This is my first time hosting Thanksgiving and, incidentally, not on Thanksgiving Day. My sister lives down south and must work on Friday so my family will be celebrating this weekend. That means you get to benefit from my trial and error as I learn along the way. I considered I would share some of the cheap, simple little touches I am placing on the event to help remember Thanksgiving which makes me feel damn excellent wearing an apron.
I desired a little Turkey Day decoration, but nothing over-the-top that would devastate me, be too time-consuming or cost more than a few bucks to pull together. So, I headed over to Michael’s and went browsing in search of inspiration. For around $10, here’s what we created:
We got these cute little cloth leaves I wrote all our guests’ names on and then hot glued into the pinecones. The pinecones were $2.50 for a large bag, and the leaves were below $3 for 36 in a variety of sizes.
I had a good deal of extras, so I used them to create some welcoming pinecones in a basket (yeah, that is something) for our entryway table. These will possibly look better in your home if your cursive is far better than mine.
Next, I found some small pumpkins and cut a hole in the center large enough to fit a tea light, so we roughed it with a paring knife. I believe they turned out much well considering, but you could probably make them look much less ghetto if you use the drill. I call it a rustic charm.
Once I made these, I saw a parallel tutorial using apples. So I got me a few Granny Smiths and moved to town the same way I did the pumpkins. And placed them on our bar area, the green apples provided a nice pop of color.
Setting The Table
I also saw this tutorial for folding a swanky looking triple pocket napkin on interest, which I am pretty jazzed about introduction at dinner. It takes like 20 seconds (that’s what she said) and will make an excellent addition to your desk.
You could almost certainly do it with some patterned paper napkins, also, if you are like us and need to literally dust off the fabric napkins for their yearly debut.
Another option is to make custom cards and have guest write a listing of the things for which we are thankful for every year. I found these super simple cards online, but might even go easier and just use index cards.
The point is that I wish to save them so we could back as a family on all we were grateful for every year. As kids grow up it will be fun to see how their lists change.
Moving onto the food…that, as we all know, is the real star of the show. I am fortunate that my family is ready to pitch in with lots of the appetizers, desserts, and sides, but here are some of the highlights of our meal.
The creamy pumpkin and butternut squash soup will be a part of the first course, served with green salad and bread. I figured it would give me a while to get everything else in bowls and platters while everybody enjoys and digests.
I made it a little lighter by adding fat-free half and a half and threw in some pumpkin pie spice and crushed red pepper to liven it up. I will serve it with some fresh grated parmesan cheese and croutons.
It is super simple and really delicious. I will make the soup the night before (it tastes good reheated) and use the Crockpot to keep warm and free up a larger pot for different foods.
My sister will probably be making this veggie turkey to the second year, which is a cute way to style up your veggie platter. I would not go out of your way to create it if you are not planning to provide these veggies anyway, but it is a relatively easy one in case you’ve already got the stuff available.
I made a lot (6 different loaves of crusty bread), and it gave me three sturdy freezer bags of cubed bread goodness. That appears to be the tricky part so much hard as time-consuming) but the rest seems pretty straightforward. I will use chicken broth rather than bouillon cubes (not a fan of these things) and add some diced onions and celery.
Finally, going to have beverages, I am making this holiday sangria, which sounds yummy and seems easy peasy. I considered a hot spiked cider, but I expect plenty of running around, a steamy kitchen and a lot of bodies which makes me not too keen on a favorite drink.
What types of small touches are you placing on your Thanksgiving? Are you an old pro or a newbie like me? If you’re a guest, is there a particular dish that you always bring to your Thanksgiving meal?