Thanksgiving is a time of good food, great friends, and family traditions. The normal, daily life routine takes a back seat to time-worn stories, old recipes, and occasionally the opportunity to add a new tradition to the holiday.
Whether by marriage, friendship, or some other circumstance, our families grow and change as the years roll on. Sometimes it can be hard to see the old traditions change, but you can make the addition of new family rituals a happy and inclusive thing for new family members and friends. Here’s a list of things you can do to make your guest feel welcome and appreciated.
1. Ask About Their Traditions
When you issue your invitation to come over for Thanksgiving dinner this year, ask them about their family traditions. What things can they just not live without? Do they like root beer at dinner or apple cider? Did Grandma make Lemon Meringue pie instead of mince? Taking the time to discover some of their favorite things gives you the opportunity to include them in your celebration and make your guest feel welcomed and appreciated.
2. Make Them a Contributor
Nothing says “included” like being asked to participate in the preparations for a special dinner. Ask your guest to bring a special dish or a drink. This also gives you an easy way to have a conversation about any potential allergies or other food concerns.
Formal dinners are delightful, but even a formal affair can be warm, welcoming and fun. Try inviting guests to participate in a break-the-ice game if they don’t know each other well, get them laughing. Give them the opportunity to laugh and talk. This laid-back atmosphere can do more to create a sense of welcome than all the words in the world.
4. Be Chatty
This is your party, so as host you get the fun job of engaging everyone in conversation. Invite your new friends and family to share stories, ideas, and favorite things. Continue to engage them and help to facilitate conversation until it begins to flow on its own. You may need to keep watching the conversation and put your two cents in now and then to keep it going.
5. Be You
Your family and friends are all around your table for one reason: they came because you invited them. You have the power to create a fun, loving, happy experience by relaxing, choosing not to sweat the small stuff on the day of your party, and focusing on your friendships rather than perfection. You will be the heart of the party, so make the most of it. Smile, laugh, and feel the gratitude for a home filled with friends and family around you.