How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated annually in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. For many, Thanksgiving is about spending time with family members and friends, and being thankful for the people and things in their life. It is typically celebrated by having a big meal with a turkey as the centerpiece. Watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, football, volunteering, and playing games are also ways to celebrate Thanksgiving.


[Edit]Planning Thanksgiving Day

  1. Invite family members and friends a month in advance. Make a list of family and friends that you would like to celebrate Thanksgiving with. Call them to let them know that you will be celebrating Thanksgiving at your house and that you would like them to come. Letting them know in advance will allow them to make plans if they need to travel.[1]
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    • Be aware that some people may decline because they already have plans for Thanksgiving.
  2. Choose a potluck-style Thanksgiving meal for easier prep. A potluck-style meal will help you shoulder the burden of cooking. If you choose to have this type of meal, ask your guests what they would like to contribute to the meal. Make a list of the dishes they will be bringing. Then provide the rest of the food.[2]
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    • The host will typically make the turkey for a potluck-style Thanksgiving meal.
  3. Buy the turkey two to three weeks in advance. This way you can ensure that you will have a turkey for the meal. Buy the turkey from your local grocery store or a turkey farm. Purchase a 12-pound (190-ounce) turkey to feed 10 to 15 people. Choose a 16-pound (260-ounce) turkey for 15 or more people. Place the turkey in the freezer once you get home.[3]
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    • A typical 12 to 16-pound (190 to 260-ounce) turkey costs $21 to $25.
  4. Make a grocery list. Make a list of all the ingredients you will need to prepare the meal. To beat the rush, buy dry ingredients one to two weeks in advance. Buy fresh ingredients five to seven days in advance.[4]
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    • For example, buy bread, canned pumpkin, chicken broth, butter, and the ham two weeks in advance. Buy cranberries, green beans, rolls, corn, sweet potatoes, and milk five to seven days in advance.

[Edit]Cooking the Meal

  1. Thaw your turkey in the fridge a few days before Thanksgiving. Thaw 12-pound (190-ounce) turkeys two days in advance. Thaw turkeys larger than 12 pounds three days in advance.[5]
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  2. Make the cranberry sauce. Place of cranberries in pot. Add of sugar and of balsamic vinegar to the pot. Place the pot on the stove. Set the stove to medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, about eight minutes. Stir of nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, and pepper into the mixture.[6]
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    • Place the heat on low to simmer the sauce. Stir the sauce until a thick mixture forms. Add salt to taste.
    • Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the cranberry sauce in a plastic container and let it cool, about ten minutes.
    • Once the sauce has cooled, place it in the fridge. Serve cool.
  3. Make the mashed potatoes. Wash, peel, and chop 8 to 10 potatoes. In a large pot, bring four quarts of water to a boil, about 10 minutes. Place of salt in the water. Place the chopped potatoes in the water. Boil them until soft. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water. Let the potatoes cool for three minutes. After three minutes, use a fork or a masher to mash the potatoes. Finish the potatoes by:
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    • Adding of milk, butter, black pepper, and salt to taste. Mix the ingredients together until well combined.
    • Place the mashed potatoes in a serving dish that you can reheat. Then place it in the fridge.
    • Re-heat the mashed potatoes in a oven one hour before the meal.
  4. Prepare a bread and celery stuffing. Preheat your oven to . Cut a stale loaf of white or wheat bread into cubes. Place a large pot on the stove. Set the heat to medium. Melt of butter in the pot. Add one chopped onion and four stalks of chopped celery to the pot. Cook the onion and celery until soft, about five to eight minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.[7]
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    • Stir in the cubes of bread until evenly coated.
    • Stir of chicken broth into the mixture. Mix the ingredients together until well combined.
    • Place the ingredients in a greased casserole dish. Place the dish in the oven and cook the stuffing for 30 to 40 minutes.
    • Re-heat the stuffing in a oven one hour before the meal.
  5. Roast the turkey on Thanksgiving morning. Preheat your oven to . Place the turkey in a roasting pan. In a separate bowl combine of olive oil, of garlic powder, of dried basil, a of sage and salt, and of black pepper. Baste the outside of the turkey with the mixture. Pour of water into the bottom of the roasting pan.[8]
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    • Secure the roasting pan with a lid or two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the roasting pan in the oven.
    • Bake the turkey for three and a half hours, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh is .
    • Once the turkey is done, remove it from the oven. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  6. Cook any additional side dishes while the turkey is cooking. Green beans, dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and corn are typical side dishes served with the turkey. You can also serve ham with the turkey as well.[9]
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  7. Bake a ham. Preheat your oven to . Place the ham cut side down in a baking pan. Cover the ham with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the ham in the oven. Make the glaze once you put the ham in the oven. Baste the ham with the glaze every 20 minutes. During the last five minutes, remove the foil to caramelize the glaze.[10]
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    • To make a glaze combine of brown sugar and mango chutney, three cloves of minced garlic, of orange zest, of orange juice, and of dijon mustard to make a glaze. Mix the ingredients together until well combined.
    • Bake a fully-cooked ham for 10 minutes per pound. Bake a partially cooked ham for 20 minutes per pound.
  8. Order fresh pies for Thanksgiving Day. Pumpkin, apple, pecan, and cherry pies are typical pies served as desserts on Thanksgiving. Pick up your pies one to two days before the big day. On Thanksgiving Day, warm the pies up per the instructions on the box.[11]
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    • Alternatively, make a pumpkin pie or a pecan pie from scratch.
    • Thanksgiving-themed cookies and candies are also common desserts served on Thanksgiving.
  9. Ask for thanks before the meal. Before the meal is served, friends and family members typically take turns saying what they are thankful for. This is a time to reflect on all the things you are grateful for, including your family, job, coworkers, and other people and things.[12]
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    • You could also play the A to Z gratitude game. Have everyone sit together so that they can hear and see one another. Going around the group of family and friends, have each person say what they're grateful for, according to the letter of the alphabet. For example, the first person would say, I am thankful for Aunt Sharons kindness.

[Edit]Decorating the Tables

  1. Cover the tables with tablecloths. Choose a thanksgiving-themed or fall-themed tablecloth. Set the table with the plates and silverware as well.[13]
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    • You can purchase thanksgiving-themed napkins from your local grocery store or crafts store as well.
  2. Decorate the table with a centerpiece. You can purchase thanksgiving-themed centerpieces from your local crafts store. You could also use a bouquet of autumn flowers, candles, or a cornucopia as a centerpiece.[14]
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  3. Use foldout tables for extra seating. If you do not have enough room at your dining room table, then set up a separate table or two in your living room or den. Seat children at this table, or divide your guests up into groups and seat them at the other tables.[15]
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    • Alternatively, use a coffee table as a table for children. Place pillows around the table for the children to sit on.

[Edit]Entertaining Family and Friends

  1. Watch the Thanksgiving Day parade. The Thanksgiving Day parade starts at 9 a.m. Eastern Time in New York City. It lasts until 11 a.m. Local news stations like CBS, ABC, and NBC typically broadcast the parade. Watch the parade with your friends, children, and family members.[16]
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    • You can watch the parade on Verizons YouTube channel as well.
  2. Put on a football game. Watching football on Thanksgiving is a favorite American pastime. Games are typically played throughout day on local TV channels such as ABC, NBC, and CBS.[17]
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    • Alternatively, organize a backyard football game with family, friends, and neighbors before the big meal.
  3. Volunteer at a local shelter. Because Thanksgiving is a day of giving and gratitude, many people choose to volunteer an hour or so of their time at local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or religious institutions. Contact a local shelter in your area to find out what time the festivities will take place.[18]
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    • If you dont have time to volunteer, then donate clothes or canned goods to your local shelter.
    • Invite your friends and family members to volunteer with you.
  4. Take a nap or a walk after the meal. Because the Thanksgiving meal is such a big meal, it may leave you and your guests feeling tired. It is ok and even customary to sit down and doze off on the couch for 30 minutes after the big meal. Others may choose to take a walk around the neighborhood instead.[19]
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  5. Play games. Games like Monopoly, Life, Pictionary, and Clue are a great way to spend some quality time with friends and family members. Card and dice games like Yahtzee are also popular.[20]
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  • Know that the traditional dinner of turkey does not define what Thanksgiving really is. You could have a Thanksgiving dinner with ham instead of turkey, and it wouldn't change the meaning at all!
  • It is okay to buy some prepared food items for the meal. Not everyone has the time or inclination to prepare everything from scratch.
  • Choose simple Thanksgiving recipes if this is your first time preparing the Thanksgiving holiday meal.
  • If you are hosting guests, ensure that all health and dietary needs are met for the meal. Take into consideration guests with certain food allergies or dietary restrictions. For example, provide a tofu turkey for your vegetarian guests.
  • If you have little kids, make sure you can see them at all times. Be sure that they didn't wander into the kitchen, as that could be dangerous.
  • You can bake the traditional pumpkin pie, or you can use cherry pie, french silk... Any kind will do!

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