Thanksgiving party ideas – 11 ways to make your celebration swing

1. Make A 'Cheese Cake'

While Thanksgiving table decor ideas might be at the center of your party plans, if you really want to make your hosting memorable, know that the route to your guests' hearts is through their stomachs.

2. Scent The Scene

Scent is one of the fastest ways to create a cozy ambience, and the best Thanksgiving decorations will combine good looks with great aromas. A simple, DIY potpourri is festive, but subtle enough that it won't compete with the turkey cooking in the oven.

3. Make A Signature Cocktail

Serving a signature cocktail will make your guests feel like they're at a special event, but it'll also keep your job as the hostess simple. Instead of offering a full bar, serve up beer, wine, and your custom concoction.

Mix up a large batch and pour it into a beverage server for easy pouring, or set all the ingredients out on the bar or your countertop) with instructions so guests can help themselves.

4. Serve Buffet-Style

Any party is only as fun as its host or hostess, so if you're prone to feeling stressed when you're cooking for a crowd, keep the even casual and invite your guests to serve themselves when the food is ready. It'll take some of the pressure off of you and invite more helping hands.

5. Decorate With A Plan

When planning your Thanksgiving table settings, pick a palette for your table, suggests Kathryn Duryea, founder of dinnerware brand Year & Day. 'Use complementary colors through your dishes, linens, and accessories. Then, build all the layers of your table to match the ceremony of the occasion including linens, florals, candles, place cards, menus, and favors,' she says.

6. Create A Gratitude Wall

Underscore the theme of the day by inviting your guests to partake in your gratitude wall, where they write down something (or a few things!) they're thankful for. To make one, cut a length from a large roll of paper or fabric. Then, put it in a large frame, or use masking tape to hang it on the wall. Ask guests to jot down a few of the things that bring them joy.

7. Light The Candles

Light plays a big role for setting the mood for any party. On Thanksgiving, transition from party time to dinner by dimming the lights and lighting candles, an instant signal that it's time for food and conversation.

8. Embellish The Kids' Table

If you'll have kids at your Thanksgiving party, help them make their own fond memories by paying special attention to the kids' table. Making a colorful leaf garland from construction paper is an easy and inexpensive Thanksgiving craft idea that elevates the kids-only area from an afterthought to a special event.

9. Play A Game

No cozy gathering is complete without a few games. For a low-key approach, set a variety of board games out on a table and let your guests help themselves, or get everyone involved by playing a team game of checkers or Scrabble.

10. Serve Up Kid-Friendly Snacks

Satisfy the picky eaters in the group with Thanksgiving themed foods that score highly on the creativity charts, but don't take a lot of added effort. Copy this cute idea by cutting a sandwich into a circle shape, then adding apple slices as feathers (secure them to the plate with a dot of nut butter). Finish off the illustration with legs made of pepper strips, and a sliced carrot beak, and add a bow on top.

11. Elevate The Hot Cocoa Bar

Interactive treats like a hot cocoa bar turns dessert into a fun party activity. For a special occasion, skip the marshmallows in a mug and go for an elevated hot chocolate spread.

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