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THANKSGIVING PARTY PLANNING

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/7/2006 | Social Issues

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and good food. Naturally, Thanksgiving party planning can be a lot of fun, especially if you go by our advice. Heres how:


  •  Before you send out invites, consider what the party will be like -- formal with everyone dressed up or informal and relaxed
  • Do not invite more people than your dining table can accommodate. If you do, add extra tables or set up a buffet with extra chairs if necessary
  • Keep in mind the ages of the guests, and choose a time for the meal that suits them. For instance, children may get too tired and hungry if you slot a 1:00 pm meal. Also, consider seating for children based on age. Teenagers might enjoy the meal more seated together
  • If you know what dishes individual guests like, try and include as many of them as possible. You can always outsource the food. Best is to organize a potluck meal and ask guests bring their favorite dish.
  • Decide beforehand whether you want to have a buffet where people can watch a movie on TV as they eat.
  • Plan your menu well in advance, make a shopping list, and purchase all items at one go. If youre planning to use a fresh turkey, buy early. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes; sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and pies make a traditional Thanksgiving menu. If you are serving a large crowd, add a sliced honey ham and include plenty of appetizers.
  • Set your table before Thanksgiving morning. That way, you know you have the right table linen and placemats, and the crockery and cutlery too. Also have your table decorations ready.
  • To save clean-up time, use disposable tableware. Be sure you have enough serving dishes and utensils.
  • For a sit-down dinner, set your table the day before to minimize last-minute hitches.
  • For best results, make a checklist of things to be done on Thanksgiving Day, and do them before the day.
  • Also make a shopping list.  Include commonplace items like spices, butter, milk and sugar that may run out unexpectedly.
  • If you are cooking, start a day or two ahead with the casseroles and stuffing. Even pie can be made a day ahead and be perfectly fresh on the big day. If you are serving a very large crowd ask your guests to each bring a side dish or a pie, making sure no two people bring the same dish. Remember to thaw your turkey early if you arent using fresh turkey.
  • If you are serving a buffet, set up a table in the living room for appetizers and snacks. This way your guests can watch a Thanksgiving Day game while snacking. Set up the dinning room table with the main course.

Finally, remember that you need to relax, too. Thanksgiving Day is for having fun with your family and friends and all about enjoying wonderful food and company. So dont let Thanksgiving party planning rob you of your enjoyment.