tips for a terrific turkey day

As Thanksgiving approaches, we know that what happens on this day can set the mood for the other holidays to come. With so many challenges of time, money and emotional stresses among them, we've got a few tried and true tips to make sure this holiday is low on wear and tear and high on good times, good food and happy memories. Read our list of possibilities and apply those which will work best for you. Remember, this is supposed to be a loving time full of thanks, not another stressful obligation. We're so thankful for your support, we wanted to give a little thanks right back to you. Enjoy!

1. Huddle together - If your group 12 or less, try to get everyone at the same table for Thanksgiving Dinner. It may be that this is the one time you are all able actually to eat a meal together. If you have to do some creative table-setting, don't worry about it. We had to put two office tables we use as desks together, but covered with tablecloths, given some nice plates, silverware and candlesticks, they worked out just fine.

2. Spread out - If you have a larger group and space in the house, spread things out to make sure people mix and mingle. You can put the bar and drinks in one area, snacks and appetizers in another, desserts or coffee and tea somewhere else. Be sure that people have an incentive to go from one area to another by putting plates, napkins & silverware around so they can dip in where they like. If you have a vast array of items or items that may not be familiar, you can make little table cards that identify each dish.

3. Decorate for the mood - If you feel like making this Thanksgiving a peaceful and relaxing one, then be sure your decor reflects that attitude. Glowing candles, fresh flowers, crisp linens and soft music can really set the tone. If you're planning more of a fun get together for family and friends, you can easily capture the spirit with whimsical items from accordion paper turkey table toppers and thanksgiving plates and napkins to cornucopia centerpieces and seasonal wall hangings.


4. Buffet all the way - Even if you prepare everything for the meal yourself, it's best to set it out buffet style. Everyone has their own preferences for things to eat and trying to serve plated dinners, especially to a large group on such an occasion will generally result in some getting less of their favorite sweet potato dish and other feeling obligated to eat the green beans they don't like. Set the buffet table up in an easily accessible location so that no one is disturbed when someone goes back for seconds. If you have a lot of desserts, you can switch them out on the buffet for the main dinner items when the time comes, if you like.

5. Try BYOF for a change - When you love to cook and your friends and family love to eat, its easy to become the sole cook for Thanksgiving dinner. And even though you probably have a set of specific dishes that are traditionally prepared for this festive meal in your home, it's a fun alternative to have everyone else bring something to share. Bring Your Own Favorite is a way to ease some of the burden from the host chef and also to be sure to accommodate special dishes that one only gets on special occasions. When orchestrating the additional dishes, be sure to record who is bringing what, and if someone is not sure what to bring, direct them to something you don't already have. As much as stuffing or sweet potatoes are loved, no one wants to see five kinds of them at the same table. If someone doesn't cook, they can bring drinks or dinner rolls or dip or something yummy from the store. If you plan or want to make the turkey, it's perfectly okay to ask someone else (especially someone who is bringing several others) to make another protein, such as a ham, roast beef or leg of lamb.


6. Go out and go ethnic - If you prefer to have a day out of the kitchen, why not go out for a Thanksgiving dinner on the town? There are plenty of places offering a traditional dinner with all the fixins. But for a real treat, why not move a little out of the traditional and go somewhere that has an ethnic or unusual flavor twist. One year, when living in New York, PoshGirl Diana's family came for the holiday. Living in an apartment that barely had a kitchen, much less a dining table, going out was the best option. We went out for a Southwestern Thanksgiving, with Tex-Mex rubbed turkey, chili & cornbread stuffing, smokey sweet potatoes and other tasty treats. It was delicious and memorable in a way that didn't try to compete with a home-cooked holiday meal.


7. Give Thanks by giving back - At PoshPorts, we are overwhelmed by the abundance in our lives every day. And yet we are ever aware of the lack that so many are experiencing, both near us at home and far away. That's why part of our charter is Doing Good & Giving Back. And we can't think of a better time or a better way to show thanks for all the wonderful good in our lives than to share ourselves, our time, our talents, our money with those in need. You might feel the same way too. If so, you can find so many ways to make a difference this Thanksgiving. Help prepare or serve a meal at a nearby homeless shelter. Donate canned goods to a local food bank. Give extra clothes or coats to your nearby Veteran's, Salvation Army, GoodWill or other thrift shop. Spend some time with the elderly who may not have family to share the holidays with at at retirement home. Or visit children in the hospital at a pediatric ward. Just showing you care and giving back such a little is guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving truly memorable. If you want to make a difference right now in the lives of families struggling to survive in the poorest regions of the world, please DONATE TO HEIFER INTERNATIONAL through our PoshPorts Team Heifer on the website. Your donation will help fill an ark with animals that can save lives and ensure a future for those most in need. May you and yours have an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving.