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Creative Ways to Host Thanksgiving
Whether you want to host a traditional Thanksgiving Day celebration or you plan to do something completely fresh and original this November, you can always find ways to be creative. Make your Thanksgiving feast a potluck dinner by asking each guest to bring a platter, pan or bowl of a favorite Thanksgiving recipe. It's fun to see the various choices each guest makes. If you're thinking everyone might end up bringing mashed potatoes or green bean casserole, make a list of expected menu items and check them off as you find guests to bring each one.
If your guest list is composed of gourmet foodie types, your potluck can become a farm-to-table Thanksgiving. Have each guest source their ingredients or dishes from sustainable farms and food service businesses. Attendees should collect business cards from all of the artisan cheesemakers, mushroom growers and other producers who make the feast possible. This is a great way to promote local agriculture and the ecosystem.
A media or gaming-themed Thanksgiving is another sweet idea for a creative dinner. Prepare foods that a favorite movie, TV or gaming character would eat. Add fun graphic accents from the internet to wreaths and other indoor and outdoor decor. After the meal, host a movie viewing, binge TV show-watching session or gaming competition with the Thanksgiving character theme in mind. For cultured friends, host an artist, author- or musician-themed Thanksgiving feast. Dishes can reflect song, painting and movie titles.
All cultures celebrate Thanksgiving feasts and festivities at harvest times throughout the year. If you have a cultural tradition from your home country that varies from the standard American version of Thanksgiving, feel free to incorporate your beloved traditions into your personal harvest celebrations. It's also encouraged to form a fusion of ideas from your old and new cultures. If you're raising kids in a multicultural household, it's important for them to understand how their ancestors show gratitude and gather to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Participating in the same rituals helps children develop a sense of belonging.
If you're a stranger in a strange land, host a Thanksgiving meal that includes the sweet and savory food you associate with gratitude and bounty back home. Invite friends to join you as they learn about your region's cooking techniques and your family's harvest-celebration customs. Deck your home with nature-inspired decor and other symbols of the season used in your family's traditional gatherings and holiday rituals. This type of holiday feast is a wonderful way to break the ice among neighbors, coworkers and in-laws.
Friends who want to make a difference this holiday season can plan a "grateful giving day" and meet to volunteer at a charity like a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Some feeding centers open for breakfast, so you can serve people from morning until lunch. Some shelters and soup kitchens serve meals late into the evening on Thanksgiving. You and your guests can have an early turkey feast, then spend the remainder of the day helping your neighbors by serving them warm food. Another idea is to spend Thanksgiving Day being a giver, then cook a big meal at home on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving. When everyone is full, gather around the living room, grab a pillow and talk about the things for you are grateful for and the ways you can help the people that you've met.