thanksgiving-ideasThanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, and it’s a time for us all to be grateful for everything we have in our lives. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, you might be stressing about getting everything right, but with these tips and careful preparation, you can plan a spectacular meal for your family!
Whether you’re a first-timer or always the Thanksgiving Day host, here’s a list of the ten things you need to make this the ultimate family Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Dinner

For most people, Thanksgiving dinner is the most important part of the holiday. Without the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving. And that’s why it’s essential to get dinner right.

Make sure you’re prepared for all the cooking and baking you’ll need to do for dinner and dessert. Don’t leave your food shopping for the day before Thanksgiving – you’ll have trouble finding your turkey and other necessities if you wait too long to do your grocery shopping. Make a list and shop in advance to make the whole experience smoother – and you’ll avoid those last minute shopping runs to grab something you forgot.

How many people are coming to your home for the Thanksgiving meal? Do they have any dietary restrictions? Will you have enough variety to please everyone? Consider the needs of your guests and the number of people you’ll be feeding when you start planning your menu and shopping.

Beautiful table with thanksgiving food

Thanksgiving Dessert

Pies and pumpkin-flavored everything are staples of the Thanksgiving season. Whether you’re looking for classic desserts or you’re in the mood to try something new, dessert is a must-have. Grab a cookbook or search online and find endless lists of delicious dessert recipes.

Are you interested in trying out any new dessert ideas? You may want to check out some new recipes either in addition to or instead of your traditional Thanksgiving pies. If you have a lot of kids coming to dinner, you might want to choose something more kid-friendly than pies. You might even want to find something fun to make with the kids! They’ll love having activities to do and getting to eat dessert they helped make.

thanksgiving-dessert

Recipes  and New Ideas

Sure, you need the essentials for Thanksgiving dinner. Do you have any special dinner traditions? Start one or make new food traditions this year with some recipes for tasty new dishes. Need something to snack on? Make some healthy appetizers for everyone to sample before dinner.

 Kitchen Tools and Utensils

Before you can cook anything, you need the proper kitchen accessories. With a main course, tons of sides and desserts, you’re going to need plenty of pots, pans, plates, serving utensils, and more. You wouldn’t want to plan to have a pie then realize you don’t have a pie pan. Make sure you’ve got everything you need when you make your shopping trips.

Thanksgiving Traditions and Fun for Kids

thanksgiving-traditionsThe Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a Thanksgiving must-watch every year. The annual parade through New York City has been a huge part of Thanksgiving for 87 years now, with more than 50 million people watching the festivities from home on TV. Your kids and guests will love watching the parade together, and you can start the tradition with your kids. Watch the giant balloons, floats, performances by familiar singers and bands, marching bands and more!

After the parade, you’ll need some fun things for your kids to do – line up activities for them so they won’t get bored. Pick out a few recipes that they can help make, set up a game room or living room movie theater for the younger kids.

If you’re lucky enough to live in cold weather where it snows on Thanksgiving, take some time to go sledding or to make a snowman with the kids. Or, head outside to play flag football with your friends and family.

Entertainment

No one wants to be bored on Thanksgiving. Plan some fun activities for guests of all ages. If you’ll have a lot of kids over, make sure you’ve got things for them to do while you’re cooking and then later when the adults are chatting.  Even playing board games or cards can be a fun family-friendly activity for everyone to enjoy.

Looking for something new to do this year? Head out to the movies with your family. Take everyone to see Disney’s new animated musical, Frozen. If you are fans of The Hunger Games, go check out Catching Fire, the second movie of the series. If young children are attending, stick with Frozen – Catching Fire may be too intense for kids under

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Shopping

You can even start your Christmas shopping without leaving the house! Black Friday, the craziest day of the Christmas season, is the day after Thanksgiving. Recently, stores have even started their sales on Thursday. Make things easier for yourself and start your shopping online – use the Internet to conveniently search for all the biggest and best deals around. You can order things online or just browse all the ads – get your Christmas shopping started right!

Traditions and Fun for Kids

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a Thanksgiving must-watch every year. The annual parade through New York City has been a huge part of Thanksgiving for 87 years now, with more than 50 million people watching the festivities from home on TV. Your kids and guests will love watching the parade together, and you can start the tradition with your kids. Watch the giant balloons, floats, performances by familiar singers and bands, marching bands and more!

After the parade, you’ll need some fun things for your kids to do – line up activities for them so they won’t get bored. Pick out a few recipes that they can help make, set up a game room or living room movie theater for the younger kids.

If you’re lucky enough to live in cold weather where it snows on Thanksgiving, take some time to go sledding or to make a snowman with the kids. Or, head outside to play flag football with your friends and family.

Football

Sure, you have to tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but after that, Thanksgiving is all about football. This longstanding NFL tradition of Thanksgiving games has been around for years. Did you know that the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions play on Thanksgiving every year? That’s a part of the tradition – these two teams have been playing these games since the very beginning. This year, the Packers play the Lions, the Raiders play the Cowboys and the Steelers play the Ravens. Tune into all three games – they’ll be on TV all day!

Relaxing

With all the excitement of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season on the way, it’s important to also take the time to unwind. Set aside some time for ultimate relaxation. And you’ll definitely be ready to relax after eating your big Thanksgiving dinner and spending hours cooking.

Take some time to relax your way – whether it’s taking a nap on the couch, watching football on TV or playing outside with the kids. Enjoy you’re the holiday and the days you have off from work or school to just relax and unwind.

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Family

Besides the food and football, Thanksgiving is also about family. It’s a great time to have a huge get-together with your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, children, cousins and extended family.  Your kids can play with cousins and you can see relatives you rarely get to visit with.  Take a little time to be grateful for your family and the time you get to spend with them. You’ll enjoy Thanksgiving even more when you’re spending it with your whole family!

Spend time cooking, eating, watching football and shopping with your family this Thanksgiving. With these essentials all lined up, you’ll be set to have the best Thanksgiving yet this year!

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Skylar Michelle James is a woman who loves technology.  Currently Skylar is a graduate student in the Boston Massachusetts area. She is writing her thesis on the Internet Philosophy.  When she is not studying she is freelance writing about family, event planning, current trends and technology.  Please connect with her via twitter @SkyJamesWriter or email.

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