Many do not know the obscure history of Thanksgiving, and the wordplay that has developed through the years to identify the same holiday. Before we look at what you can do to plan for a fun gathering for Thanksgiving at your home, let’s have a short history lesson to understand the celebration held on the 4th Thursday of November.
A Short History of the Origins of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving – Evidence goes back to families gathering to express gratitude for daily blessings since the 1530’s. Although it is unknown if the settlers in 1621 used the actual term Thanksgiving for their celebration, we do know that the initial celebration (here in America) was practiced in New England, before the Revolution. After independence was achieved, the practice spread through the country. Prior to 1863 and the lobbying by Sarah Josepha Hale, there was never a specific date set for individuals to observe the traditions that would blossom into Thanksgiving. However, Abraham Lincoln changed this by designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving.
Franksgiving – In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt thought that he could improve the retail sales of the country by changing the observation date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday of November to the 3rd Thursday. Critics of this decision expressed their disdain and put significant pressure on the government to return to the observance of Thanksgiving to the 4th Thursday of November. President Roosevelt conceded to the critics in 1942, and he returned Thanksgiving to the date we observe today.
Friendsgiving – Most can agree that as times have changed, so has the definition of family. Previously, this was a time of “family” gathering to observe and give thanks for their blessings. However, in today’s world, many have a closer connection to friends. For those individuals, the term “Friendsgiving” was coined to represent those who spend this day with friends instead of family. The wordplay caught on, and large companies started jumping on the bandwagon of “Friendsgiving,” so you may see this term used in certain advertisements.
Whatever you decide to call your gathering, there are some things that you can do to help make this time a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.
Tips for Preparing your Thanksgiving Dinner
1. Have A Plan That Will Work for Your Apartment and Space
The worst thing you could do if you trying to plan a get together is to wait until the day of to try to map things out. Take a moment to think of what you would like to serve, who you are planning to invite, where everyone will sit, what activities you would like to have established, etc. Keep in mind when planning your menu for the afternoon that this is probably not the best time to try that crazy new recipe using things that you have never tried before. That will just add unnecessary stress to your day.
Once you have planned everything, you can start organizing steps to put in place your grand vision. You can even start some things the night before to save on time: organize your counter space, evaluate cooking options, utilize things like slow cookers to give yourself the opportunity to do other things while food is cooking, and even set the table.
2. Move Things Around in Your Apartment to Prepare for Company
You may find that while you want to have several friends and family to your home for Thanksgiving, the limited space can create an issue. This can be alleviated if you make some temporary adjustments to the seating area in your home. If you have a coffee table and other living room furniture that could be moved to say a bedroom for the day, you can turn the larger living room area into a nice dining area for you and your guests.
Don’t forget to also move things around in your refrigerator as well. Trying to clean it out while you are also trying to put left over food away and entertain your guests could present as an issue. Pre-planning for the additional food in your refrigerator will help decrease that stress, and increase the time you have with your guests. You can also save fridge space by utilizing coolers to hold drinks and ice. A very creative addition to your table would be a pumpkin cooler. Simply cut the top half of a pumpkin off, clean it out, fill with ice, and presto. You have a decorative cooler.
3. Elegant But Easy
I know that everyone wants to have the perfect place setting when they are having a nice dinner at their home. You can accomplish a beautiful table while managing to make clean up easier for yourself later. Try using some tasteful thick disposable plates, cups, and even silverware. This will cut your clean up time in half.
4. Have A Little Help
Friends and family, even at the first Thanksgiving, shared the responsibility of the cooking and cleaning that always accompanies a gathering of people in one place. This should not stop at your front door. If you have each guest bring one or two items/dishes, you will have help with the cooking, decrease stress, and even get to try some different foods from your friends.
5. Me Time
One of the most stressful times is when you have been cooking all day, have mostly everything prepared, and you realize that you have not even gotten dressed yet! To avoid that issue before it happens, make sure to plan yourself some “me time” to get the things done for yourself that you will need so you too can enjoy your gathering. If you get some of the cooking and prepping done the night before, you can take your time to do other things the day of the event. This includes time for yourself to be presentable for such a wonderful gathering in your home. And above all, have fun with it!!!
To all our friends at Kagy Village and Brookside Park Apartments, we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
Many of us may travel for Thanksgiving, but for those of us staying in Bozeman…if you have a Bozeman apartment and think maybe you don’t have enough space to host your friends and family, remember some of the tips here. With a little planning and preparation you can make Thanksgiving at your apartment enjoyable and problem free.