How to Host a Simple Real-Life Thanksgiving

I love family get togethers, but even more I love simple and easy family get togethers. Especially when I am pregnant (aka: fat and lazy with a real excuse this time!). Everyone else in the blogging world seems to be posting all of their super cute, but overdone holiday plans. I sometimes do cute crafts and things, but our dinners are usually very simple and easy. Even when I don’t have the pregnancy excuse. I wanted to show you what we will be doing to make things simple and easy this year.

Rule #1: Delegate! Have guests bring their favorite dish. Some are still going to be cooked at my house but they are bringing everything and doing the cooking of their dish.

Rule #2: Anything from scratch can/should be prepared ahead. Yes, it’s pretty much too late to prepare ahead. Go buy some boxed/canned/frozen stuff instead. You can say you made it from scratch. I won’t tell…plus you did “Scratch the box open!”

Our Thanksgiving Menu:
Veggie Platter (Brought by Dad)
Turkey (Cooked in a Bag, Once it’s in the oven I don’t have to worry until the timer goes off)
Gravy (The package that comes inside the turkey or powdered but with the broth from the turkey)
Green Chile Cheese Tamales (Prepared Yesterday, Just need to steam them)
Mashed Potatoes (Brought by Mother-in-law)
Sweet Potatoes (Brought by Dad)
Cooked Veggies (Brought by Mother-in-law)
Stuffing (From a box)
Cranberry Sauce (From a can)
Rolls (Brought by Dad)

Apple Pie (Frozen)
Pumpkin Pie (Brought by Dad or Sisters)
Chocolate Mousse Praline Pecan Pie (Brought by Dad or Sisters)

Rule #3: Don’t decorate. Unless you decorated at the beginning of the month.

My decorations are minimal. I would love to add to them, but not this year. I decorate my table with the food, that’s all anyone wants to see anyway! This year the only decoration I made was this basket, and I still have a few little pumpkins out from Halloween. (See my tutorials on creating easy fabric pumpkins and a fabric pumpkin basket)

Rule #4: Use “Fancy Dishes” We use “fancy dishes” meaning we get paper plates and cups.

There are enough dishes from making the food that I don’t want to add to the work when we are done eating. Throw out the dishes and sit and relax. Spend time talking with everyone and enjoying their company.

Rule #5: Accept guest’s help when they offer. Or if you are close enough to them, just demand their help!

I try to have all of my tupperware clean and ready (but still tucked away in the cupboard), ziplock bags in an easy-to-get to spot and have a stack of clean butter tubs or other “disposable containers” ready so that after dinner when people want to help clean up I can say here you go, fill these up and put them away. The disposable containers and ziplock bags are perfect for sending food home with guests because they won’t have to worry about returning your tupperware.

I will also put people to work with wiping off counters and putting dishes in the dishwasher. I try to make sure the dishwasher is empty before everyone comes over too.

It can be stressful to host Thanksgiving or any big get together, but if you plan on making it easy for yourself and everyone else it can be a nice relaxing holiday to spend time with family and friends instead of being stuck in the kitchen cooking, cleaning and decorating.

Check out these great and easy dinner ideas for Turkey leftovers!