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Of course your traditional thanksgiving dinner includes Turkey, but what makes the best trimmings for you?

How do you know how many to cater for?

Are you catering for family or friends?

There is plenty to think of for thanksgiving.  How much do you know about the day, we're exploring this to find out more about the day...


I have frequently wondered about this, and looking to write this page gave me some eye opening facts, after all, was it just the fact that Turkey was the 'thanksgiving tradition'?

I didn't know that the wild turkey is a native bird to North America, and I certainly didn't realise why the significance of Turkey's regarding Thanksgiving; or should I say Turkey Day!

The Turkey has been loved by many, including the likes of Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin considered that the bird would be a better mascot for the USA as opposed to the Bald Headed Eagle!

It was a point he didn't push, but then apparently it took Congress 6 years to decide on the bald headed eagle - maybe he thought he'd just let things be!

The Turkey heritage goes back many years, and plays a significant role in Native American tribes of today as it did in yester-year.

Of course the Turkey's role in the Thanksgiving Feast, has it's significance and usually the plumpest birds take pride of place in the center of a groaning feast table...


Well apart from the Turkey of course...!

There are a lot of sources that will give you reams of dishes to cook, stuffings to prepare, gravies to serve, and don't forget the pies!

However a lot of what I've learnt about the meaning of Thanksgiving and it's holiday feast, is it's intrinsic value of your family, it's values and heritage.

So despite my best efforts, putting a definitive checklist together for the perfect Thanksgiving Feast, wouldn't necessarily cover all essentials.

Especially for those that have their Great-Grandmother's Cranberry Sauce recipe, to be served with Aunt Dorothy's Sage Stuffing.

However, I have put together some of the most common ingredients, that will help to make your Thanksgiving guests water at the mouth...

dinner items

  • Turkey
  • Ham (this can be instead of Turkey)
  • 2 types of stuffing (One Cranberry)
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roast potatoes
  • Green bean casserole
  • Yams
  • Bread
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Corn on the cob


  • Pumpkin,
  • Lemon Meringue Pie,
  • Apple,
  • Pecan,
  • Cheesecake (Pumpkin or other variety)


  • Lemon
  • Giblet (Turkey)

By the way... you do not have to have all of them!  Just saying!! 


Are you making all the dishes yourself?

Some families share the 'burden' and bring a long a pie, or the potatoes or the stuffing; organising your troops would be the best option.

This way you prevent duplicate dishes, but still share the workload.

For the quantities you will need for each dish, you need to consider your meal as a whole.

When I'm working out my quantities, I think of one plate, and everything that you'd need for one, then multiply this up.


Seeing an abundance of food from your thanksgiving dinner ideas, is enough to make your mouth water, and likely your tummy rumble!

The evening before though, whilst welcoming holiday guest's, or enjoying a family game or two, spare a thought for your table for tomorrow!

If you are the Chef for tomorrow, then you'll likely want to start preparations early, that way you don't get to miss out on the parade, football or any other family traditions.

To prepare your Thanksgiving table, consider your decorations in and around your table...


safety reminder

Caution! Remember that candles are dangerous. You should not leave them unattended. If you are making your own table decorations using a candle center piece, then remember to not put anything flammable in the display!

What sort of decorations are considered acceptable...

  • Festive tablecloth and matching napkins
  • Bring nature onto the table, with fantastic autumnal leaves, gourds, nuts, small pumpkins, cinnamon sticks
  • Get the kids to make your decorations
  • Candle(s)
  • Turkey decorations

Involving the children gets them involved in all the activities and also gives you the opportunity to tell them about the meaning of thanksgiving. (see my daughter's crafty hands above, at this Thanksgiving Turkey)

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