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Want to know the secret to hosting a Thanksgiving dinner your family will never forget?

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Start with your basics: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes… Make sure you have included all your family favorites. Some families like to add a special touch. For example, their tables aren’t complete until they put in the less traditional mac n’ cheese, while others like grilled cheese sandwiches. Remember the episode from Friends? There needed to be 3 different kinds of potatoes, mashed with lumps, mashed without lumps, and some tater tots. What are some of your unique traditions?

When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of FOOD, Thanksgiving Day Parade, Charlie Brown specials. But today for most of us, Thanksgiving means so much more. We hear Mom say "Thanksgiving," and we get excited because this has become a time of year where we spend time with family and friends that we may not see very often, maybe not even since last Thanksgiving. So let’s make it memorable and most importantly, FUN!

Here are some ideas to make this celebration stand out:

1. Get the kids involved. They can help set the table and even add their own personal touch. Have them create Thanksgiving-related arts and crafts to add to the table decor. This can include hand turkeys. Remember the kind you made in school? Start with an outline of your hand and decorate it with autumn colors.

Thanksgiving-related arts

2. Celebrate the past year’s accomplishments together. Has anyone started a new job this year, graduated elementary school and started middle school? Don't forget high school graduations, new jobs, as well as anniversaries and adoptions days. All reasons to celebrate with the gang!

past year’s accomplishments

3. Turn the tablecloth into a masterpiece. Use a large roll of paper and have a pack of crayons/markers for everyone to decorate their area of the table. Later you can frame the entire artwork, or cut it to give each person a souvenir from this special dinner.

Thanksgiving tablecloth

4. Decide to spend some family/friends quality time volunteering together. Look for a local soup kitchen, cheer up some patients in a nearby hospital, or volunteer at your local animal shelter.

family/friends quality time

5. Have every guest bring in a non-perishable item to donate to a local food drive. This time of year, most supermarkets accept donations and pass them along to Toys for Tots and other reputable charities. You don’t have to go far to do good.

donate to a local food drive

6. Why wait till dinner? Many of us spend the day cooking together, so let’s start with breakfast, tea or cake. Whatever it takes, before you dive into dinner prep, set some quality time to catch up, share stories and always include some laughs.

Thanksgiving dinner

7. Put cards next to every place setting so everyone can write down what they are thankful for. Share these with your family and friends around the table. See how many of you are thankful for the same reasons and how many of your loved ones surprised you with something you haven’t thought of and that you too are thankful for.

Put cards

8. With today’s technology, don’t forget those special people that couldn’t make it. Once you are all around the table, call/facetime family and friends and see their smiles. Just because you are not sitting around the same table doesn’t mean you can’t still eat and enjoy this time together. Set up a TV or phone at the end of the table and join two dinner tables from across the miles.

two dinner tables

This year, make it the year your friends and family will never forget. Make it the year you remember all your past traditions and add some new ones. What new tradition are you starting this year?

Before I leave you to your Thanksgiving preparations, I have a special link to share with you. I promise, no one else will have this personalized touch:

Just look at all your options. You can add a family photo, personalize with your name, family logo or anything that comes to mind. How unique can you make your table? This is your time to shine and show everyone you stand out. You didn’t just decorate and prepare food, you made it the dinner no one will ever forget.

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