Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It gives me time to be grateful for life’s little gifts, focus on my family and show some appreciation for the things that I often take for granted.
While the holiday holds a lot of meaning, I’m also a sucker for the incredible food and Thanksgiving celebration!
So instead of keeping my excitement bundled up, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Thanksgiving ideas — including recipes and everything you’ll need to safely pull off a meal you’ll never forget.
To start, here’s a video of me explaining how to carve a turkey! Whether you’re an experienced host or you’re throwing your first dinner at your place, this is a great intro to get you started!
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How to Pull Off a Safe Celebration
Thanksgiving, like any other holiday, isn’t going to be the same this year. And with coronavirus cases on the rise around the country, it’s important to take precautions to safely celebrate the holiday.
Thankfully, the CDC recently released some guidelines to help us navigate Thanksgiving to make it enjoyable and comfortable for everyone in attendance.
Considerations for Thanksgiving
Pay close attention to how many people are attenting your gathering and where you’re hosting. Consider the amount of COVID-19 cases in your town and follow community restrictions in terms of how many people you can have together in one place.
You’ll likely have your gathering inside, but just be aware that indoor settings typically pose more of a risk than outdoor settings. Maybe open a few windows to increase ventilation! Or play some outdoor games while the meal is cooking to limit time inside.
As a courtesy, it’s also be a good idea to ask your attendees about their comfort level during this time. When you’re with family or close friends, it’s easy to assume everyone feels the same way as you. However, some people might want to take more precautions than others.
To find a full list of CDC recommendations, follow the link HERE.
The environment might look different, but that doesn’t mean the food needs to be! Some families have their go-to recipes they prepare year-after-year. But if you’re in need of some new ones, I found a few on the web!
Remember, most stores offer grocery delivery — and sometimes it’s free! So if you don’t feel comfortable heading to the store in the craziness of holiday season, you can get your ingredients sent directly to your doorstep.
I found this recipe from Julia’s Album for a colorful side dish that will perfectly complement any Thanksgiving turkey. It includes roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberries, walnuts and cinnamon butternut squash.
In my opinion, it’s a good way to get in some of those healthy vegetables in a unique and flavorful way!
One of my favorite sides growing up was my grandmother’s homemade bread rolls. And I’d be lying if I said that bread isn’t one of my top sides to this day! From the brushed butter to the fresh-out-of-the-oven warmth, they’re truly unbeatable.
My Grandma’s roll recipe is a bit of a family secret…but I found this one from Butter With A Side of Bread that’s similar. They look just like my grandma’s and the photo looks so delicious that I want to sink my teeth right in!
Head on over to Cafe Delites where you can find a delicious recipe for some Thanksgiving stuffing! It puts a spin on the traditional dish by including pan-fried sausages, cranberries and white wine (yes, you heard that right!).
Karina, the chef behind the recipe, says that they’re even better as leftovers!
Sometimes (okay, a LOT of times), cooking can get overwhelming. That’s why I occasionally rely on pre-made dishes to take some of the stress out of the day.
This St. Clair Sweet Potato Casserole is topped with brown sugar, pecans and walnuts. And all you have to do is pop it in the oven — no other prep needed!
Let’s say you’re only cooking for two or three this Thanksgiving… all that extra turkey can be a lot to handle. So, I found this recipe for Instant Pot Turkey Breast online — a delicious solution to a small get together.
Not only is this a waste-free option, it’s super simple. Just follow the short prepping instructions, cook your turkey breast in the pot, crisp it in the oven and there you have it!
A lot of people opt for pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (my family included), but I thought I’d share my Historic Maine Inn Pecan Pie!
It’s been a regular staple in my house since I was a little girl and it makes for the perfect holiday treat. The cinnamon, the walnuts… trust me, it’s a must.
If you want something on the tart side, you can check out my Cranberry Apple Bake on justjill.com. It requires under 10 ingredients and the flavor is to die for!
Must-Haves for The Table
Put more cheer into the celebration with some decor and festive table essentials. I found everything from place settings to napkin rings and I hope you like them!
If you’re on a budget, you can put together some DIY ideas with leftover Halloween pumpkins, fall floral arrangements or or simple place cards, too.
Welcome your guests with this adorable Thanksgiving Place Setting. You can situated it on everyone’s plate before their meal, or place it near the entrance of your home along with a little festive goodie bag.
This centerpiece is a good reminder to look at the blessings in your life — even when the holidays get a bit crazy. While I love the tradition of setting out flowers or harvest gourds, I adore the uniqueness of this one.
Plus, you can bring it out year after year without hassle!
Spruce up your table by adding these Gold Leaf Napkin Rings to your place setting. They’re simple, yet elegant and I’m sure the shine will brighten everyone’s day.
Stick with the gold theme by adding these festive salt and pepper shakers to your table! How perfect are these? Not only do they serve a purpose, but they are bound to bring in a few compliments.
Cooking and Kitchen Necessities
So you’ve got a festive table setting, but you can’t have a feast without food! Here are a few cooking and baking essentials that will help you put on a meal that your guests won’t forget.
They’ll also make your job a whole lot easier. And who doesn’t love a bit of a break!
It’s important to have a sturdy mixer to help you prepare everything from holiday baked goods to mashed potatoes and more.
The KitchenAid Mixer is a classic with high remarks in terms of quality and ease-of-use. Yes, it’s a bit expensive but it will last you far longer than you expect!
You can’t properly cook a turkey without a roaster and I found one that looks like it will do the job! The Ayesha Curry Roaster comes with a removable rack so you can use it for multiple dishes. It also includes a baster, flavor-injecting needle and cleaning brush.
Another helpful characteristic about this one is that it has a nonstick coating throughout — making your job of cleaning a whole lot easier.
Turkey forks tend to be an afterthought, but they’re so helpful! Instead of trying to lift your roast with some large silverware buried in the back of your drawer, you can use these Walnut Turkey Forks to make the process a simple task.
Sure, you could use any old cutting board, but Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to get a new carving accessory! The Architec Madeira Carving Board has some beautiful tones throughout and I love that it has a gravy well to minimize drops.
This platter from Macy’s is both affordable and elegant. Adorned with beautiful harvest-inspired details, it’s sure to bring a chic touch to your Thanksgiving feast!
Looking for a pan that doubles as decor? Look no further than this one I found at Target. It has a ruffled edge that will give your pie a unique look. It also comes in three colors so you can easily match it to the decor you have on your table.
So, what will your Thanksgiving look like this year? Are you celebrating with family, or having guests over to your home?
No matter how you spend it, I hope these ideas serve you well!