Thanksgiving Party Ideas

November 16, 2012

Before you start busting out the Christmas music and brace yourselves for Black Friday insanity there comes a day of thankfulness, family and friends, and more than anything else, food.

Whether you are planning a formal dinner for every family member you have or hosting a small get-together with friends, there are tons of fun and creative ways to be the perfect host (or hostess) and make next Thursday one for the books.

Greet your guests with a Thanksgiving tree and have them write a couple things they are thankful for on paper leaves to hang Christmas-tree style. After everyone is in a food coma you can gather the leaves and read a few. Sound cheesy? Maybe, but it beats the standard “everyone go around and say one thing [thattakes10minutestosay] they are thankful for.”

The Simply Vintage Tree blog shows a creative way to make your tree.

Thanksgiving Dinner can be as simple or elaborate as the host wants. Fairplex executive chef David Teig gave us one of his favorite holiday recipes for those of you who want to try it out:

Grandma Carol’s Cornbread Pecan Stuffing

  • 2 lb. cornbread
  • 12 oz. 1”diced fennel
  • 12 oz. 1” diced onion
  • 3 oz. chopped garlic
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups toasted pecans
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup ground fennel seed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dice cornbread into 1.5” cubes.  Sweat fennel, onion and Garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Mix cornbread with fennel, onion, and garlic.  Mix in remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stuff in turkey and Roast or put in medium roasting pan and bake covered at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.

For the munchies: For a fun snack try creating turkeys using Oreos, candy corn, mini-Reese’s peanut butter cups and other candy. From personal experience I can vouch that these babies meet your sugar fix and then some. has a great recipe for this:


Let’s talk decorating. Every set-up is different but Thanksgiving usually involves sitting around a table covered in food at some point.

  • To create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, try lighting different types of candles. Opt for glass or patterned jars filled with almonds, pinecones, sand and other textures.
  • Choose your centerpiece, whether it’s the beautifully dressed turkey or an elaborate piece of decor.
  • Miniature pumpkins, pine cones and scattered autumn leaves creates an outdoorsy fall look.
  • Clinking glasses of wine, plates of food being devoured, the sound of Turkey Day football in the background, chatter and banter across the table… you know your guests and the atmosphere that will suit them best. The decorations are the backdrop of that, not the centerpiece.

At the end of the day, whether you’re running an event center or hosting at home it is all about your guests. Delicious food, good conversation, a glass of wine, tasty desserts and maybe a little bit of chaos and you have yourself a Thanksgiving party. Just remember to be a gracious host and leave room to relax a bit yourself.

And whatever you do, make sure you’re not like Marney.

Happy Thanksgiving from Fairplex!


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