Last year I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a small, intimate affair with only my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and her soon-to-be husband in attendance, in addition to my own family. I really wanted to keep things simple, beautiful, budget-friendly, and delicious. With these things in mind, here’s what I did, and everything you need to host a small Thanksgiving dinner.
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Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Decor
There are so many gorgeous Thanksgiving tablescapes to emulate on Pinterest. Since we have a smaller table (5 ft.), I didn’t want to clutter with too much decor. I bought this beautiful and inexpensive autumn floral centerpiece at Trader Joe’s for around $15. I typically pick up table runners when I see them on sale/clearance but this one I borrowed from my grandmother. She also loaned me fabric napkins which I ironed and placed between the chargers and dinner plates. I purchased gold charges for $1 each at Dollar Tree. I also purchased white dinner plates, snack plates, and drinking glasses there for $1 each! All in all, I spent $24 total on uniform dishes. I didn’t create placecards but there are so many beautiful ideas. It would be so cute to add personalized name tags to tiny pumpkins on everyone’s plates.
Pour a Signature & Festive Drink
I had both red and white wine options available, in addition to tea, soda, and of course, water. The night before Thanksgiving, I prepared a festive sangria, which was a huge hit! I will definitely make this or another festive drink in any future holidays I host. I used this Cranberry Orange Sangria recipe from Fox and Briar. These Apple Margaritas from Eat. Drink. Love also look delicious!
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
In preparing our Thanksgiving, I had to keep in mind that it only needed to serve 6 people! I know my strengths and those lie in styling, not so much cooking. 😉 We ordered our smoked turkey from a local restaurant called Loyal Q and picked it up the day of. I highly recommend! My grandma (so sweet as she is!) stopped by on the way to their Thanksgiving plans to drop up her candied sweet potatoes and deviled eggs. My SIL brought her signature mac ‘n cheese. In addition to these, we had stuffing, baked asparagus with bacon, corn bread, and cranberry sauce. There was plenty for everyone and still enough for our guests to take food home with them!
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Ok, so you are obviously under no obligation to feed your guests twice, however if they’re going to stick around for a while, a charcuterie board makes for an excellent post dinner snack/meal. We had our dinner in the afternoon and our guests spent the night. I put together a charcuterie as a snack and dessert for everyone later that evening. It looked fantastic and tasted even better! For dessert, my MIL brought a delicious bundt cake from Nothing Bunt Cakes. Here is a grocery list of everything on our charcuterie and any recipes you need:
- Meat tray: salami and prosciutto
- Various crackers and pretzels
- Variety of olives
- Canned cranberry (a family favorite) + Organic Reduced Sugar Cherry Preserves from Trader Joe’s
- Buns leftover from dinner
- Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar (thank me later!)
- Whipped Pumpkin Honey Butter from Somewhat Simple
- Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s Cookies
- Trader Joes Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
- Graham crackers
- Brie Bites. Here’s a recipe for Cranberry Brie Bites.
- Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread from She Wears Many Hats (to die!)
- My personal favorite — Pomegranate-Jeweled Cheeseball (similar recipe here)
Trader Joe’s comes out with new seasonal goodies all the time, so be sure to check that out. I just saw a few drool-worthy ideas for my next shindig. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls with Pumpkin Spice Icing to make Skillet Baked Pumpkin Rolls (ummm, yum!!), Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Slims, and Mini Cornbread Biscotti (perfect for dips and spreads).
I hope your Thanksgiving is a wonderful time spent with loved ones! In a year that’s been as crazy as this one, I am grateful to have this space and to share the little ways we’re making life more magical everyday. I am so grateful for you and your encouragement and support over the years! Thank you!