Without any notice, my mom tenders her resignation, and announces, in her Nigerian accent, "Y’all, I am not cooking for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner anymore.
Gbo gbo yin ti da gba (you all are grown), I am coming to your house or going to my friends.
My siblings laugh, and say to me, " Oh well...Bomi you are the firstborn!" Smh, I WAS IT!
Hosting comes easy for me, and I enjoy making people feel welcomed and comfortable; I do it all the time, BUT, cooking food?! That is another story. When it comes to cooking, my mom is a rock star! She whips out any dish and adds pizzazz to it - Jollof Rice, Macaroni and Cheese, you name it. She can do just about anything, so I knew I needed the full blast, maximum power of God to pull this off.
Well, I have good news, IT WAS A FANTASTIC THANKSGIVING! The food was excellent, everyone had fun, and I learned a few things I hope will help you with hosting Thanksgiving, especially if it's your first time.
Sometimes we miss the purpose of Thanksgiving, and it’s important to note it’s not just about the food. Thanksgiving is about family and friends coming together and being grateful to God for all He has done. When you have the right perspective, the weight and anxiety you may feel about hosting and cooking will begin to lift; your planning and organization become about creating an environment that is conducive for a conversation that is peaceful and encouraging, a space that will foster thankfulness, cheer, and, of course, getting our bellies full. (Because fun and joy isn't the same without fellowship and food). So you see, the meal is part of the overall plan but is not the ALL plan.
Most families have interesting relational dynamics and holidays, at times, can bring the best or the worse out of these relationships. So if you are anxious about hosting and family interactions, I encourage you to pray. Prayer makes a difference. We ask God for other things, and this is no different. Invite him in by committing your preparations and Thanksgiving day itself to him (Proverbs 16:3). Pray for the right people to sit next to each other, pray for the peace and the presence of God to foster unity and harmony in your family, and pray for yourself as you will be hosting that day. If you need some thoughts, here is a prayer I pray
I thank you for the opportunity to host Thanksgiving in my home. I ask for the wisdom, strength, creativity, and heart to organize and make everyone feel welcome. Bless the preparations and help me to honor everyone. I pray and ask for your peace, your grace, and your love to abide in my home and everyone's heart as we all sit together. I commit everything to you and trust you to guide me
in Jesus Name, Amen.
I give it up to all the people who can throw down, my mom included. But if cooking stresses you out or isn't your forte, there are some fantastic groceries stores and restaurants that offer holiday meals. You can order just the sides or the whole Thanksgiving dinner. For instance, Wholefoods provides holiday meals, and they are delicious. Seriously, it is scrumptious, and the cost, surprisingly, didn't break the bank. (I wasn't paid to say this, just my experience). You decide how much food, and what type - sides or main dish - you want to order. Another option is to have a caterer cook the meal and have it delivered the day before. All you do is warm things up a few minutes before dinner time, serve it on a beautiful platter and voila! If you are looking for a more cost-effective way to go, you can do a bulk share with friends. You find three or four friends that are experts at different dishes. So if you have a friend who cooks a fantastic mac and cheese, and you are known for your finger-licking honey butter roles, you get together, cook your specialty in bulk and split into two portions :) You can do this with multiple friends and have Thanksgiving covered. And of course, potlucks are a sure win!
Bottom line, if you don’t feel comfortable with cooking, there are other ways to get the meal on the table, and it will give you incredible peace of mind. Remember, the overall purpose is to spend time with family and friends, in gratitude.
Decorating your home for Thanksgiving can seem daunting, but there is inspiration available. I often get my ideas from Pinterest. I mix and match ideas, so it works for my budget. You can do the same using what you currently have in your home whether it's fine china, everyday dishes, or even paper plates; The idea is to make it a fun and welcoming environment for your guests. If you want to spruce things up but have a limited budget, the Dollar tree has some incredible treasures. Trust me; you will be amazed! Here are a couple of examples.
Can I share a secret with you? Plate chargers and simple centerpieces on the dinner table often make a grand statement. Save place settings pictures you like on any social media outlets, or from store displays, and make them your own. And don't limit yourself to what you see, customize it, so it functions for your pocket and your family gathering. Again, work with what you have, have fun, get inspiration, and your guests will feel welcomed.
HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN!!! I can't stress this enough. Remember the reason for Thanksgiving, right? Just have fun and roll with it. When you are having fun, your family and friends will have fun. So enjoy every moment, and make beautiful memories.
I hope this helps, if it does, share this other friends who may find this helpful. :) Have a Happy Thanksgiving!