7 Tips for a Unique Thanksgiving Dinner

7 Tips for a Unique Thanksgiving Dinner

Try these seven unique tips to make this year’s Thanksgiving one to remember.

By: Elizabeth Stark

For many families, Thanksgiving is a rather predictable event. Traditions are central to the holiday, yes, but it can be refreshing and fun to alter the routine a bit. Just a few simple steps are all you need to break out of the “same old, same old” and have a fun and memorable Thanksgiving feast. Here are seven easy tips for a unique Thanksgiving dinner that everyone will enjoy.

1. Start Early
This bit of advice may not be new, but that's because it's the single best thing you can do to ensure a relaxing holiday. Collect your recipes, shop early, reserve the turkey and see what dishes can be made ahead of time. Gravy, stuffing, casseroles, cranberry sauce, piecrusts and many desserts can all be prepared several days before the big day.

2. Get the Kids Cooking
Getting kids involved in the kitchen makes for some great bonding time, and it's an excellent way to teach kids about family culinary traditions.

Pick a relatively stress-free time in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and make something simple — casseroles, baked goods and cranberry sauce are all kid-friendly cooking options. No matter what you make, cooking with kids offers lots of teachable moments and endearing memories.

3. Have Your Guests Bring a Dish
Go for a potluck! Cooking a huge Thanksgiving feast all by yourself is heroic, but you may be the only one who notices. Instead, cut yourself some slack and have each guest bring a dish. Besides, with many of the sides taken care of, you can focus on what really matters: the turkey!


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4. Think Outside the Box
While food traditions are a beautiful thing, they can also be restrictive. Try shaking things up by throwing in a non-standard family favourite like spaghetti and meatballs or shrimp and grits. A few unexpected dishes can provide contrast and enliven even the most staid Thanksgiving fare.

5. Outsource
If you've ever cooked one yourself, you know that preparing the Thanksgiving feast is a kitchen marathon. To save time and energy, consider picking up a few dishes from the store. If your gravy is fantastic but your potatoes are so-so, why not let someone else make them so you can focus your efforts on your best dishes? Many grocery stores offer high-quality, pre-made foods — and for a big meal, they can be lifesavers.

6. Give Thanks (Really!)
Thanksgiving toasts and/or blessings are the perfect way to give thanks before the meal begins. Get the kids involved by talking with them ahead of time. It teaches them the reasons for the holiday and gives them the chance to think about things for which they're thankful.

You can even turn thankfulness into an engaging kids’ activity by having your little ones write and illustrate the things for which they're most grateful. They'll love sharing their creations with your guests.

7. Do Something Fun Afterwards
One big side effect of kitchen overload on Thanksgiving is that dinner can get to the table pretty late in the day. Staying on target for an early mealtime is a great way to make sure you get to do something outside of the house afterwards.

Whether it's a game of touch football in the backyard or a simple stroll around the neighbourhood, spending some time moving is a good way to feel great on Thanksgiving (and work off some of those calories!). And who knows, you may just work up an appetite for a turkey sandwich!

Elizabeth’s (along with her husband, Brian’s) work can be found on the blog Brooklyn Supper a story of a family eating with the seasons in Virginia and Brooklyn. They believe strongly that good, local food and wholesome meals should be accessible to everyone.

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