Back To The Basics
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Arguably the most important step in preparing to host your Thanksgiving feast is creating your menu. After all, the food is the star of the show here—right? Well that and your tablescape, but we’ll get to that later. When planning a menu on a budget, keep in mind that people love Thanksgiving for a reason: the delicious classics. There’s no need to experiment with new recipes, so stick to the traditional meal. To avoid having to prepare the entire spread yourself, pick two to three dishes that you know you can totally nail and then invite your guests to each bring their favorite dish too. This takes the pressure off of you having to juggle the stressful task of cooking multiple things while it also gives your attendees the opportunity to feel included in the Thanksgiving cooking tradition. Oh, and it allows you to unabashedly hand over the turkey cooking burden to someone a bit more experienced (looking at you, Mom).
You’re Invited: Make Your Guest List
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Before you get to the exciting adventure of navigating your grocery store aisles, you’ll need to know what kind of crowd you’re working with. In order to prepare the right amount of food, having a guest list in place will be crucial. To save money, simply send out a mass group text or create a Facebook event letting all your guests know the details of the dinner. However, we’re never ones to shy away from an over-the-top gesture before the event even begins, so we love the idea of sending your guests a paper invite or electronic graphic that will undoubtedly add a special personal touch to your Thanksgiving party, weeks before dinner is even served. We love this Thanksgiving Dinner Invitation on Etsy from San Francisco Crafts. The gorgeous gold calligraphy paired with the darling floral border will have your guests counting down the days till your dinner party.
To buy: Thanksgiving Invitations, Etsy, $11
Photo: Etsy | San Francisco Crafts
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Aside from the food preparation, perhaps one of the most daunting parts of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner is accumulating all of the necessary supplies. What even is a turkey baster anyways? Nevertheless, you’ll want to utilize your friends and family to borrow whatever you may need before heading to the kitchen supply store and dropping big bucks on supplies you’ll probably only use once a year. Needless to say, it’s also a good time to consider what items you may find valuable long term, such as finally buying that new measuring cup or cooking utensil set you’ve had in your cart multiple times but never purchased. If you’re starting from scratch, it may be of interest to you to think about investing in a cookware set, like this 12-piece bronze set from Farberware. If a guest brings a dish that needs to be heated up upon arrival, you don’t want to leave them hanging because you don’t have a sauce pan. Embarrassing.
Tip: When purchasing pots and pans, you’ll actually save money in the long run when you purchase a whole set as opposed to buying individual pieces. Though it may seem alarming dropping a big sum of money, your wallet will thank you later.
To buy: Farberware Millennium Bronze Cookset, overstock.com, $100
Dish It Out
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Put your borrowing skills to good use this holiday, and extend your request to include serveware and dishes. Depending on what you already have on hand, ask around for friends and family members to fill the muffin tin void in your kitchen. Not everyone has a serving tray large enough for a turkey on hand or enough dishes to accommodate a party of 10, so ask around before you buy to ease the financial burden. If you can’t find a pal who has a cute dish set to borrow, we are obsessed with this clean and crisp set from Crate & Barrel. To save money, opt for a set that could also be used as everyday dishes or brought out to entertain any time of the year. You can customize your set by purchasing pieces individually or all together as a 16-piece collection, chocked full of plates, bowls, and mugs all accentuated with the delicate hatch marked design.
To buy: 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, Crate & Barrel, $255
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To avoid having to set up an entire bar filled with beer, wine, and hard liquor options to please each of your guests, skip the major grocery store haul and create a signature cocktail. We adore the idea of serving signature cocktails at dinner parties, and there’s no better time to serve a delicious drink given that Thanksgiving is the queen of all dinner parties. Though there are tons of recipe options all over our Pinterest boards, we’re a bit partial to this tasty Pear Sangria from Lemon Tree Dwelling. The easy 5-ingredient recipe is tasty and refreshing, not to mention it’s totally Instagram-worthy. The notes of pear mixed with the brandy + white wine duo create a rollercoaster of tastes in just one sip. Whether you serve this cocktail prior to dinner starting, pour glasses with the meal, or keep the glasses full all night—your guests will be in for a real boozy treat!
Visit Lemon Tree Dwelling for the full recipe.
Photo: Lemon Tree Dwelling
Time To Decorate
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There’s no need to go overboard on the decorations for Thanksgiving. Though we’re just getting over putting all of our spooky decor from Halloween away and are looking forward to decking the halls with our Christmas garland, think of Thanksgiving as the middle child who wants to be given a little bit of love... and then left alone. Save the beauty for the tablescape and opt for a less is more mentality for the rest of your home. Grab a cheap wreath from your local home goods store or decorate your entry way with a fall garland like this beauty from Pier 1, outfitted with deep burgundy leaves and berry embellishments.
To buy: Fall Garland, pier1.com, $36
Last But Not Least: Your Table
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Ah, the whipped cream dollop to your Thanksgiving pie—your tablescape. There are loads of different DIY ideas on the internet that will cater to any budget, from candle holders to napkin rings to painted pumpkin serving platters, but we think a little bit goes a long way. This pinecone-filled vase used as a centerpiece is a super simple way to incorporate the outdoorsy feel of fall to your table. This look inspired by Sweet Something Design is a perfect look that won’t take up too much room on your table and incorporates the beautiful colors of fall with orange and yellow flowers topping it off.
Visit Sweet Something Design to see the rest of the tablescape.
Photo: Sweet Something Design