The Dining Room/Area will be important to plan correctly because it sets the expectation of HOW everyone will be dining. A small Thanksgiving allows for everyone to sit at the table at the same time. However, a large Thanksgiving will have guests eating standing up or sitting all over the home and at different times, or seated at the table one group at a time. Whichever way it's going to be in your home, let's go step by step.
BUFFET OR SIT DOWN DINNER
If you are serving a sit down dinner because it's a small Thanksgiving, think of everything you will need for the table and prepare the table the day before, or morning of, Thanksgiving. Arrange your table decor in a way that won't hinder your friends and family from seeing or speaking to each other across the table.
If it's a buffet-style Thanksgiving, you will need A LOT more items and prep time. Start the week before. You will need the usual dinnerware, utensils, glassware, and serve ware; just a larger amount of them, including food storage for guests to take leftovers (if any) and chafers or food warmers. Once you decide how the food will be served, you then have to go to next step....
Where will your dining occur? Do you have a dining room? Dining table in another room? Leaves to add to the dining table? Enough seating? At a sit down Thanksgiving dinner, you want to make sure your dining room/area allows for you and your guests to pull out the chair and sit comfortably.
A buffet-style Thanksgiving will need stations: serving area (plates, utensils, etc.), food area, drinks and glassware area, and dessert area. That may be one table, but that's going to be one looong table, or regularly turn the table every so often. Really look at your home and think of where the best location would be for the stations: kitchen island, a long table somewhere in the living room or dining room, etc. Now look at how the guests will flow in a way that won't have congestion. Plan on moving furniture around to accommodate a buffet-style Thanksgiving to not only make room for guests going around the table, but also for seating. For Instance, I have a custom made 6 foot radiator cover connected to my window sill. Since I have the dining table as you come into my living room, I set up the window sill/radiator cover (located on the opposite wall) as the drink station to eliminate blocking the entrance. And I clean off my desk to use have an extra table, or use as a coffee/tea and dessert station. Gotta love apartment living!
So what are we eating... besides turkey? LOL. Hey, it doesn't have to be traditional and you don't have to do it all. Write down a menu of food you would like to have. Then, as I wrote about on a previous post, you should get a couple of people to help, and think about a potluck Thanksgiving. Or you can streamline the menu where you can. It's best and going to be easier to make 4-6 items then to make 20 different items. If you have friends or family that have a specialty, ask them to make that for you; everyone always wants to help so allow them to do so. Include the drinks in your menu. I don't drink alcoholic beverages so my guest know to bring some with them. However, I have a friend who will always make a specialty drink for the occasion. Do keep in mind guests with any allergies, or are vegetarian, plant-based, or vegan.
I don't know if you realize but, you have to start planning NOW and taking action in 2 DAYS: cleaning your home, planning, grocery shopping, laundry of linens, taking out or purchasing decor, your outfit, decluttering, organizing each room that needs it.... so much to do!! BTW, get your household involved ;-)
Look out for your email because tomorrow? The Kitchen!
Contact me here to help you with your Thanksgiving prep and organization.
Organized by Catherine O organizes all areas of your home, maximizes your space, and problem-solves time management and productivity challenges. We are based in New York City and serve the NYC-Metro area.
Forward this to everyone you know, then subscribe to my blog here for more organizing tips.
For more tips & photos you won't see here, follow me on Instagram @OrgByCatO