If you’re planning to host Thanksgiving Dinner this year, there are some simple things you can do to make your guests feel even more welcome in your home.Start the welcome at your front door. Hang a seasonal wreath or swag. If you don’t have one, have your youngsters gather big leaves, tie the stems with a ribbon and hang on the door. You can also have your budding artists draw or paint a welcome sign that can be hung outside.
Let a welcoming scent greet your guests as soon as they step inside. Have a candle burning in the entry, or at the least, have a scented wall plug-in. Think about scents that go with the season such as pumpkin, cinnamon or apple.Clean out your coat closet or, if you don’t have one, make sure there is a designated area for coats. Enlist some youngsters to be the official door greeters and coat takers. It makes them feel important, keeps them occupied, makes guest feel welcome, and frees up your time for more important tasks.
If you are serving food buffet style, add in plenty of height, color and texture to your table. If you are serving a plated meal or everyone will be seated at the table, have children create fun place cards for each guest.
When you are selecting a centerpiece, make sure it is low enough that everyone can see over the top of it. For a casual country look, use a piece of barn wood (that has been cleaned) down the length of the table and put a mixture of candles, nuts and pears or apples on it. For a more formal atmosphere, think about taper candles combined with seasonal flowers or even stalks of wheat tied in bundles with satin ribbon.
Make sure the guest bathroom is shiny-clean. This is one area guests will notice if everything isn’t in top shape. Spend a few minutes the night before scrubbing, polishing, and putting out fresh towels. A candle or small floral arrangement is a great finishing touch for the guest bath. Have plenty of garbage bags on hand as well as plastic wrap and foil. If you are going to send home doggie bags, make sure you have resealable bags or even some take-out boxes to use.
Offer an activity for the children. It could be something as simple as Thanksgiving themed pages to color, board games, or find-the-thimble. Put an older child in charge of these activities. I read something the other day about a game that would have been played around the time of the first Thanksgiving celebration called “Kick the Shins” … now there is a game I could have fun with!
Most of all, remember it isn’t about the house, the food or the atmosphere – it is about the people. Be gracious, be welcoming, and create some warm memories that will last long after the turkey is finally gone!
A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.