How to Plan a Thanksgiving Potluck

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Thanksgiving dinner doesn't have to be the sole responsibility of the host. Potlucks offer a great way for family and friends to contribute and help relieve stress on the host. Planning a Thanksgiving potluck is easy and fun, not to mention the endless possibilities of food to eat.


How to Plan a Thanksgiving Potluck

Step 1

Make a list of family and friends you want to invite. Knowing who you are going to extend invitations to will help dictate the size and complexity of the potluck. Is the potluck going to be small and just for immediate family members? Is it going to be large which includes grandparents, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends? A potluck can be as big or as small as you like.

Step 2

Extend the invitation to the potluck dinner to family and friends. Sending out e-vites could be fun. For those that do not have access to the Internet, either call or send an invitation to the potluck. What is most important here is that you state that it is a potluck and that a list of menu suggestions will be forthcoming.

Step 3

Create a spreadsheet of menu items and supplies needed. Come up with as many options for people to contribute as you can. Some family for friends may be on a budget or don't have culinary skills. You may also want to consider how the turkey will be purchased. Most big grocery store chains give away free turkeys during the holidays. Family members could pool points, store receipts or whatever the store requires to qualify for a free turkey.

Step 4

Forward the menu/supply spreadsheet by email or call family and friends. Make sure that you have set a date for responses.

Step 5

Follow-up with those that have not responded by the given date. If you have not heard from everyone, call them to make sure they got the spreadsheet. Advise them of the items that are still remaining or ask if there is something not on the list that they would like to contribute to the potluck.

Step 6

Determine who will assist with pre-cooking/preparations. Usually the day before Thanksgiving is reserved for cutting vegetables and baking. Ask family and friends to gather to get some of the work done ahead of time to avoid having to do it on Thanksgiving.

Step 7

Determine who will help on Thanksgiving with setting up. Setting up should not have to be a burden to the host. Ask family and friends to help with last minute cooking as well as setting up for the potluck.

Step 8

Allow guest to heat up dishes if needed.

Step 9

Potlucks tend to have lots of food. To avoid a cluttered table, have a buffet. Buffets allow people to see and sample all the food with out distracting others.

Tips and Warnings

Potlucks are a great opportunity to sample ethnic foods that you might not otherwise have a chance to try.

About this Author

Toni-Marie Ramos is a Business Systems Analyst with 10 years of experience in technical writing for major insurance and IT companies. For the past year, she has been freelance writing part-time for sites such as Demand Studios, Associated Content and Helium. Ramos has a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Providence College.

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Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Plan a Thanksgiving Potluck