Pumpkins and scarecrows decorate front porches. Yellow leaves pool at the bases of trees. Walkways become “crunchy” with fallen leaves. And, in some places, forests become riots of color. Thus, autumn brings change to the weather and to the appearance of the outdoors.
And right along with the changes that the season brings is a holiday that hearkens back to America’s early days. Since you’re about to celebrate it with family and friends in your mobile home, you could use some help. Now is no time for fretting if your home is small. Whether you’re new to hosting the dinner or you’ve done it before, we’re here to help.
Obviously, food is a central part of most Thanksgiving celebrations. So let’s start with a couple of food thoughts in our creative ideas for hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
Have a potluck Thanksgiving
For those of you are overwhelmed at the idea of cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner yourself, you might want to host a potluck. For example, you could provide the turkey (and maybe mashed potatoes and gravy). And guests could bring whatever items they consider to be standard Thanksgiving fare. Interestingly, this could provide an element of fun surprise. Plus, you could be introduced to Thanksgiving “favorites” you didn’t know existed.
“Crowd-source” your Thanksgiving
Admittedly, this sounds bad. But, in reality, it’s not as strange as it sounds. No, we’re not suggesting you accept food from strangers. The idea here is simply to have people help take some of the weight of cooking off the shoulders of the hosts.
In this case, the hosts provide the menu. Next, guests can choose from the host’s list an item or items they’d like to contribute. Finally, it’s up to each person to follow through on their commitment and show up with their contribution – be it a pie, a dish of stuffing, a package of rolls, or a cooked turkey.
Some of you may be hosting your family for Thanksgiving this year – a situation which can range from delightful to tenuous to downright difficult. Here are a couple of thoughts to keep things moving in the right direction.
- Let people bring their specialties. If your mother-in-law is known for her stuffing and your grandparents make a mean macaroni and cheese, capitalize on that by accepting their offers. Or, you might even ask them if you’re comfortable doing so. In fact, some people may be delighted to find their creations are in demand.
- Get along and make compromises. If some want a modern Thanksgiving with new food items and others are simple traditionalists, see if you can find a balance. Perhaps provide the staples or non-negotiables yourself and let others bring new, exciting dishes. Plus, you could even try to make the compromise into some cheery buffet-table decorations with signs that say something like “The Old Guard” and “The New Guard” on different sections of the table.
- Plan on some fun activities to keep everyone occupied.
Next up in creative ideas for hosting Thanksgiving dinner, let’s think about the location: your mobile home. With your home as the gathering place, you’ll want to give adequate thought to how you can comfortably entertain your guests. Even if you have a small home, don’t despair. First, create a list of the number of guests. Next, calculate how many seats you have.
Of course, overflow seating will be in order if your table won’t fit everyone. These could be couches or armchairs, but bringing in some folding tables and chairs is also an option. Since you may not keep folding tables and chairs on hand, you may need to borrow them. Possibly, you could borrow them from a church, an office, or even a community organization.
Solving the seating dilemma
However, if bringing in more chairs isn’t an option, get creative with your seating ideas. Maybe you could move a couple armchairs next to a couch with end table in the center of the arrangement. This way, people have a table for their cups but can hold their plates on their laps.
Additionally, if you live in an area where the weather is still comfortable on the big day, a picnic table or picnic blanket is an option to provide overflow seating. In fact, the kids in the group might love getting to enjoy the food and the outdoors at the same time.
Finally, here are a couple ideas to kick your Thanksgiving celebration up a notch and keep folks busy.
- Have each guest bring an item they’re thankful for (wrapped in gift paper – unlabelled) and hold a Yankee Swap.
- Leave paper and pens sitting on a table and have everyone write down a couple things they’re thankful for. Here you want to keep them anonymous. Then, pass out several at the dinner table (or at each dinner table if you’ve had to split people into groups) so people can have fun guessing who wrote what.
Be thankful and have fun!
Keep your wheels turning to come up with even more creative ideas for hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Try to turn it into a fun event by recalling some of the best hosting techniques you’ve ever experienced. The best hosting tips we have: don’t forget to be thankful for all the friends and family filling your home! Enjoy the occasion and don’t stress over the little things. And one more thing, if you have overnight guests coming into town for Thanksgiving, take a look at these great guest room ideas.