8 Keys to Hosting a Perfect Thanksgiving Potluck

If you’re like many folks in Hampton Roads you’re new to the area, have to work, or can’t get home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Never fear! A Thanksgiving pot luck can fit any schedule and you can tweak it to be fun for any crowd. Here are some tips for holding the perfect Thanksgiving Potluck.

Plan your menu

Don’t forget your vegetarians, your picky eaters, and your own holiday traditions. We all know the Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and your fave veggies, but remember that if you’re used to cooking potatoes with turkey gravy a veggie option might be a good thing to add, or leave spices and dressings on the side. Don’t forget to leave room for your guests’ tastes and improvisations!

Assign dishes early

Now that you have a rough menu together, or at least know what you’ll be preparing, time to open it up to your guests! Have a dish suggestion ready for them, or see if they have a favorite they would like to share. It may take a little juggling (everyone seems to like their green beans a different way) but try to make sure all food groups are represented. Don’t forget dessert!

Talk turkey

The host often provides the main course, which on Thanksgiving is the turkey. Go find your bird, and get all the preps together for cooking it. Make sure you know when it needs to thaw (if it does) and you have the essential stuffing, seasonings, and gravy accouterments.

Don’t forget practical things like chairs and parking

Once you have a committed head count, make sure you have the number of chairs to match. You’ll also need to think about the space at the table and where they’re going to put their cars. It might be a good time to borrow a card table or some spare chairs from friends.

Plan a fun centerpiece

The table is the crowing glory of any Thanksgiving celebration. If you have room with all the food, how about a cool centerpiece? Remember not to make it took tall (people want to see each other while they converse) or too glittery (you’ll never get rid of the glitter and nobody wants to eat it!)

Think about music

Background music can really solidify the ambiance of any party. Classical is relaxing and creates a formal air, pop music is fun. and indie acoustic can set a very specific mood as well. Decide what you and your guests will like and then play it at a low volume.

Consider festive drink options

You can’t go wrong with wine and juice, but consider the crowd. Have things to hand to make a variety of mix and match cocktails and see what you want your party’s “signature” cocktails to be. Cranberry is always a popular theme that transcends the dinner table and the drinking glass on Thanksgiving.

What about the after party?

Once the meal is over, then what? Holiday movies or games are often on the after-party menu to celebrate the start of the holiday season. You can always go on an outing to check out the lights or even start hitting the sales for Black Friday!

Thankgiving is fun for everyone, whether you’re gathering with family at home or new friends, this will be a party you can’t forget.