Many US expats will be celebrating Thanksgiving at the end of November. We love the sentiment behind this late autumn holiday which has in modern times become synonymous with spending precious time with friends and family to give thanks over a meal – so we might just join in.
Have fun with the kids at home and make pretty place cards or napkin wrappers for your guests from dry fallen leaves, written on in gold pen. This is a great excuse for a good long walk among the autumn colours. Pine cones also make great Thanksgiving place-card holders, and husks and seedpods will contribute to a seasonal centrepiece.
Theme your decor around the autumn colours; red, orange, brown, yellow and gold. Kids can make leaf shapes from craft paper and stick these to windows, doors and walls around the table. Add leaf hanging decorations, helium balloons or paper pompoms and a Give Thanks banner if you like. This is an American holiday after all, so add a few decorations in the stars and stripes.
Serve cocktails and a few nibbles to satisfy guests before the main meal which, due to its size, might be later in the afternoon than usual. These will also give you a bit more time to prepare everything without worrying about starving your guests! Mix up a special Thanksgiving punch and serve canapes on chic little spoons and from special bowls – these will regularly come in useful over Christmas and New Year.
Cover the table with a Thanksgiving cloth and partyware – complete with turkey and pumpkin motif of course. Compliment this pattern with stars and stripes accessories too. Use large platters and bowls in orange and gold to bring the spread to the table itself. Put a gold party popper by each place and have some indoor sparklers ready for the end of the meal. Before you start eating, say a few words of thanks or ask each child to tell the table what they are most thankful for.
With Christmas under a month later, you might not want to go down the traditional Thanksgiving food route of enormous turkey with all the trimmings, so you could simply roast a turkey crown. Alternatively, go for the family’s favourite roast and use turkey in one of the canapes instead. Traditional sides include sweet potatoes, mash, red cabbage and, of course, stuffing. For dessert, serve pumpkin pie with whipped or ice cream, pecan and other pies and desserts too if you’re feeling especially energetic or are feeding a large number. A pot luck means everyone can contribute sides or desserts.
A long walk might be relaxing and a welcome respite from all that food, but if you’re going to run out of daylight make it something you do before the meal. Although you might not be able to sit down and watch an evening’s worth of American football, settle down for a movie or play a board game together. Serve home-baked gingerbread or choc chip cookies with hot drinks for kids.
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