different tasks to people too so that you have help with getting set up and cleaning up.

It’s a good idea to create a master list of all the foods you want to have at Thanksgiving. If you want it to be a healthy Thanksgiving meal, you will need to plan on some foods you may not make on a regular basis. Additionally, you need to ensure that you have the foods everyone expects at Thanksgiving. These may include pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes green bean casserole, and of course, a turkey (or duck, Cornish hens, or some other meat).

Next, enlist everyone’s help. This is one of the easiest ways to have a great variety of traditional foods on Thanksgiving. Select the items that you would like to make or buy at the grocery store, and then ask family members what they are willing to bring. If they offer to bring something that someone else is bringing for the big meal, give them suggestions from your list.

For example, if you are having a lot of people, having 2-3 pumpkin pies is not too many. Additionally, having several different types of pies is a great thing too. Fruit pies such as apple or blackberry pie are favorites during this holiday season. But other types of pies such as chocolate cream will be a hit too. Other ideas for a sweet treat include Rice Krispy treats for the kids, chocolates for everyone, pumpkin cheesecake, or iced sugar cookies.

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Make Sure There’s Food for Everyone

Food is the main event for most people during Thanksgiving, so you have to make sure everyone is provided for. One of the key Thanksgiving tips to ensure your guests are happy is providing food. If you feel that you can’t provide for someone due to strict dietary requirements, let them know in advance so they can bring their own food (or choose whether to come). There are lots of options to adapt to people’s needs though, with vegan Thanksgiving dinner recipes, vegetarian ideas, and ways to adapt to different allergies or preferences. While it can be more effort, it will be appreciated if you go out of your way to cater to everyone’s needs.

Many people are dairy-free or gluten-free. These options may be difficult for you to prepare. However, there are tons of great recipes online. It is often easy to make a dairy-free dessert without much modification. Additionally, side dishes such as a salad or green beans can be prepared without the use of dairy. Green beans can be made by just using olive oil and garlic, salt, and butter. This simple dish can feed almost anyone – vegans, gluten-free, dairy-free, and tasty.

This holiday meal is the start of a season of eating. Many times people overeat at Thanksgiving. If you keep things simple the whole family may thank you for the healthy meal you make. Having a fruit salad option in addition to pies helps keep those extra calories from adding up.

thanksgiving dinner on the table

Thanksgiving Tips to Keep Everyone Happy: Manage Expectations

First, take a deep breath. Then make sure to communicate with your guests before the big day. When your guests know what to expect during the day, it can be easier to keep them happy. They’ll know what’s going to happen and what they can reasonably expect to get from attending your Thanksgiving event. Additionally, if you know how many people are eating at your place as their main meal, it will help you be prepared.

It’s also important to let children know what’s going to happen during the day. It helps keep them calm and gives them an understanding of how the day will go. It’s helpful for managing their behavior, giving you the chance to let them know how they will be expected to behave during the day and what their reward for good behavior will be.

Preparing for the Actual Thanksgiving Celebration

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the meal in advance of the special day is to set your dinner table or buffet up ahead of time. Make sure to have hand sanitizer prominently displace for guests to use. Make sure your guests see you wash your hands often.

Table set for thanksgiving dinner

Decide if you will eat in the kitchen and dining room, or if you will have tables or TV trays set up in the living room too. Additionally, decide if you will have rules about cell phone usage at the dinner hour.

Will you have a centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table? This is one of those things that many people forget to include. Don’t wait to think about it as you are setting your table.

One more thing to think of: How will you handle uninvited guests? Expect someone to call at the last minute and say, “Can I bring Aunt Sally?” If you are a pro at planning a big meal, you know to expect this. But if this is your first time, you probably won’t anticipate how to handle extra guests. Expect there to be someone not on the original list!

Thanksgiving Tip to Keep Your Guests Happy: Cooking the Food

If you have never cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner, the task can seem daunting. There are things you need to plan in advance. For instance, do you know what size turkey to purchase? Online turkey calculators will help you determine how many pounds of meat you will need. But did you know that you also need to remove the turkey from the freezer well before Thanksgiving Day? How long should you thaw your turkey? If you buy a 20 lb. turkey, you will need to thaw it for 5-6 days. There is nothing worse than having a frozen turkey on Thanksgiving morning.

Planning your meal means planning out cooking times, too. 10 lbs. of mashed potatoes take longer to cook than the 2 lbs. you are used to making. Cooking times may have to be adjusted. Figuring out what you can place in your oven or cook on the stovetop make take some mental calculations too!

Plan Some Activities

Having some after-dinner activities is a great plan. Will you do some physical activity such as a brisk walk or flag football outdoors? Or maybe you will just have a fun board game that lots of players can play/ Will you watch a football game and have an area for conversation? Some families pick a movie to watch. However, others use this time to plan out Christmas, Hannukah, and New Year’s events and gift exchanges.

Send Guests Home with Leftovers

After your Thanksgiving dinner, you can keep making everyone happy by sending them home with leftovers for the next day. Food waste can be a big problem, so don’t let your leftovers go to waste. Have some containers prepared so that you can fill them up for your guests, or perhaps ask them to bring their own dish to take home leftovers. It’s a great way to show your love for everyone and make sure they won’t go hungry.

Thanksgiving dinner on a plate

You might not be able to keep everyone happy all the time, but you can make your Thanksgiving dinner enjoyable for all with these Thanksgiving tips.

Make sure to have a great time planning, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

thanksging tips

1 thought on “Thanksgiving Tips to Keep Everyone Happy”

  1. Hazel Avery

    These are really insightful tips. Thanksgiving can be hard to navigate sometimes with family coming back. Especially when talking about hard topics (religion, politics, etc). We all like to gather in the kitchen. I just barely got a fresh cabinet painting in mine. Hoping this, along with your tips, will help our family to have a great holiday. Thanks for the article!

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