The holiday season is an ideal time for seniors to catch up with family and friends, especially those who live far away. Whether you invite everyone to a potluck at your retirement community or gather at a relative’s house for a sit-down dinner, the important thing is that you spend quality time together. Here are a few tips to ensure your Thanksgiving gathering is stress-free and that everyone gets in the holiday spirit.
If you’re going to host a Thanksgiving bash, give yourself ample time to plan. It’s a good idea to start preparing for the event in early November. Create a guest list, decide on a menu, write up a shopping list and account for other various needs. If a loved one needs assistance traveling, decide early who will pick them up and at what time. If you have all the prep work completed ahead of time, you’ll have less to worry about come the holiday.
Communication is key when planning or attending a big Thanksgiving event. If you’re going to be the host, check in with your guests to get a final headcount and ensure that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be bringing. If you’re just an attendee, ask your family or friends what you can do to help. If everyone has assigned roles, the dynamic of the dinner will be much smoother. Having open lines of communication will also help you to resolve any transportation, timing or dietary issues before the big day. This way there are no conflicts to solve and everyone can focus on celebrating the time together.
Cater to all tastes
Sometimes in an attempt to create amazing seasonal dishes, hosts can overlook the food preferences of their guests. Next to the apple-pomegranate salsa and apricot-pecan stuffing, there should be a couple classic dishes that will appeal to everyone’s palates. Add these delicious sides to your Thanksgiving menu to round of the holiday feast.
Creamy mashed potatoes
Everyone likes something different in their mashed potatoes, whether it’s garlic, sour cream, cheese or bacon. Stick to this simple recipe for Thanksgiving and offer a variety of mix-ins that will please all the guests.
- 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash, peel and quarter the potatoes. While you’re working, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and lower to medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain the vegetables, then return them to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients, then mash with a fork or special tool.
Roasted butternut squash
Would a Thanksgiving feast be complete without a side of winter squash? This recipe emphasizes the great taste of butternut squash and can easily be mashed or seasoned to suit the tastes of your guests.
- 2 medium butternut squashes
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Coat the pans with a light layer of cooking spray. Peel the squashes and remove the seeds and pulp. Cut the vegetable into 1-inch cubes, doing your best to keep them uniform. Place the pieces in a large bowl, then add remaining ingredients. Toss until squash are well coated. Spread the pieces onto the prepared baking sheets – try not to crowd the cubes, or else they won’t cook all the way. Put the sheets in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, turning the squash halfway through.