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What To Do When Hosting A Thanksgiving Feast
Hosting Your First Thanksgiving? Here are some Dos and Don'ts to pull it off without a HITCH!
Do: Invite new neighborhood residents and small families to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with you
Thanksgiving can be a very lonely time if you are new in town with no one to share common experiences. Think about the people who just bought a house down the street, or your single friend whose family lives in California. It is no time to leave those people out in the cold. Maybe they already have plans, but it is still a really nice gesture to make sure they are well taken care of during this holiday of family and sharing.
But don’t: Invite too many people
See above and note: It is very easy to go overboard. Think in advance about how many people you can seat at your dining table, or how many forks and knives you have. Don’t create an unnecessary headache for yourself by inviting too many people to be able to enjoy yourself. Give yourself a limit, confirm attendees and stick to it.
Do: Manage your guests’ expectations
Whether you are having a casual potluck or an all out spend-the-kids-tuition-money dinner, make sure to let your guests know. People are most comfortable if they know what they can expect because it helps them prepare, and it also helps them to decide what to wear, what to bring and what to cook.
But don’t: Be too dogmatic
Keep in mind that everyone has families, oven trouble, and cars that overheat in traffic. Don’t be so rigid in your planning that you wind up making everyone else miserable with your stress. This is all about food and fun. Remember that!
Do: Be a gracious hostess
Julia Child had a rule that she never critiqued her own cooking in front of guests. It’s a great rule to follow! If someone is loving your meatloaf and mashed potatoes what good does it do to point out the faults? Same goes if you are hosting: Welcome everyone warmly and appreciate their contribution and do not spend the evening apologizing for not having enough chairs, or fine china, or better wine or whatever. The most important part of being a gracious hostess is making people feel comfortable. No one feels good if you spend the whole afternoon criticizing your own set-up.
But don’t: Be a doormat
One year we had a big Thanksgiving Potluck and invited all of our family, and friends who had nowhere else to go, to join us for dinner. It was fun and rowdy … until it was time to clean up. People who had been happily eating and drinking to their hearts’ content just moments earlier, all of a sudden found themselves with places they “had to be”, leaving a small number of us to do all the washing up. That was very little fun. That was also the last time we hosted for about three years.
Do: Ask about food allergies
If you are inviting someone you don’t know well, just do a quick check. Severe anaphylaxis if they sniff a pecan? Better put those on the side of your spinach salad.
But don’t: Ask about food preferences
Okay, it’s Thanksgiving. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together is going to assume turkey, cranberry, some stuffing, some veggies and maybe some pie. If they don’t like any of those things then they can stay at home with frozen burritos. It’s not your job to come up with a replacement for the sweet potato casserole you’ve been imagining for two weeks because Doris just doesn’t like sweet potatoes.
Do: Accept offers of help
Thanksgiving is a day of, well, thanksgiving. So zip it and just THANKS and accept someone’s offer to help – set the table, load the dishwasher, do the dishes, sweep the floor, show up early, stay late … whatever. Take it! No need to be a hero.
But don’t: Count on someone else for the turkey
Only bad things will happen if you are expecting someone else to drive across town carrying a 16-pound carcass in their car, spilling juice all over the backseat and driving their dog nuts for the next 6 weeks. You are hosting. You make the turkey.
Do: Pay attention to details
Iron napkins, change lightbulbs, put on music, and get some extra toilet paper.
And don’t: Use paper plates
My stepmom was one of seven children, and her parents were of the opinion that with children and wives and grandchildren it was simply too much to do all that washing up, so they serve these large, incredible family dinners on paper plates. Fiddlesticks. I say all those people just mean more people to help clean up! This was a family of, literally, the best cooks you will ever come across. Any single dish of any one of theirs would be a family treasure for generations for anyone else. Put it on paper plates and inhale it? No way. Thanksgiving is a time to bust out the china (as is any other Thursday night, but let’s stick with Turkey Day here). As Nick said when David Cameron’s wife didn’t wear a hat to the Royal Wedding, “Really? What exactly is she saving it for?”
READY to Host your own Thanksgiving Feast? Call Justin M. Coleman with Randolph Realty Group to discuss your options today!
~Info provided by belleanee.com~