Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and all who come to dine with you

Well my favorite people on the planet, soon we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Whether you host a house full with cars parked up and down the street or an intimate few, it is a day to rejoice. I am sure most of you have family traditions down to a science and need no suggestions for your day of celebration. So, I will just touch on a few little things that might add a little delight to your day! I started hosting Thanksgiving for my family when I was 27. Yes, indeed, turn that huge meal over to an amateur! But that’s what happened, and I must say I have learned a lot along the way!

Set the Scene

As you have come to realize, I am a bit of a day-dreamer and I love to make events memorable. I usually email an invitation that informs when to arrive, when we expect to sit down for dinner and the menu of the day. I’ve varied the timing over the years, including dinner in the evening by true candlelight. I will tell you that I love it, but the football addicts of the family did not enjoy this dinner hour. So, this year we will have appetizers around 12:30 p.m. and plan to sit down for dinner around 2 p.m.! As I like to tell my guests, it is a dinner and it will be ready sometime. In the meantime, enjoy some cider or a glass of wine-visit and have fun!

Smart Shopping

This is so important that it almost should be written in the Bible: “Do not go to the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving”! With my huge crowd I always have to order the toddler-size turkey around 23–26 pounds- I usually order early so I get the proper size. Perhaps place your pie and cake order with Cindy at The Brick Street Bake Shoppe as well as your centerpiece order with Paula at Brick Street Flower Company soon as well. Plan ahead so these busy ladies can fit you into their schedule! Once orders are placed, you can start planning and making preparations in earnest.

Do yourself a huge favor and give yourself time to sit down and design every aspect of your menu. Include what you will serve for breakfast for the overnight guests, appetizers (a huge aspect of my family’s Thanksgiving) and what will accompany the turkey. Then, collect all of your recipes together, every single one. Go through the recipes and compose your grocery list. Dillion’s has the greatest online tool for creating an organized, printable grocery list—a list that puts an end to reaching the bread aisle and realizing you need to traipse five aisles back for chicken stock. With your list in the order of the store’s departments and coupons downloaded from the Dillon’s website, you’ll head out humming.

With your complete list in hand head out early—or go late—so the store is less crowded. You’ll be able to shop calmly, without bumping carts in the aisles and fighting your way through to shelves and coolers. I personally pick the crack of dawn, take my coffee and roam up and down the aisles with ease and contentment. This year, I have decided to load my phone with music and pipe Beethoven into my head while I shop—what a gracious living experience that will be! I firmly believe this huge dinner is truly one of life’s labors of love. So make a promise to yourself to enjoy even the shopping aspect of the food preparation!

On shopping day, be sure all your needs are down on paper so you can schedule pickups at the bakery, florist, dry cleaner and whatever else is necessary. You will find yourself beaming from ear to ear at how smart you are, gorgeous!

A Tantalizing Tablescape

For your table linens, there’s no reason not to get those ready now! Find the napkins and tablecloths you want to use, then iron them or send them off to the laundry. Hang them in the closet until it is time to set the table and they will be crisp and a joy to begin your tablescape. On the subject of setting the table or perhaps the buffet, do it the day before while everyone else is at the grocery store! You can leisurely create your dining experience with a lovely cup of tea and some wonderful music. Another bit of gracious living at its best.

Nothing is more rewarding than when the guests start to arrive and see a beautiful table all set for your food, family and friends. Gather your family and friends in prayer before everyone enjoys your exquisite meal, all done with love. We all have much to be thankful for and some of the best reasons are seated with you.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and all who come to dine with you. There is nothing like the hum of all the conversations carried on during this meal, and what a lovely part of the meal! In our home in Colorado it was not unusual for us to have 40 people for dinner. A small balcony overlooked the kitchen, family room and living room, and I loved nothing more than to go up there and listen to all the laughter and conversation. Take a moment for yourself and just listen to the love that is all around you.

God bless you all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I leave you with some beautiful words from W. Clement Stone: “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.”

I will be here next week to visit!