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Hosting at Home: Turkey Day

It’s easy to get stuck doing what you always have for Thanksgiving; it is about tradition, after all. But why not treat your guests to something new, whether it’s the tablescape or a side dish? There are tons of easy ideas for memorable decorations, and green beans don’t have to be served with canned soup.

» Marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes have had their day. Instead, slice peeled sweet potatoes into thin rounds, line in rows in a baking dish, top with olive oil and fresh herbs, and pop in the oven. Tired of green bean casserole? Roast Brussels sprouts and top with bits of bacon, balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a fresher option—guests will thank you!

» Yes, it’s called turkey day, but there is no rule that says you have to eat turkey! For a ‘wow’ presentation, give each guest a Cornish hen—a great opp for posting those ‘perfect’ pictures. You also could go way off the grid and do an Italian, Mexican or Greek-themed meal based on your family’s heritage.

» Roll out brown packing paper for a tablecloth, and put crayons out for everyone to write what they are thankful for on it. Guests will have fun ‘reading’ the table, and if there is an extra special area, cut it out after dinner and frame it for next year!

» Print old family photos in black and white and line various sizes of glass vases with them for your centerpiece. Fill the vases with dried flowers, corn stalks or mini pumpkins. They will encourage happy conversation at the table!

» If you have a big group, plan a touch football game in your backyard or at a nearby park. Parents vs. kids, siblings and their families vs. other siblings, girls vs. boys: there are numerous options to have fun with it. Plus, it will get everyone outside and active instead of just hanging out in the kitchen eating … and eating.

» While some family members might complain about doing any kind of game, they will change their tune if it’s fun. Split into groups and do charades (even kids love this one); you can customize the game by creating your own cards based on family members or childhood memories. Other classic options that can include all age groups: Twister, Monopoly and Pictionary.