Though there tends to be a time crunch around Thanksgiving (and Christmas), making the holiday get-togethers especially meaningful can still be included on your jam-packed agenda. Here are some creative – yet easy – ideas to welcome your guests and give them something to take home.
Instead of making traditional place cards (or if you've never used place cards), design and print out labels with individual guests names on them and wrap them around a candy bar. Use the candy bars as place cards the guests can take home for a sweet treat later on in the evening.
On ribbon or tags, write "friends" or "family" or another word that represents something or someone for which you are thankful. Attach the ribbons or tags to mini pumpkins or gourds and place them on the table for each guest to take home as a reminder that they are appreciated.
Even though guests fill up during the Thanksgiving feast, they may need a travel snack if they are making a long drive back home. Fix them a Thanksgiving snack bag.
Fill little baggies with Thanksgiving Snack Mix (recipe below) or Pumpkin Seed Brittle (recipe below) and hand them out as guests leave – or tag them with guests' names and use them as place cards on the holiday table.
Makes 8 servings
This snack mix is especially Thanksgiving-themed in that each ingredient symbolizes something special having to do with Thanksgiving. Attach a note card explaining each ingredient to the bag - this is a great way to teach the kiddos about the meaning of Thanksgiving.
2 cups Bugles corn snacks (horn of plenty)
2 cups pretzels (arms folded in thanks)
1 cup candy corn (corn that pilgrims ate at the first Thanksgiving)
1 cup dried fruit (a sweet harvest)
1 cup nuts or sunflower seeds (a bountiful harvest)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and spoon into plastic bags.
Makes 12 servings
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds
1. Lay a large sheet of parchment paper on a flat work surface.
2. Combine sugar, water and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
3. Cook mixture, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 238 degrees F., about 10 to 12 minutes. Be sure to wash down the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush.
4. Take pot off of heat and stir in seeds with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring mixture until it begins to crystallize, about 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Place pot back on heat and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture becomes a deep caramel color. Pour caramel mixture onto the parchment paper and place another piece of parchment on top.
6. Using a rolling pin, roll out as thin as possible. Peel off top piece of parchment and cut into pieces with a knife. Let brittle cool and carefully remove paper.
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