For many people, Thanksgiving is something to look forward to all year long! The family meal, the football, the endless servings of pie… So if you find yourself moving during the holiday season, missing out on all the usual traditions can put a major rain cloud over the Turkey Day fun. We’ve put together some tips on how to celebrate your first Thanksgiving in your new home without turning into a frantic, crazy person trying to do everything. Fret not, it can be done!
What about the turkey?
Try to order your turkey at least two or three weeks in advance. This means doing some research into local markets, butchers or farms ahead of time to select one that will be able to provide what you want. In many cases, you can pre-order before you’ve even moved into your new home!
If you’re moving around Thanksgiving it might be too late to order fresh, so you can always buy a frozen turkey. Be sure to set it out to thaw the night before in a sink full of cold water, or you’ll be battling a still-frozen bird when your family or friends start to arrive! Of course, you can always buy pre-cooked. This will most likely be the most expensive option, but for those who will become a stressed-out mess otherwise, it may be the best choice.
What to do if the oven isn’t ready yet
No oven? No problem. If you still have use of your stovetop, you can prepare most of your side dishes and opt for a pre-cooked turkey and desserts. This might just be the year to get creative — or conversely, to keep it super simple.
If you don’t want to buy pre-cooked, there are tons of alternative ways to cook a turkey! If you have a large enough slow-cooker, that’s one simple way to roast up a tender bird with stuffing and all. Grilling your turkey is also a great option, and using a bag of hickory chips can quickly turn your grill into an at-home smoker for a dinner your guests won’t forget. Deep-fried turkey has become a trend as of recent, or if you’re open to more creative methodologies… have you heard of the Turducken? That recipe only calls for a turkey breast (among a few other ingredients!).
Don’t stress- keep it simple
Although we all love to impress, your friends and family will understand if you keep things a little more low-key for your first Thanksgiving in a new home. Don’t be afraid to have pre-made dishes on offer, to order pies from the local bakery, or to ask your friends and family to bring dishes they make at home. If you don’t have your dishes fully unpacked, find some pretty disposable plates! It’s the time with the ones you love that matters most, right?
Tip: make sure your home is stocked with at least the basics using our ultimate new apartment grocery list!
Go to a restaurant!
If you haven’t even had time to set up your table, go out! In an ideal world, choose a restaurant and make a reservation ahead of time. Otherwise? Call around and see who has availability (and is open!) on Thanksgiving. If you’re willing to eat at a slightly off-peak time like 3 pm, you may be able to snag a table in a busy establishment even last-minute. This could also be the ticket if having your first Thanksgiving in a small house seems like a recipe for disaster!
Consider volunteering instead
Take time to be grateful for all that you have, including your new home! You could just skip all of the stress about your first Thanksgiving dinner and volunteer at a local food bank or soup kitchen instead. Give back to those who are having a hard time by calling local volunteer organizations, shelters, and soup kitchens to see who needs volunteers. Tip: do this ahead of time if possible, since some organizations require an interview or clearance process before you can volunteer!
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