To help you mark the start of the holiday season and celebrate all you have to be thankful for, we’ve rounded up a few ideas to inspire your thanksgiving / friendsgiving gathering this year.
From traditional nosh, serving ideas and games, there’s only one mode you need for Thanksgiving Day and that’s feast mode.
What is Thanksgiving and why do we celebrate it?
Thanksgiving is a National holiday celebrated in America every year on the fourth Thursday in November and in Canada on the second Monday of October.
It marks the start of the holiday season and traditionally, involves tucking into a seriously good feast of turducken and all the trimmings with friends and family.
The origins of Thanksgiving Day go back to when Europeans travelled to start new lives in America. In 1621, the ‘Pilgrims’ – as they became known – dedicated a day to give thanks to God and celebrate a plentiful harvest after enduring many hardships that came with pioneering a new land.
They proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving and invited their friends both from within the colony and neighbouring Native tribes to a great feast which we now recognise as Thanksgiving dinner.
Use dried flowers and fall foliage
Adorn your table with all the textures and colours of fall by using small bouquets of dried flowers in vases, baby pumpkins and leaves to create a rustic tablescape bursting with nature.
Mix and match your tableware
Play with prints, clash colours, bring out the novelty plates. Nothing’s too kitsch or extra for a Thanksgiving table. Nothing.
Mood-lighting is a must
Use a mix of pillar candles and tapered candles to light your Thanksgiving table and create a cosy ambience. Just be mindful not to place tall candles directly in front of someone’s face – aunt Meredith’s corneas would quite like to see another Thanksgiving dinner, ya know.
Play the “I’m thankful for” guessing game
For those people who clam up at the thought of going around the table and saying what you’re grateful for, you can be excused and give thanks for this game, instead. Less on-the-spot pressure to come up with something meaningful and way more fun – it’s a win, win situation.
Get everyone to write down what they’re thankful for on strips of paper. You can go as sentimental or funny as you like. Fold them up and mix them into a hat or bowl and once everyone’s contributed, pull out the comments and guess who gave thanks for what. Keep it clean, Linda. Keep it clean.
Watch re-runs of “Friends”
Ain’t nothing to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit like Joey with his head up a turkey’s arse and Chandler’s toe/carrot on ice.
Friends blessed us with many iconic Thanksgiving episodes throughout its 10 season long run. There was The One With All The Thanksgivings, The One Where Ross Got High, The One With The Football and The One With Chandler In A Box. It’s the sit-com gift that keeps on giving so whichever season you choose to binge on in your post-feast happiness, you can guarantee it’ll be kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck-fantastic.
If you’re hosting the big event this year, take the pressure off by delegating dishes to friends and family. You roast the bird and your squad can bring a selection of other classic Turkey Day plates, puddings and homemade condiments to help ease the organising.
Have a game of Cards Against Humanity
The quickest way for your in-laws to find out how inappropriate you are? Yep, this is it. And talking of party games you probably shouldn’t play, Bad People’s another close to the (wish)bone option.
Make it cosy
If you’re inviting a big group over to yours, you might have a Thanksgiving conundrum of butts outnumbering chairs. We’ve all been there. Cheek to cheek, we stand with you.
Throw down some blankets down, scatter big cushions and sheepskin throws on the floor around the TV so everyone can plonk themselves in a cosy spot for a post-feast movie marathon.
Feeling crafty? You can decorate your Thanksgiving table with these DIY wishbones. Once the clay pieces are painted and dry, place them on top of the napkins alongside the place settings for a lovely handmade gift, made to be broken. Find out how to make them here.
Make a mountain of mashed potato
Because every bird needs a carb-heavy sidekick to grace the holiday table. Make way for the MVP of the Thanksgiving table: it’s mashed potato’s time to shine. If you need some inspiration, check out our ultimate mash recipe right here.