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Friday, November 25, 2011

A Laid Back Guide to Hosting a Holiday Meal

I've done a traditional Thanksgiving meal before and I have the photos to prove it. But this year I took a different approach. Possibly a saner approach, definitely more laid back.

Since the end of October I've been recovering from a virus and haven't had the stamina or energy to do much more than work, drive my teenager around, and sleep. (You may have noticed my blogging dropped off for a while.) So I asked my husband if we could do things differently this Thanksgiving. He was all for it and the success of our holiday this year is due to him. Thanks Rob, for all your help getting the house cleaned up and entertaining our guests!

Here are our tips for a hassle free holiday meal:
  1. Have your guests come to you. Not having to travel definitely makes the holiday easier from the beginning.

  2. Have your guests bring most of the meal with them. Our guests brought dinner rolls, salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and a pumpkin pie. We contributed the meat, beverages, and additional desserts, which were all store bought.

  3. Rotisserie chicken

  4. Substitute rotisserie chicken for turkey. Simply pick up at the store shortly before your guests arrive. This was Rob's idea as he knows I don't like turkey much. He bought three of these chickens.

  5. Use decorative paper products instead of dishes to make your clean up easier. As we don't own a dish washer and have to do it all by hand, we estimate we saved at least two hours of dish washing time.

  6. Kids table

    Adults table

  7. Schedule your meal for supper rather than lunch, so you can spend the morning in your pajamas watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

I enjoyed this holiday much more than the fancier, labor-intensive feasts I'd hosted previously. This year I sat among my guests instead of at the end of the table and heard more of the conversation. I still didn't get it all but Rob filled me in later on the parts I missed. When our guests were leaving and Rusty got up on the table to snag some pie crusts, I didn't even get upset. Just laughed it off as "oh that dog". Then instead of commencing a massive cleanup effort, Rob and I relaxed on the couch and watched movies.

I know this style of entertaining isn't for everyone and I don't know if we'll do it again this way or not, but it sure was a great change of pace. Hope your holiday was a safe, happy, and delicious one.


Anonymous said...

Thats a much better way to do it Sarah. And you can have fun and be more involved in the process! And still contribute to the meal.

Anonymous said...

Another option would be to pre-order a complete dinner from the local supermarket, if that is an option. I did that one year when I had a broken ankle. Included everything but the pie.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks, Liz!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

@ Anonymous,
I will keep that in mind for future. Thanks for sharing the idea.
All the best,