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Did you have a kids table at your Thanksgiving meal? Were there certain things you associate only with that once a year Thanksgiving meal? Did you find it hard to integrate your Thanksgiving Holiday traditions with your spouses? For me, growing up Thanksgiving was always a fun time where the house was filled with amazing smells, fun group activities and lots of cousins! Now, I am trying to continue this legacy of traditions, integrate my husbands and add a few new ones for my kids. Here are my hacks to make the day run smoothly!
Thanksgiving Guest List
My go-to line during the Holidays is “the more the merrier” and while this does apply to Thanksgiving it can also make the day and the meal quite an undertaking! Last year we had 27 people on the guest list, some of these were kids but that is a huge amount of people to cook for and keep happy! Especially when everyone has their own “must haves” when it comes to the food on the table. We will get to food in a minute but to manage the guest lists and RSVPs I recommend keeping track using a make shift seating chart. I use an excel spreadsheet and add all the invited guests, I use a separate column for each table. If there are any cancelations you can just delete from the sheet and still have the meal mapped out! This makes it easy to see how many chairs and place settings you will need at each table as well.
As the guest list grew I found that not only was I contending with special requests for food items I was also out of space in my oven to cook all the different side dishes. My hack for this is to ask guests to bring their favorite sides to share. I request that they make something that will feed 8-10 people. It’s a new tradition that we get to sample all the different traditional foods from all sides of the family and it saves my having to cook all the food! This also helps with picky eaters as there are more options, so more of a chance they will find something they will enjoy. Pro tip: get a few single serving mac & cheeses, our go to is Velveeta Shells and Cheese, (Paid Link) in case you have a meltdown, it’s an easy go to that even most picky eaters will be happy with and it only takes three and a half minutes to microwave.
Roasted Turkey Hack: If you are roasting a turkey this year, we recommend cooking it upside-down. We did this by accident one year and it was the juiciest turkey we had ever had, so that is our new normal!
Thanksgiving activities for Kids
While the cooking is happening there will be a need for entertainment for the kids. I cannot stress this enough, Plan Ahead! Buy a few crafts, a bit of snack food and last year we had a lot of fun with Thanksgiving themed, temporary tattoos. (Paid Link) Assign an adult, or better yet if there is one, a young adult to be “in charge” of the activities for the younger ones. Keeping the kids entertained while the cooking is going on is essential and if you can build in some structure your day is more likely to go as planned.
Crafts we loved: Coloring cups, sticker turkeys, coloring placemats.
Coloring cups (Paid Link) – not only will this keep the kids entertained for a while it also helps with seating chart as everyone gets a customized cup.
Sticker turkeys (Paid Link)– my kids and their cousins loved creating silly faces on these turkeys. We still have a few displayed on the playroom wall!
Coloring placemats (Paid Link) – we know that sitting at a thanksgiving meal for kids can be so “boring” but if you have a few items at the table to color on, talk about or fiddle with during dinner it can keep them busy!
Post – Thanksgiving to do list
Once the day is over its time for clean-up and looking forward to the Big December Holidays, and don’t forget traditionally Elf on the shelf (Paid Link) comes back on Thanksgiving night!
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