Can you believe the holidaze are already here? I can't! When I haven't been able to travel home in the past, I made it a point to make sure that all other holiday orphans were and still are welcome at my house. Here's what I've learned in the past and these tips have saved my life, many times- hopefully, it'll cut down on some holiday stress for you!
The super easy way to invite your crew over to your house, not only has a potluck option but, will allow you to ask guests to bring different things and help you keep track of who's bringing what. In a word, lifesaver.
As the host/ess, it is your responsibility to provide the turkey. Plan on 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person, you'll have plenty for leftovers, if you want to send guests home with some. Another helpful tip- let the turkey sit for 25 minutes so that the juices have time to set. The perfect temp of a perfectly cooked bird? 165F measured in the thigh.
Have friends that REALLY can't cook or have the local take-out restaurant on speed dial? They don't get off so easily...let them know that they can bring drinks either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, depending on what they drink. It's not fair to force your lightweight friends bring bottles and bottles of booze. However, they can bring a bottle or two of their favorite beverage. For wine, plan on 1/2 bottle of wine per guest. You can check out my list of Drinks To Keep You Warm for some fun holiday ideas.
More specifically, who's bringing what and where to put it. Before your guests get to your house, make sure that you know where to put each of their dishes. Put post-its at each placement, so guests know exactly where to put their dishes so they can start enjoying themselves. If your guests will need to reheat their dishes, make sure they stick a post-it with temperature and instructions in case they need it to cut out confusion. Also, that will let you know to keep the oven going (suggested temps for reheating are 350-375F).
If you have some guests that have recently lost their jobs or can't afford to bring or cook anything, ask them to help you out. They can either set up the table or they can help clean afterwards, either way, they're still contributing to the meal without having to spend a dime AND you get an extra hand. You'll need as many as you can get.
Activities are always good to have when you have people over to your house. This is never as true as when you have kids, because if you're like me and don't have kids, you need to find a way to entertain them and make them feel included. SO, some of my past favorites have been: making paper hats for everyone, dressing up as colonists and Native Americans and learn about the history of Thanksgiving, telling a story as to what they're most thankful for, coloring books, etc.
This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Sometime before you get all tuckered out from tryptofan, you should go around the table and have each guest share what they are grateful for- friends, food, family, health, whatever. It's always been everyone's favorite part of my potlucks.
How else are you going to capture the moments that make you laugh or cry? How are you going to capture the moments that make life yours? Make sure you have a couple of snap-happy friends shooting away, multiple views are always more fun!