Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thinking Ahead For The Holidays (link to 'perfect every time' slow roasted turkey)

I am by nature a spur of the moment, spontaneous kind of woman.  I have learned to go with the flow, and be able to shift the direction of my days when needed.  I do manage to get a lot done, most days.

One thing that helps me in the bigger things like Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas decorating or my annual Christmas Tea is that I've learned to think ahead and make decisions, so that as I am going about my days leading up to the 'event', I am able to gather what is needed (sometimes shopping for two separate events at the same time).

I had a breakfast date with my busy man this morning. 
 This is our favorite spot for breakfast - The Gallery Grille at Tanglewood Golf Course.
It was nice to take sometime together before our trip that starts this weekend.

While I am not super organized by nature, I can pull it all together when I need to.  I have found it helps to have some basic plans in place, that act as a guideline for the event.

Here are a few tips that I have found helpful.

1. Decide how you are going to set your table, and how you will serve the food.  

For Thanksgiving we have found that it works best to set up a buffet to serve the food. This may be too casual for some of you, but for us this works well.  Since I don't have all the food dishes on the dining table, I am able to really set a beautiful table! Remember that beautiful doesn't have to mean fussy.  One year, I polished out table and put beautiful silver candelabras on it and not much else.  It was simple and elegant!

2. If someone asks to help, find a way for them to help!  

Let them bring a favorite vegetable dish, or dessert.  Let them light candles, put the place cards on the table, turn on some music.

3. Ask your guests if they have any food allergies or if there are any food preferences.  

I recently helped with a wedding where some of the guests were vegetarian.  The bride forgot to tell us about that.  Thankfully the lady in charge of food had planned a great salad, fruit cups and vegetable side dish.  We offered seconds to the vegetarians and they were fine.  It was however an awkward moment and we didn't want it to reflect in a negative way on such a special day.  It all worked out at the wedding but it would be very challenging to have someone with a gluten allergy come to your meal and not have a dessert that they could eat, etc.

I follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating and so when I am a guest, I ask if I can bring dessert or a side dish.  That way I know that I can bring something that works for me with my eating plan and enjoy myself!

4. Be flexible.  Maybe the best thing for everyone this year is a simple gathering, where you order pizza, or go out to eat.  Sometimes that is the needful thing for everyone.  Give yourself a time to be truly Thankful for those in your life.

5. Remember that these events are about sharing time with our loved ones and friends.  It doesn't have to be like a Norman Rockwell painting to be perfect.  The paintings aren't real, people are, and some can be difficult.  I find that if I have my guests best interest in mind, if I am looking to make there time at our home nice for them (and not have the focus on me) then it is usually a success.

6. People love to be invited.  So many are lonely these days, and even if they don't want to intrude on your family meal, see if they will come for dessert.  Ask them, several times if you have to, but don't let them sit at home alone, if possible.

7.  Take time, daily, for a few minutes to get your focus right during the holiday season.  Ask yourself "What am I celebrating?" or even "Am I celebrating?"  We can get so caught up in the shopping and the 'have to's' that we lose our joy and the reason we are celebrating the Holy-days.

What are your plans for this Thanksgiving?  Have any of you starting on Christmas yet?

Edited to say - 

Here is the link to the best turkey ever!  It's perfect every time!


  1. All really good advice!! I am starting the UNdecorating of fall. I'm never quite ready to take it down but this year I thought I would start early doing one room at a time instead of all in one fell swoop. I'm still down with a head cold so I started on the den where I can watch movies and move slow with lots of breaks.
    Hope you enjoy your away Thanksgiving!!! Actually, I KNOW you will!!! You are that kind of person to enjoy the best of anything!

  2. I love this Deanna! I serve all the dishes buffet style in the kitchen and decorate the table with just the place settings and centerpiece! Everything stays warm and it's much more organized. And you are so right, it does not need to be over the top, but special...very special! I know your holiday is going to filled with fun, family and love!

  3. As you know, I love your method of roasting a turkey. This year, my daughter and I will be with my son and family. That turkey is going to get a roasting and Adam will be very diligent with his fussy, fancy meat thermometer. LOL!

    Is there a whole lot of packing going on?

  4. Extended family will gather Thursday-Saturday at Heritage Inn (Archbold OH). We'll actually travel over to spend the day Friday Usually this gathering is over the Christmas holiday, but this year we will celebrate my father's 90th birthday as well as the Thanksgiving holiday...

  5. Those are all great hospitality tips!!

    We will be hosting Thanksgiving again this year...minus a few, plus another...but it's all good. Christmas is on my radar, but that's as far as it's gotten. (Yikes!)


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