Hosting ideas for Thanksgiving

You’re in charge of Thanksgiving dinner this year. To spare you from getting stressed out over making sure everything is perfect, we share some tips and tricks that will make you the perfect Thanksgiving host.

Stress-free entertaining
Thanksgiving table

From centrepiece ideas to tips on making your event cozy and welcoming, here are some easy ways to ensure your Thanksgiving gathering is a grand success.

Candles

What’s better than walking into a home that smells like baked cookies or cake? Why not recreate that same sweet, warm scent with candles? Scented candles come in all sorts of delicious scents that are sure to entice your guests and tickle their taste buds. A pumpkin- or vanilla-scented candle gives an inviting, cozy feeling to your home. Of course, you could always just bake a pie and cookies. You wouldn’t want to be a tease and then not deliver on the dessert.

Centrepieces

Make your dining table dazzle with fall-inspired centrepieces that are effortless to make. Gather a few pine cones from the backyard, and place them in a glass bowl along with any gold or orange ball ornaments you have. You’ll have an instant centrepiece that’s both elegant and inspired by the season’s colours. Or buy a small- to medium-size pumpkin as well as a few apples, plums and whatever other fruit or vegetables you think would look nice, and place them all in a wicker basket to create a beautiful centrepiece that’s truly inspired by bountiful gifts to be thankful for.

Place settings

If you’re particular about details, you may decide to have a special seating arrangement with place settings. These details don’t have to be hard or time-consuming to create. Count the number of guests you’ll have, and buy that many mini pumpkins. With a glitter pen and in nice cursive writing, spell out the name of each guest on each pumpkin. Another place setting idea that guests can even take home is candy apple place settings. Specialty and some grocery stores sell candy apples you can wrap in clear paper and a pretty ribbon. Attach a name tag to the ribbon as you tie it around the candy apple, and it doubles as dessert. This idea could easily extend to small, nicely wrapped bags of a couple of homemade gingerbread or oatmeal-cranberry cookies for each guest.

Get creative with appetizers

If you’re having a traditional turkey Thanksgiving feast, you still have room to get creative with your appetizers. Experiment with apples and different types of cheeses to serve with crackers. Pair brie or blue cheese with apples on whole-grain crackers for a surprisingly delicious and easy snack. Try something new with yams this year by preparing them as seasoned and baked wedges guests can enjoy before the turkey. Serve ethnic dips and sauces for your fresh cut vegetables. Guests will appreciate a different take on old favourites.

Plan ahead

Whatever you decide to do this Thanksgiving while hosting friends and family, be sure to plan ahead to avoid any mishaps and stress. If you’re not sure how long the turkey will take to roast in the oven, prepare it a bit earlier. If you’re running low on time, buy a dessert or ask a guest to bring their favourite to share. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. If finances are tight, budget how much you want to spend on food and decorations ahead of time. Planning ahead will give you the time to get creative with your decor and meal choices, and make your Thanksgiving celebration one to remember.

More on Thanksgiving dinner

Canadian Thanksgiving dinner recipes
Tips for throwing the prefect Thanksgiving dinner
Tasty Thanksgiving recipes for a stress-free holiday meal

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