Here's the thing: We're hosting Thanksgiving this year for the first time ever...in our intimately-sized Portland apartment. Z and I are psyched to have his parents, brother, and a family friend in town, but we're also a little behind on the planning. (Wait...it's the Monday before Thanksgiving?!?!?!? was my first thought this morning).
Between the cross-country move and my endless job hunting since arriving in PDX, Thanksgiving - and the holidays in general - haven't been at the forefront of my mind quite yet. And with having to host Thanksgiving in, um, THREE DAYS, I've decided to share with you how I plan to pull this off. You know, in case any of you are awesome at procrastinating like I am.
Here's the plan:
This morning, I just started jotting down a to-do list for this week and the big day, to get my thoughts out and somewhat organized. i wrote down the main dishes/courses we'll need; what glassware and additional dishes we need, since we just moved and don't have everything yet; and what items can be delegated to whom, versus putting it all on me. Which brings me to....
2.) Delegate, delegate, delegate.
I'm definitely one of those people who tries to do it all. However, I've slowly been learning over the years that I'd like to avoid stress whenever possible - and trying to prepare and cook a feast for six people in three days doesn't sound like fun to me. So, I delegated accordingly: Z's dad is doing the turkey; our family friend is bringing two vegetarian-friendly sides; and Z and I will handle the appetizers, one additional side, and dessert.
3.) Make your menu simple, yet festive.
I love this time year for how festive and exciting it is, so I know I want to keep our menu special - but not complicated. At the end of the day, all that matters is that we get to spend Thanksgiving with our loved ones, so why try to make the menu stressful and pretentious? We still need to hash out the specifics, but Z and I are putting together a beautiful cheese plate for an appetizer (complete with some nuts and olives, of course), and we're calling Pacific Pie for dessert (they're right next door to us). The one additional side we'll make will likely be roasted Brussels sprouts, "fancied" up with maple syrup, pecans, and cranberries. Easy peasy.
4.) Beverages: less is more.
The real focus on Thanksgiving is the food, so there's no need to get too crazy with the libations. Pick 1-2 wines (or beers) that will pair well with your spread, and call it a day. I love the idea of also making one big batch, festive cocktail to go with the appetizers, but that's really only if you have the time and budget. Otherwise, it's incredibly unnecessary.
5.) Keep the tablescape simple.
I'm no Martha Stewart, but I still like to keep the table decorations festive, yet simple and affordable. We got turkey cocktail and dinner napkins for $1 each at Fred Meyer, and we have fall-colored placemats for each setting. I also have shiny and eye-catching leaf confetti in the middle of the table for a punch of extra color, but really, all anyone's going to be looking at is that big roasted bird in the middle of the table. So don't try to go all Barefoot Contessa with the decorations if that's not your thing (it's clearly not mine...).
And, above all, DON'T STRESS! The holidays are the most joyful time of the year, so if you're hosting Thanksgiving like we are - just have fun with it. Everyone will leave well-fed, well-buzzed, and happy as ever no matter what your table looks like or how many options of beverages you served.
Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Or you are more prepared than I am?