Turkey day is almost here — what are your plans besides cooking the bird? If you want to throw an event that your guests will adore, you need to go beyond stuffing and cranberry sauce.
If you want to dazzle your attendees, throw a celebration that they won’t forget. Here are eight suggestions for making the most of Thanksgiving despite the madness of 2020.
Do you serve the same old, same old, year after year? While there’s much to say for tradition — and your partner’s joking threats to divorce you if you don’t make his favorite sweet potato pie — there’s also a case for originality.
For example, if you always start with a salad, why not go for a simple and elegant spicy Moroccan carrot version for a twist on classic baby greens? This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, making it ideal for guests with dietary restrictions.
Most chefs cook with the hopes that guests will devour everything on their plates. However, when it comes to Thanksgiving, it helps to keep leftovers in mind when you prepare. Besides, if you cook for a large clan, they may all want a taste to take home.
For example, sliced turkey breast tucked inside lettuce leaves makes an easy lunch or snack. If your guests plan on remaining for the big game, make sure you have some scallions, pecans or walnuts and a sauce like soy sauce on hand. You can set out a tray so that attendees can assemble snacks between plays.
You can go with store-bought pumpkin pie, but where’s the originality there? Instead of a one-size-fits-all dessert, make a tray that lets guests select from the following:
● Gluten-free pumpkin-ginger cupcakes: This dessert delights guests with dietary restrictions, and the ginger helps soothe sore, overexerted tummies.
● Lemon-cranberry pie bars: They’re tart, they’re tangy and they’re sweet — all the goodness of dessert rolled up in one.
● Pumpkin cheesecake bars with caramel swirl: What’s fall without at least a little pumpkin spice? These combine the flavor you love with salty caramel for a delicious treat.
Not everyone drinks alcohol and some folks who normally imbibe sign up for designated driver shifts. Being responsible doesn’t equate to wanting to sip on a kids’ juice box with Thanksgiving dinner. Most varieties don’t pair well with turkey.
Make them feel every bit as elegant as your tipsier guests with this non-alcoholic spicy pear punch. Even your little ones will feel like grownups with their “cocktail” in hand.
If you want guests to kick off their shoes and stay a spell, you need to make them feel cozy and welcome. Lots of folks like to take a quick snooze after their meal — break out your extra throws and pillows.
Set the mood with elegant electric candles — you won’t have to worry about fire risk. Plus, paraffin wax candles emit toxins like toluene. Besides, you won’t be able to detect scented versions over the flavorful aromas from your kitchen. If you must have fragrance, use an aromatherapy mister and a few drops of essential oils — it won’t irritate allergies like chemical sprays.
It’s 2020, the year of isolation, and your guests probably delight in company of any kind, no matter how small your gathering. However, it’s still wise to have plenty of games ready for post-meal fun.
If the weather proves agreeable, head outside. Create a pigskin challenge by hanging a hula hoop from a tree or wash line. The goal is to throw the football through the ring as contestants move progressively further away from the target.
Indoors, get out a few decks of cards. Adults can start up a game of Texas hold ‘em while the little ones play rummy or go fish.
Has 2020 been a crazy year for sports, or what? If you are a season-ticket holder, you probably lament not being able to enjoy the game from the stands.
Why not do the next best thing by taking the Thanksgiving day games outdoors? You can rent a projector — you might even find one for free at your local library. Provide plenty of warm clothes and blankets and light the fire pit and patio heaters. You’ll feel warmer than you would in the stands.
Do you have young kids who want to get in on the fun? Give your guests some Monopoly money they can use to buy overpriced peanuts and other snacks from the “stadium vendors.”
One tradition you don’t want to skip this year is going around the table and expressing gratitude. However, doing so the old-fashioned way makes those who go last feel terribly unoriginal when they reply with “my family” like the four people who gave thanks before them.
Instead, why not make it a game by playing charades and acting out what fills you with gratitude. Since you should keep your gatherings small, divide players into two teams. The losing one has to do the dishes.
2020 has been a year to remember, but Thanksgiving reminds us to find gratitude amid the chaos. Make your feast extra-memorable this year with the eight tips above.