I’m so excited for this holiday season. There’s something about Halloween parties and coming down off the sugar coma that makes me excited to start focusing on family and gratitude and what’s important (not that I don’t totally love a spooky good time). It seems like November and December are 8 weeks of glorious celebrating and spending time in a big warm hug with your family and friends. That said, the holidays can invoke a bunch of stress if you’re not prepared. This year, I’m hoping to help add a little handmade to your holiday and take off some of the pressure to be perfect. Here are my top tips for hosting a wonderful Thanksgiving feast and not feeling like you missed out by spending the entire time in the kitchen.
- Delegate. There, I said it. I love having control, but if I’m going to really enjoy the holiday I’m going to have to plan and delegate. So all those amazing things you planned to do – write them down. Pick the most important and do those. Then the second tier items – hand those off to others. So the handmade invites you intended on crafting for this year’s Thanksgiving feast – delegate it. (To me!) Print these off right now and get them trimmed up. And make sure to print off 1 extra page of place cards and napkin rings just in case you have extra last minute visitors.
- Make the meal about family. I think many families have traditions when it comes to holiday celebrating. Instead of trudging through it all, pick your favorites and stick with them. Growing up, my family had always done Thanksgiving as a potluck. Now that I have my own family and we sometimes do Thanksgiving alone (we live out of state and can’t always travel) I’ve felt overwhelmed in years past to put on the perfect meal. One person recreating the work that was done by 5 grown women is insane. Especially when you’re only cooking for your husband and 2 small children. Last year I asked my daughter and husband to pick their favorite things from Thanksgiving feasts and we made those. My sweet girl wanted a party punch. I made sure to have her help and she’s talked about it all year and has already mentioned how she’s looking forward to it this year.
- Make the day more than just a meal. I think somewhere there’s a handbook that says it has to include football. If that’s your family’s thing – great. In year’s past we’ve participated in a Turkey Trot, played lawn games in the backyard, raked leaves at my grandparents, watched the parade in our pajamas, or gone on a long walk or hike as a family. As the mom, I feel overwhelmed that I can’t participate in these things if I’m going to get the food on. Well – go back to #1 and delegate. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.
Bonus Tip: Take Pictures. I have a dear friend who is a shining light when it comes to taking pictures. I often see her digital pages and posts of her little family doing fun things and I’m just a touch jealous that she has pictures capturing those moments. For some reason, I always forget to take pictures of the doing and not just the big formal picture at the end of the activity. So I’m planning to stop for 5 seconds this holiday and capture the burnt marshmallows being scraped off the sweet potatoes (yes, it’s bound to happen) and the family all sacked out for the post-feast nap.
Download Gather Thanksgiving Table Scape Items*
*This download includes:invites, napkin rings, place cards. The 11″ x 14″ pictured above is available for purchase in the shop.
- white card stock
- bone folder or ruler
- scissors or paper trimmer
- color printer or favorite copy shop for printing
Finished sizes: Napkin ring – 8″ x 1″; Place card – 2.5″ x 2″, folded; invite – 6.25″ x 4.5″
- Download and print your table scape items right now – that way you won’t have to worry about it as it gets closer to the Turkey Day.
- Use a bone folder or a ruler and the tip of your scissors to score a fold line on the place cards. Make sure to score on the back of the card so that if the paper breaks as you fold, it will happen on the inside of the card.
- Forgo the envelopes for your invites – hand-deliver them for a more personal touch.
- Print an extra page of place cards and napkin rings so you’ll have extras if you make a spelling error or add extra guests at the last minute
- The place cards can also be used for table tents (for large events) or as food labels on the buffet table.