10 Thanksgiving Recipes
How to Contribute to Thanksgiving Dinner As a Teenager
Your family has been stressing out about hosting this year's Thanksgiving meal for weeks now, and you want to help out. The problem is, you're only a teenager and your greatest culinary achievement has been making a grilled cheese sandwich. You may think that there's not much you can do to help out mom and dad during this special holiday, but there are plenty of things that you can do that have nothing to do with cooking an amazing meal. So how do you start helping out? Just follow these steps to find out.
Helping Before Thanksgiving
Call invited guests to iron out the details.One thing you can do is call all of the guest who are coming to make sure they can be there, tell them what time to come, and to arrange for transportation if they need help. If everyone is contributing to the meal, then you can make lists of what everyone is bringing, and you can even ask guests to pick up something from the store at the last minute. Taking over guest duty can be a big help to your family, especially if a lot of people are coming.
Ask your parents how you can help.Make it clear that you want to make an effort this Thanksgiving and tell your parents that you're willing to help any way you can. They may say that you shouldn't worry about it, that you're too young to really contribute, or that they've got everything under control. However, you need to be firm and explain that you want to help no matter what, and no matter how small or unpleasant the task may be. Talking to your parents will give you a better idea of what really needs to be done, and will show you how you can best minimize the stress on the big day.
Go grocery shopping.If you have enough time and the food hasn't been purchased yet, ask your parents if you can do the grocery shopping for them -- provided that you have a car and they trust you to drive, that is. If you don't have a car and walking to the grocery store or biking there isn't an option, ask if you can go to the grocery store along with your parents to make the shopping process easier.
Understand that you might not be able to help with everything.If you're under 16, you can't drive, so you couldn't run to the supermarket or pick up Grandma from the airport. Helping your parents around the house can give them time to do more. Your parents also might not feel comfortable leaving you around the stove or with you using knives. Don't get too pushy about doing everything, but do try to find something safe and useful for yourself to do.
Clean the house.A clean home is the best setting for Thanksgiving dinner. Even if it's not perfectly neat, things should be relatively organized and dust-free. Clear an area for guests to put their shoes, coats, and bags so they aren't in the way. Don't forget about the bathroom!
Decorate your house.You don't need to go overboard, but a few autumn touches here and there are nice. Remember, after Thanksgiving and fall are over, you'll need to store all the decorations somewhere (unless you got disposable ones) so don't go crazy. You could hand make decorations, or check your local party store for inexpensive ones. Consider:
- A banner
- Napkin rings
- A centerpiece
- A wreath
- Pumpkins or gourds
- Scented candles with fragrances such as pumpkin, apple, or spice
- Silk leaves to scatter on the table or garlands
Make place cards.Ask your parents if you are unsure if you really need them. Place cards can be helpful if:
- There are younger children who need to sit next to their parents
- A handicapped guest needs to sit somewhere easily accessible for him or her
- The host or hostess needs to sit close to the kitchen
- Certain guests don't get along and should not be seated next to each other
Helping on the Big Day
Set the table.It will save your parents time so they can finish preparing the meal. If you're using place cards, put wine glasses at the seats of guests who will be drinking. If there are younger children seated at the table, consider not putting a knife at their seat, for safety reasons.
Help in the kitchen.You don't have to be a master chef to help out in the kitchen. All you need to do is to be vigilant and to put in the time your mother or other relatives may not have to take care of all of the little food-related details. Simple tasks that could save your parents time include:
- Preparing/setting out appetizers
- Reheating things that have already been cooked
- Simple food preparation such as defrosting, peeling, mixing, etc.
- Washing dishes or loading the dishwasher
- With parental permission and supervision, prepare a side dish or dessert
Greet your guests.When your guests enter the house, greet them and tell them where to put their shoes, coats, and bags. If they are new to your home, you can orient them a bit, explaining where the bathroom or game room is so they know where to go. Your parents may be wrapped up in the kitchen and busy with all the preparations to give your guests enough attention when they first walk in, so you can make your visitors feel more at ease.
- It's likely that your guests will arrive well before the meal. If so, offer them some appetizers if they are ready, and ask if they'd like a glass of water or a drink.
Be on driving duty if necessary.If you've been driving and your parents trust you to do so, then you can be a big help. They may need someone to pick up last-minute food items on the big day, or to pick up guests or even drive them home. This is particularly useful because many people like to drink a bit on the big day and won't be able to operate a vehicle. Having a DD around will be a big help and will prevent anyone from getting into a dangerous situation.
Plan a fun family activity.This is a great thing to do when people are either waiting for the meal or looking for something to do after they've stuffed themselves. This is where you come in. You should plan a fun game or activity in advance, whether it's a board game anyone can easily learn, a game of charades, a friendly game of football in the backyard, or even a family walk that you all take after the meal to help you aid digestion. You may even snap some family photos -- people will groan, but they'll be happy that you captured these memories later.
- People may be too lazy or tired to think of something fun to do themselves, and having a game or activity in mind can make people happier and more excited to be together.
- Make sure you have a few options. People may not be as excited about Scattergories or Twister as you might have imagined.
Control the younger kids.It's likely that there are other younger people at the event, whether you're dealing with your own siblings, your cousins, or the children of other guests. Though you are only a teenager, they should respect you as if you were an adult, and it's your job to keep them in check, make sure that they aren't playing with their food or causing a scene, and just to watch over them to see that they're behaving in general. If someone throws a tantrum or makes a mess, you should deal with it as much as you can.
- Of course, the kids have parents who can also look out for them, but if you help out in this department, the adults will have a much better time.
- You can also plan a game or fun activity, like drawing hand turkeys, to keep the kids from whining and getting bored.
- If there are older kids in the mix, then you can see if they can help contribute by cleaning up a bit, or accomplishing other simple tasks. This can be a great way to make other kids feel like "grown ups" -- without forcing it too much, of course.
Pour the drinks.It's likely that people want to kick back and have a few alcoholic beverages, or just to have some soda and juice, and you can help out by pouring the drinks during and before the big meal. People may want a drink but could feel too shy to ask, especially if your parents look very busy. So, without being pushy, ask the guests if they want a drink from time to time and help them out.
Relieve any family awkwardness.You can also help by creating a more fun environment for your family. Sure, not every relative will get along, especially if you have a big family, but you can help relieve the tension by cracking jokes, changing the subject if things get uncomfortable, and helping two relatives who are butting heads get along. Be on the lookout for tense situations, especially if you know that two family members or guests don't get along so well, and try to get in the middle without being annoying whenever you can.
- If it's awkward just because it's a little quiet and nobody can think of anything to say, be prepared with a funny story about school or a recent trip that will make people laugh without being too inappropriate.
Clean up when the fun is over.One of the best things you can do to help is to clean up the kitchen and house once all of the guests have left. It's likely that your parents will be exhausted at this point, and they will be incredibly relieved if you offer to pitch in or to let them rest all together while you start to wash the dishes, put the leftovers in the fridge, and clean up any other messes that have been made. This will take a while, and enlisting the help of other siblings or teenagers will make the process go by faster, and will be much more fun as well.
- Be aware of any food allergies your guests might have.
- Be careful with objects such as the oven, stove, knives, and scissors.
In other languages:
Español: , Русский: , Italiano: , Português: , Français: , Bahasa Indonesia:
Video: 14 GREAT RECIPES FOR A PERFECT THANKSGIVING DINNER
Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik’s Vogue’ Spread Is Here—and It’s PrettyDreamy
14 Early Warning Signs Your Divorce Is Stressing Out Your Child
How to Use Christmas Lights Safely
The Difficult Truth About Depression: It’s a Forever Kind of Illness
Why Sarah Jessica Parker’s new show Divorce gets it so right
16 Foods That Stop Sugar Cravings
Kim Kardashian Reveals How Tristan Thompson Reacted to Her Comments About Him on TV
20 Stylish Button Front Skirt Outfits For Summer
Hepatitis C Meds and Medicaid: Take These Steps to Get Covered
How to Frame a Print
How to Set Up Internet Connection Sharing for Windows XP