Thanksgiving can quickly turn from the day of thanks to the dinner of chaos. To turn your Thanksgiving meal into an elegant event, you want to create an event, not just a meal. Here are the six elements to transforming your next Thanksgiving into a party straight out of a magazine.

 

    Atmosphere.

Several weeks before the event, consider the atmosphere that you are going for. This may depend on your guests. If your guests include a lot of children, make sure the atmosphere is kid friendly and you don’t have to worry about them knocking over the candlesticks. For adult family, ask for help to get everyone involved, and set aside sensitive subjects and stick to friendly conversation.

If your group is mostly friends who may not know each other very well, consider some conversation starters, or group activities that everyone would enjoy to get the holiday started off right.

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    Entertainment

Music is a great way to bring the party together. Whether your crowd is pleased with the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie, or perhaps a more mature playlist, consider entertainment that will keep the ambience while you are busy in the kitchen. If you are having children over for dinner, plan for that by providing kid-friendly activities and areas for them to play without being disruptive.

 

    Act 1

The first act should be appetizers that allow your guests to have a small snack or finger foods that will hold them over until dinner is ready. Appetizers should be things that can be made ahead of time and ready to go as soon as guests arrive. They also ease your stress by giving your guests something to eat, especially if the turkey takes longer than anticipated.

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    Intermission

Intermission is the brief waiting period between appetizers and the main event. This can be considered a cocktail hour, time for games, football watching, or whatever your guests may enjoy. Intermission can be as little as 10-15 minutes while you light the candles and set out last minute items.

    

The Main Event

Once everyone is seated, it’s time for the main event. The golden bird, delicious sides, buttery rolls, and sharing thoughts of gratitude around the table. Take the time to sit down and enjoy the meal you’ve spent so long preparing for.

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    Grand Finale

Everyone knows the grand finale is pie. Chances are, your guests may need some time to digest their feast before they are ready for pie. Give them a little break, and clean up the main dishes, then allow time to sit and enjoy a slice of pie. I like to keep pie more casual. Nothing is better than plastic plates and pumpkin pie on the couch at the end of a long day.