This year we will be having 11 from our family and Tim's brother and his family which adds 6 plus our friend Denny, if he is not on the road. So at this point we are looking at 18 for dinner. We are looking forward to it!
The following tips are important for having a stress free day.
1. Slow Roast your turkey overnight. I have a fool proof recipe that came out of Emilie Barnes book 15 Minute Family Traditions and Memories. Here is the link to my post about it.
2. Have your guests all bring a side dish and dessert.
3. Set up a buffet for serving food. We have a 9 foot counter that works perfectly for buffets and we use it regularly.
4. Feel free to use paper products. There are such pretty seasonal paper products, or great disposable plates that look like china, these days. If you are hosting a crowd, give yourself a break and make clean up easier. After all you want to be able to enjoy the day, too.
5. Delegate. Make a plan (even if only in your head) for the flow of the day, and ask guests ahead of time if they will help with clean up or to provide a craft/game/activity for kids. Most people are willing to help.
6. Have no big expectations for the day. This is important. Don't get yourself all worked up over some "Norman Rockwell" ideal. Know your family and your guests for who they are and go with it! If your family is difficult, this is especially important. If you have no family, invite friends to share the day with you.
7. Have a drink station set up for self serve coffee, tea and hot cocoa. It will allow you to focus on food in the kitchen, and then later allow you time to sit and enjoy your guests. This can be as simple as a small table in your dining room with your coffee maker, an electric kettle, and of course a variety of teas and cocoa. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it.
9. Remember that this is a day for giving Thanks! Provide a way for your guests to share what they are thankful for, and don't forget to tell them how thankful you are that they are their with you.
10. Set the tone in your own home. Have beautiful Thanksgiving music on an iPod, light some candles, have football on in the family room. Its up to you!
We always take the opportunity to have family photos taken that day. This year, my niece will be with her boyfriend's family on Thanksgiving, and Lindsay and Joseph will be with his family. Thankfully, Joseph's family lives 3 minutes from us and they are planning on coming by for photos, then to his family. Good thing, too! Lindsay is the one with the camera and tripod!
What plans do you have for Thanksgiving? Are you hosting? What are some traditional food dishes that your family must have every Thanksgiving. My Canadian friends can join in too, even though they have had their Thanksgiving already!