1. A Neighborhood Thanksgiving from 10 Untraditional Thanksgiving Parties Slideshow
10 Untraditional Thanksgiving Parties Slideshow
1. A Neighborhood Thanksgiving
Instead of having one person host a mass of people, organize a progressive dinner party with your closest neighbors. Start the Thanksgiving feast with cocktails at one house, starters at another, turkey with a few sides at the next, and pumpkin pie at the final house.
Splitting the courses among neighbors not only keeps the fun of Thanksgiving going for longer, it allows each host to showcase their favorite part of the meal.
2. Thanksgiving Tailgate
If you are tired of the traditional Thanksgiving feast but are looking forward to the football, turn your Thanksgiving into a tailgate partycomplete with all the favorites, with a seasonal twist. Opt for turkey burgers rather than beef, serve sweet potato fries instead of potato salad, and then top everything off with pumpkin pie or this deconstructed pecan pie sundaeand a bounty of ice cold beer, of course. Once the game is over, burn off all the food by playing a game of football at a local park.
3. Thanksgiving for Two
Just because your guest count is low doesn't mean you have to skip the tradition of a Thanksgiving feast. Rather than roasting a whole turkey, buy a few turkey breasts or roast a chicken. Serve the meat along with smaller portions of all your favorite sides and open up a bottle of wine.
4. A Potluck Thanksgiving
Cooking for a crowd on Thanksgiving is stressful, but it shouldn't have you dreading getting out of bed. Take the stress out of planning by hosting a potluck with a handful of close friends instead.
Keep it traditional with the standard Turkey Day menu and ask each guest to bring a side or dessert. Or, set your menu around a theme, like Mexican. Serve up turkey tacos, margaritas, refried beans, and flan. That way, you can still bring the turkey to the table, minus all the drama typically associated with the day. Just be sure whomever is hosting cooks the turkey (or tackles another entrée of similar scale), as transporting a roast bird isn't easy, and heed our advice on how to host a successful potluck.
5. Breakfast for (Thanksgiving) Dinner
Skip the traditional all-American fare served on Thanksgiving and opt for something equally as comforting (with half the effort expenditure) — breakfast — but with all your favorite Thanksgiving flavors.
Start things off with cranberry-infused OJ or cranberry smoothies, then serve up pumpkin or sweet-potato pancakes drizzled with cranberry-spiked syrup and toasted pecans, and a side of homemade turkey sausages, of course. A whole lot easier than roasting a bird for most of the day, and just as delicious.
6. Parade Party
Don’t want to host the entire family, but still want to celebrate the day in a slightly less-stressful way? Many of us start Thanksgiving Day off watching the parade anyway, so skip the big lunch this year and host a parade party instead.
Make a hearty fruit salad and an eggy strata, and offer yogurt and granola for parfaits. Ask guests to each bring a baked good or something to drink to contribute (like festive prosecco cocktails or spiked hot chocolate). Then watch the balloons and floats parade down New York City’s streets while you sit in the comfort of your (warm and dry) home, curled on the couch or sitting as a crowd on the floor.
7. Pie Party
Some might like the turkey and stuffing most on Thanksgiving, but I know someone who, growing up, lived just for the pies. Apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, even mincemeat. A slice of each and their day was complete.
This party is inspired by that friend, and is a great get-together for friends who have to otherwise travel on Thanksgiving or who just love pie and are looking to perfect their pie-making skills. Have each guest bring the makings for the filling of their choice. The host is in charge of supplying the ingredients and space for a pie-making extravaganza. Just be sure that the ovens are all working, and that at least one person can be the teacher for the day.
8. Backwards Thanksgiving
The traditional meal goes like this: roast turkey, mashed potatoes (maybe they’re sweet), stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans (or Brussels sprouts), and of course pumpkin pie.
Instead of going for steak or ham to change things around, why not just mix it all up? Don't serve slices of roast turkey — shred it up and make turkey croquettes or a turkey pasta sauce with ground turkey. Roast a pumpkin and transform it into a salad with the help of dried cranberries and a pumpkin-seed vinaigrette, then serve the potatoes sweet — in a sweet potato pie, that is.
10. Dine Out
Yes, there are those who can’t imagine lifting a finger in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day and instead call their favorite restaurant for a reservation. It is an option. If cooking frightens you, possibly as much as spending time with that terrifying family, you can have your turkey, stuffing, and sleep peacefully, too.
9. A Feast by Sea
Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates the harvest. If you think about all the dishes gracing the traditional Thanksgiving table, more often than not the ingredients come from land: turkey, potatoes, vegetables, cranberries, wheat, pumpkins, etc. So instead of turkey this year, mix things up and serve a meal celebrating the sea.
Begin with appetizers like shrimp and mango wonton crisps or cucumber crab cups, then serve a whole side of salmon for the main dish. Even dessert can be inspired by the sea, with shell-shaped molded ice creams from St. Clair.