Stress Free Thanksgiving Entertaining

Autumn is that magical time of the year when leaves put on their most stunning color display and dance to celebrate the arrival of harvest time. Every day the air gets a little chillier and the drinks warmer, which means Fall is upon us, and more specifically Thanksgiving is nearly here. In a day that celebrates gratitude, and let’s be honest, food, it can become a bit overwhelming to plan the perfect gathering for you and your guests to enjoy. Worry not, these 4 tips will show you how to throw a memorable get-together that will only bring with it great memories (and minimal stress!).

Lighten the Load

Why not change things up a bit this year? Instead of arduously cooking for a whole week, focus on providing the basics (turkey, a few sides, and beverages). When you send out invitations, include a section for guests to sign up to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish (dessert or savory). You can either assign dishes, or let each guest pick. Make a list of what everyone is bringing so there won’t be any repeats. The result will be a delicious spread of foods and flavors that everyone will enjoy trying, as well as a lighter load for you. When guests arrive, transfer the food onto your own serving platters to keep everything looking gorgeous and uniform. Plan where each dish will go the day before so that you’re not trying to figure out how to fit it all together the day of.

Set up for Success

Instead of setting up your food in the table (which can quickly become cluttered) assign a separate table to hold all of the food buffet style. That way, guests will have an easier time coming back for second and third helpings. Having separate tables also gives you more room to get creative with the decorations. This is an ideal opportunity to repurpose furniture in your home, so anything like an ornate dresser or desk makes for a great buffet table. You can also use antique boxes, cake stands, and pedestals to prop up platters and add height to the table. One vital thing to include in your decorations is labels for each dish, so people won’t have to guess at what they are and will know exactly what they’re getting. There are plenty of free printable label options you can find online.

Set the Mood

The second thing guests will notice when they walk into your home is the visual mood that you have set. (The first is how amazing everything smells). Since you’ll be doing less cooking than usual this year, you can dedicate that extra time to your Thanksgiving decor and table setting. The first thing you’ll need to figure out is what color scheme you’ll follow this year, this will set your ‘signature look’. The easiest way to do it is to find a piece of autumnal decor that you love, observe the colors that make it up, and style everything around that one piece. One great piece to do this with is a patterned table runner that adds instant elegance, and serves as the decorative base.

Another great way to include the magical beauty of fall in your decor is to literally bring the outdoors inside. There are plenty of colorful branches, leaves, and berries that you can find outside your home. Gather them, and add these pops of nature throughout your dining table and buffet. You can use floral wire to connect branches with colorful leaves and fasten that to the edges of your buffet for a beautiful organic look. Don’t forget to use harvest elements like pumpkins and gourds throughout your decor as well. These can easily be transformed into luxurious decor accents that match your specific aesthetic by spray painting them in colorful and metallic hues, the possibilities are endless. Get creative with it!

For a perfect final touch, include place cards for each of your guests. It’s a thoughtful detail that will make them feel special. They don’t have to be complicated! Just follow the color scheme you’ve set up, and find a printable online that matches it. Something useful you can do with these is add a stretchable string to each one so that guests can loop it around their drinks, which will help avoid any confusion about whose drink it is as the day goes on.

Pack it up

Leftovers are arguably one of the best parts of a food centered holiday like Thanksgiving. Give your guests something to look forward to when they get home by setting up a food packaging station with go-to containers for them to take home. Add personal touches like themed labels and matching colored string to wrap around the boxes, and you’re all set.

With these tips you’re sure to have a memorable, delicious, and stress free Thanksgiving gathering that all of your guests will enjoy and remember for years to come. If you are in need of fall decorations, materials for DIY projects, or even any help with decor ideas, come by the store. We’re here to help!