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In the United States, pretty much every month has a holiday that gives a reason to gather and celebrate.  In November, the end of the month is marked by Thanksgiving, an opportunity to express gratitude, share a delicious meal, and connect with loved ones. 

As you prepare for this special holiday, it’s essential to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home. With some of the suggestions below, you can transform your space into a haven of gratitude and festivity, while also considering holiday decorations to add that extra touch of warmth.

Thanksgiving Preparation: This certainly takes some effort.  No one ever said that cooking for a gathering is easy.  But with a little planning and organization, it is possible to create a menu that pleases everyone–and relieves some of the stress of the day.  Start with confirming who is coming and what dietary restrictions they have.  And, honestly, if there are too many restrictions, invite your guest to bring their favorite dish. That takes some of the burden off of you.  Make a comprehensive shopping list to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and avoid any last-minute rushes to the store. That turkey cannot be purchased on Wednesday and served on Thursday.  It will, most likely, need to be defrosted in the fridge.  And then you’ll have to plan the cooking method–roast, grill, fry. So many options! Once you’ve figured out the turkey, create a cooking schedule, allowing you to prepare dishes in advance and ensuring everything is ready on time. Think about how you will store that food. Do you have enough space to refrigerate items in advance? Do you need a cooler?  Do you need extra ice?  And pie! Do you have pie?

Home Organization: Clear away unnecessary items to make space for decorations and ensure your home feels clean and welcoming. When you have a chance (and not the morning of Thanksgiving) consider giving your house a thorough cleaning to ensure a fresh and inviting environment. Choose a candle that smells like fall.  Store Halloween and Christmas decorations out of sight.  Consider using warm, autumnal colors to create a cozy atmosphere. Draw a map for seating and make sure you have enough plates, utensils, glasses. Even plan, if you can, where everyone will sit. You can set that table the weekend before if that helps. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to count yourself in the numbers!

Hosting Tips: Nothing says welcome more than greeting your guests with a warm beverage or cocktail to set a festive mood as they arrive. You can even provide mocktails for the under-21 crowd. And speaking of the younger ones, try to plan engaging activities or games that encourage interaction and fun among your guests. Wrap a table in parchment paper and have the children draw their favorite memories. Consider instituting a gratitude ritual into your gathering, where everyone can express what they’re thankful for.  Maybe it’s a formal prayer, or maybe everyone writes a word on an index card.  Then use that word as their seat assignment, turning the folded card with the word away from the seated guest so that everyone can see their gratitude in writing. And don’t forget to ask for help. You’re not a superhero. Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

Be mindful of the weather in Indianapolis. It could rain. It could snow. Or it could be 70 degrees. Nothing is off the table. Make sure you have a spot to park coats, and plan accordingly if you’re hosting an outdoor gathering. If the weather is good, delegate someone to plan an outdoor scavenger hunt for the younger guests. And because it gets dark early, consider using warm, soft lighting to create a cozy ambiance. Try incorporating some flowers from local stores to add a punch of color.

Thanksgiving can be one of the most memorable holidays because you create the gift of food for the soul and the stomach. The spirit of gratitude and celebration will shine through, and with thoughtful planning and attention to detail, your Thanksgiving gathering will be a memorable and joyful occasion for all–including yourself. The Yosha Snyder Group wishes you the happiest of Thanksgivings.

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