Remember last year when I shared about how we make the holidays more enjoyable? Here’s the secret – we keep them simple. This year is no different. Simple ingredients for cooking, a simple menu that is tasty, and a simple plan for the day’s activities. With a simple plan our focus is to enjoy one another and our time together. By keeping celebrations simple, our lives feel less chaotic and we can focus on the things that really matter.
Celebrate Thanksgiving Simply
My mantra for Thanksgiving: Be thankful. Be present. Be appreciative.
Everything begins with whole food – fresh foods that are healthy for you. They’re all good, from scratch and (most) can be made ahead. Vegetables that don’t need to be peeled, green salad that comes pre-washed.
Here’s our Thanksgiving dinner menu – simple and easy:
- turkey – dry brined and grilled on our new Weber grill
- gravy – made with homemade chicken broth and drippings from the grill
- oyster and sausage stuffing – my husband’s signature dish
- mashed potatoes – that you don’t peel and can be made ahead
- cranberry sauce – with orange and ginger that can be made ahead
- fresh green salad with homemade dressing
- pumpkin pie – crust-less – but with vanilla ice cream
Here’s the game-plan for a simple schedule on Thanksgiving.
- Discussions and conversations: catch up with friends and family on last summer’s trip or what fall has been like. Ask lots of questions and not just ones that can be answered with a yes or no.
- Music: it always makes the day more festive with music. Make a playlist and enjoy. We usually add holiday music to the mix starting on Thanksgiving.
- Decorating: tablecloths and cloth napkins that have a harvest theme are my quick and easy methods to transform our dining room. Gourds and pumpkins make pretty centerpieces and then, you can eat them!
- Drinks: have plenty of choices available and ready for kids and adults alike.
- Fire: have a fire and cozy in while the turkey is cooking.
- Games: card games or simple board games that all ages can play are always fun. Charades is another game that puts everyone at ease and always produces lots of laughter.
- Assign: give assignments to share in the day. Have your kids set the table or enlist little ones to write out name tags for the table.
- Write: last year, we all had a paper shaped leaf to write what we were thankful for. We shared these before dinner and there was hardly a dry eye around the dinner table.
By keeping our celebrations simple, we can focus on the things that really matter and our time together. And save all the fighting for later. Wait – did I say that?
What’s your Thanksgiving mantra?
Go Gingham related links:
Grilled Thanksgiving turkey from two years ago
Cloth napkins for Thanksgiving that are made from an old skirt
A Thanksgiving tablecloth made with quilting techniques
Pumpkin spice cake would also make a nice dessert at Thanksgiving
Homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving – make it the day before!
Pumpkin and squash soup – it’s easy and delicious!