Just having a beautiful home doesn’t make a perfect holiday dinner.
Yes, it helps to have the ability to dim the lighting beautifully so it cascades off the beautifully set China…and a large space for a table for many makes for a cozy, yet comfortable dining experience…and the leaves that crunch under your boots as you enter a gorgeously-decorated, autumn-inspired front entryway helps too! But it’s really the atmosphere created by the smells, laughter, and company of your loved ones that creates the perfect Thanksgiving!
So how do you make the most of your food, company, and home to create a “perfect” Thanksgiving? With careful consideration of all these elements, delivered in a package that’s perfectly “you!”
The Perfect Thanksgiving Food
The key to a delicious spread to to stick closely to your comfort zone in the kitchen. Avoid the temptation to try a complicated new recipe for the first time, and stick with sides and menu options you’re comfortable with. No one says you HAVE to have the typical turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. If you make a killer London Broil with roasted root veggies…do that! The key to hosting is a host or hostess who is relaxed, confident, and not so preoccupied with cooking that they forget about their guests. Here are a few of our favorite little-hassle Thanksgiving recipes, as well as some tips for hassle-free Thanksgiving cooking:
The Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape
A beautifully set table sparks the palette and invites conversation. Keep the tablescape beautiful, but simple, with a centerpiece that’s not too high or big to obstruct vision or conversation. Fill the table with appetizing elements that enhance the meal, rather than compete with it; for example, herbs, foliage, pumpkins, cranberries, and cornucopias.
You can also use the table as an opportunity to commemorate the occasion, by having guest sign the tablecloth, or make brown paper place mats where guests can write down what they are thankful for this year, and where the kids can color.
The Perfect Conversation
There’s nothing worse than a silent dinner. But you can avoid this by creating a list of Turkey Table Topics to prompt conversation. Some ideas include questions like,
- What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
- What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving?
- Would you have rather been a Pilgrim or a Native American?
- What’s your least favorite Thanksgiving dish?
- What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
Modern Parents Messy Kids has free, Printable Conversation Starters Centered Around Gratitude which can be used throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Perfect Lighting
Don’t forget to set the mood with good lighting! Whether you are a “by candlelight” kind of host, or like a perfectly lit space created with overhead lighting, the way you light up your space creates a mood for the dinner. Play with (or easily install if needed), dimmer switches in your dining space, and don’t forget to add ambiance with outdoor lighting in the entry way and outdoor spaces as well!
The Perfect Spirits
Finally, to finish off the perfect Thanksgiving, don’t forget the festive holiday spirits. Don’t limit yourself to a nice bottle of wine. There are a variety of fall-flavored festive spirits you can create like:
The key to a “perfect” Thanksgiving isn’t perfection at all; rather, it’s the thoughtful approach to creating a dinner party that’s fun, interactive and perfectly–you!