Gatherings & Gratitude – Encouragement for hosting your first Thanksgiving
Encouragement for hosting your first Thanksgiving
By Lisa Jenkins-Moore
Sandwiched between the gore of Halloween and the glory of Christmas is a holiday we should take time to savor—Thanksgiving. With so much to give thanks for and the opportunity to gather with friends and family for good food and fellowship, Thanksgiving is to be cherished. If you have the honor of hosting the celebration in your home this year, consider the following tips.
Keep it Cozy
Anytime we entertain guests in our home, extra attention to detail is required. Beyond your regular cleaning, pay special attention to the restrooms, baseboards, air vents, ceiling fans, and countertops. Be meticulous in the areas where guests will spend the most time. A clean house is the foundation of a relaxing time, but don’t forget the atmosphere. Creative lighting, candles, oil diffusers, and background music can add to the warmth of the environment and make guests feel even more at home. Consider your furniture arrangement—is the seating accessible and inviting? Are any of the guests disabled and in need of a larger path to walk through? Evaluate your home with guests in mind, as the day should be focused on their comfort and convenience rather than the perfect layout.
Keep it Classic
Pinterest carries an appeal of its own, and holiday ideas are abundant. However, there are as many Pinterest fails as there are successes. If you are drawn to try a new recipe or presentation, make sure to do a test run before your actual party. The last thing a hostess needs is the added pressure that comes from uncertainty. Thanksgiving holds centuries of tradition, so classic fare such as turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole is always a hit. If possible, find out in advance if guests have food allergies or sensitivities in order to offer them
Keep it Cordial
Family gatherings are not the time to discuss hot emotional issues like politics and religion, especially if guests have differing views. As the host, be aware of conversations and try to be proactive to steer guests in a positive direction if topics veer off course. It doesn’t hurt to have a few conversation ideas prepared—interesting books you’ve read, vacation experiences your guests recently enjoyed, or a review of a new restaurant—light, engaging conversation will make your guests feel at ease and more likely to interact with one another.
Remember not to get so caught up in the execution of the perfect Thanksgiving experience that you miss the significance of the day. Take time to relax, take a few deep breaths, and reflect on the beauty and grace in your life. Don’t do it all yourself if you have friends and family members offering to contribute. Let someone bring a side dish or dessert, or allow someone to arrive early to help you with last minute pick up or décor. Regardless of the circumstances, we can all find something to be thankful for—and gratitude is good for the soul.