Thanksgiving Entertaining: Hosting Styles to Celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday

Host a Thanksgiving Potluck
A Thanksgiving potluck dinner offers a truly integrated and interactive dining experience for your own household and all your guests. Whether you are teaming up with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, or anyone else at all, a Thanksgiving potluck dinner can be a big hit for all involved, and you might just find some new favorite recipes. Additionally, inviting you guests to bring a covered dish, side dish, dessert, beverages, or condiment takes some of the pressure off of you as the host or hostess and even saves you some of the financial expense.

“A variation on potluck… As the host, I would roast a turkey, make mashed potatoes and dressing,” says Nancy Kirk, of PRM Associates. “Everyone else brought whatever side dish made it Thanksgiving for them — we often had five or more types of cranberries, ethnic dishes such as sweet and sour cabbage and a wide variety of pies, pickles, olives and onions. We did this when I was single and early in our marriage when we still had lots of single friends. Now that I’m widowed, I’m considering restarting the tradition.”

If you plan to host a Thanksgiving potluck dinner, you may consider coordinating your dishes or you may just leave the menu up to chance. Whatever you decide, this special holiday potluck event is sure to be one that lives on in your memory years after it transpires.

Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner Tip: Eva Ingvarson, party planning expert from suggests, “Ask guests to email you their recipe beforehand, and create a recipe book that each guest can take home as a memento.”

Host a Thanksgiving Cocktail Party or a Thanksgiving Wine & Cheese Party
Spice Night CocktailSometimes guests gather at a special place even after the heavy eating portion of the day. Perhaps it’s your turn to be the relaxing conclusion of the Thanksgiving holiday. (Of course, you can always feature this type of event earlier in the day as well.) You may prepare a few snacks or desserts for your guests who still like to nibble, but the main focus of this type of Thanksgiving entertaining will be your beverages.

By hosting a wine and cheese party for Thanksgiving, you may be able to offer your guests an open house type environment where they can stop by for a drink or two and leave when they need to get to their next destination.

Libby Langdon, interior designer and TV personality, suggests fairly easy ways to host an outstanding wine and cheese party.

“This is a classic for a reason, during the holidays we all get pulled in a million directions and what’s easier than setting out some cheese, opening some wine and having friends over?” she says. “Choose five or six different cheeses (brie, blue, goat, Parmesan…) and choose several different accompaniments (crackers, crusty bread and crostini). Then all you have to do is style them on platters and cutting boards with bunches of grapes, bowls of olives, and sliced pears; it’s as easy as can be but all your guests will be sure to rave about the presentation.

Hosting a Wine & Cheese Party can be a snap! (Photo courtesy of and Cheese Party Tip: “A local wine store can help you choose suitable wine pairings based on the cheese to select… light some candles, put on some music, and have fun!”

For a classy and sophisticated Thanksgiving cocktail party, consider serving your guests a fine bottle or two of port. You can look into W. & J. Graham’s Vintage Porto or Dow’s Vintage Porto in a variety of blends. Your guests will be impressed, and surely will remember your Thanksgiving cocktail party for years to come.

For more suggestions on hosting a holiday cocktail party, see: How to Host a Thanksgiving Cocktail Party.

Additional Info:
To send free e-mail invitations, visit

To learn more about interior designer Libby Langdon, visit

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