The perfect Thanksgiving

I must admit, I am not actually crazy about Thanksgiving. It is kind of a blah holiday for me. Of course, I love to see my family, but the day is inundated with football (which I do not particularly enjoy) and full-ness. I also work a job that requires the days following to be swarming with retail orders to pack up for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, which means there is little rest to be had after all of the Thursday shenanigans. All of that to say, Thanksgiving may not be my favorite holiday, but I do enjoy the festivities. The turkey and potatoes. The heat radiated through the house from the warm oven. The pumpkin pie that I devour. It can be fun. 

Today I was itching to share the fun, the food, and the best pie dishes- because Thanksgiving is almost here!

There are so many elements to a successful Thanksgiving gathering. Many of those elements are out of your control, but those that are- hosting, decorating, baking, and creating memories for you and your family or your chosen family is always fun and so worth it.

In this post, I've compiled my favorite music, recipes, dishes for those recipes, mocktails, tablescape accessories, and post-dinner traditions. So, let's begin. As always, I'd love to hear what you'd add to this list in the comments below!

Photo by Natalia Savchuk / Pexels

About the main event- I must admit I have never made turkey all on my own, but my family loved this turkey recipe last year from Half Baked Harvest. Warm and buttery. I did come across this turkey recipe from The Novice Chef blog, though, that gives in-depth instructions and tips for the new cook. Both recipes take 2-3 hours.

While the turkey is coming together, my family always snacks and there are literally no better snacks than a good dip and charcuterie. My mom makes a classic spinach and artichoke dip every year and I eat half of the dish by myself. But a nice charcuterie, with assorted meats, cheeses, nuts, and olives makes for a perfect pre-dinner snack.

Sides vary from person to person and family to family, but I always go for a variety of potatoes. I usually choose mashed but scalloped, roasted, or gratin will also fit right in with the rest of your plate.

The fun thing about sides is that they can be anything. You can make whatever sounds interesting- asparagus, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, etc. 

I also loved this Vogue article about what Ina Garten is making for Thanksgiving, full of recipes and mouth-watering images. She has so many great side dish ideas.

Photo by Natalia Savchuk / Pexels

Thanksgiving must include pie. I know it's written in the rules somewhere, but your pie of choice should be in a delightful pie dish. I love my ceramic Emile Henry pie dish in the color Flour, but there are so many options out there, to match your laid-back gathering or an all-out tablescape. 

My favorite pies for this time of year are candied pecan and pumpkin, of course. My favorite pecan pie recipe by Lauren Allen's blog Tastes Better From Scratch is a classic that my mother makes annually and I adore. For pumpkin pie, I have been following John Kanell's pumpkin pie recipe from his Preppy Kitchen blog for a few years now and it's lovely. John also has a recipe for mini pumpkin pies, which could be a fun dessert element. If you're looking for something a little less traditional, another great option is chocolate- obviously. I love this Molten Chocolate Crackle Pie recipe by Half Baked Harvest's Tieghan Gerard.

Photo by Natalia Savchuk / Pexels
Music is one of my favorite parts of gatherings. Curating the ambiance is so much fun. I created a Thanksgiving playlist for this year on Spotify. It is jazzy and autumnal.

There are so many ways to incorporate family traditions, from special recipes to football games, post-dinner movies, etc. My favorite is watching You've Got Mail and working on a puzzle once everyone is full and tired. It's such a cozy end to the day.

I'm not sure exactly what my holiday will look like this year but I hope you and your loved ones have a lovely holiday!

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