The Art of Entertaining … Thanksgiving Style!

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to throw a great Thanksgiving get-together. With some tips to cut back, and some ‘crafty’ ways to don your style, you’re sure to have your family and friends talking about more than just the food!

The Planning

- First and foremost, decide with your family if your Thanksgiving celebration is going to be family only or if it will include friends and neighbors. You can then plan your menu and make sure you have enough food to feed the masses!

- Plan your menu. A Thanksgiving feast wouldn't be complete without the 'bird', but be conscious of your attendees. Do you have vegetarians on the guest list? If so, map out what you'll be serving to them. For some great recipe ideas, check out one or more of the links below:

* In a Vegetarian Kitchen: Vegetarian Thanksgiving
* Food Network: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu
* Taste of Home: Thanksgiving Recipes
* Food Network: Thanksgiving {all-time favorite feasts}

- Invite your guests. A great way to save money is to invite guests via an email invitation. Use Evite to craft your very own email invite. Include the date, time, location, and any other details you wish to let your guests know about. If you want to go with a more traditional route, and send a paper invite, make your own. Not only will it add a little of YOUR flavor, but will also be a cheap alternative to buying pre-made invitations. Check out a printable template at HGTV.com.

Need more planning tips? Check out Better Homes & Gardens Thanksgiving Planning Tips to keep things organized, stress-free, and full of fun!

The Decorating

Table Decorations

Centerpieces
A centerpiece can add a nice touch to any sit down meal. Whether you're entertaining friends, family, neighbors, or all of the above, decorate your table with a little flair in the middle of your table! To add a personal touch, make your own. Check out the Mayflower Craft and Table Centerpiece that you and your whole family can make before the big dinner! (CLICK HERE for some other ideas for centerpieces from Better Homes and Gardens. Also check out Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas under $10)

Napkin Rings
Napkin rings can add a nice touch to a table filled with a Thanksgiving feast. Visit your local hobby store and buy pre-made napkin rings, or try to make your own! For a more traditional ring, take a stab at the Indian Corn Napkin Rings. Or, take a few photos and make Pilgrim Napkin Rings, which can also double as place cards.

Candles
Candles can add an ambient glow to any atmosphere. So, why not add them to your Thanksgiving celebration? They're a nice way to 'dress up' a party, that won't put a hole in your pocketbook!

Other tabletop decorations to consider:

* Natural Elements - Use the ‘Great Outdoors’ to add a little flare to your tabletop. Add pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and anything else that says ‘fall-like’ to your Thanksgiving décor. Not only are these decorations easy to add, but they’re also an inexpensive way to enhance your home for the holiday!

* Placemats - Create your own Thanksgiving Day placemats for your guests! Check out these fun and festive ideas from Better Homes and Gardens.

* Name Cards - A simple, yet elegant addition, name cards can provide a personalized setting for each of your guests. Make your own by getting cardstock or construction paper. Use stencils to add guests' names, or use calligraphy pens to write them out. Use stickers, stencils, or another tool to add a little design to each as well! Check out a cute and fun idea for a name cardholder from Kaboose.

* Thanksgiving Favor - Treat your guests to a little something, to thank them for coming! Buy Hershey kisses and add a colorful fall colored ribbon to each. Or, how about a sachet of baked pumpkin seeds, wrapped in a colorful bow … whatever you decide to do, make it something simple, sweet, and given to each guest with thanks!

Interior Decorations

* Bring the outdoors, inside! Use fall leaves, pine cones, pumpkins, gourds and any other natural elements to make your home smell and feel like the Great Outdoors. Not only will this give your home a beautiful atmosphere for your guests, but it’s a great way to decorate for nothing!

* Candle displays are a great way to add a little something to your atmosphere, without spending a lot of money. Use a variety of candles, including tealights, jarred candles and candlesticks. Display them in a variety of ways to make your home looking, and smelling like fall!

Need some other decorating ideas? Check out Better Homes & Gardens for some great fall decorating tips!

The Fun

- Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

It's a tradition that has been passed on for years. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! Sit down with family and friends and enjoy it together. Enjoy some hot cocoa or some hot apple cider and talk about your favorite floats and performers! For official times, a schedule of performers and more information about the parade, check out the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade website.

- Throw a Turkey Bowl

Football is a Thanksgiving Day pastime. Whether you're watching it or playing it, it's bound to make its mark at some point during the day. So, why not strike up a match in your very own Turkey Bowl! Gather family, friends and neighbors and head to your backyard or a local field. Divide participants into two teams, state the rules, and then make it an event to remember! Just remember to keep it fun for everyone playing!

- Watch a Movie

What better way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday than with a little movie fun for the whole family! Whether it's a classic holiday film, or an action-packed thriller, a film fest is a great way to bring the masses, all together. A few movies to consider:

* Home Alone
* It's a Wonderful Life
* Elf
* Miracle on 34th Street
* A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
* National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
* Home for the Holidays

Looking for other movie options? Check out Amazon.com's: Thanksgiving Movies & Specials.

- Read a Book

If you have little ones running around, you know that catching their attention can be difficult from time-to-time. So how about reading them a tale or two while you wait for dinner or an after dinner treat?

Check out some great reads for kids of all ages on Amazon.com's list of Thanksgiving Books.

- Play Turkey Tic-Tac-Toe

Why not enjoy a game of Turkey Tic-tac-toe with your guests? It's a classic game and Better Homes and Gardens has everything you need! No need to purchase anything at all ... just print what you need right from your computer!

Have some other ideas that you'd like to share? Just submit a comment below because we'd love to hear them!


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