Not Your Mom’s Thanksgiving

Everything about 2020 is different, and the holidays will be no exception. Gatherings will be smaller, you may be spending more time outside, and masks will be the hottest holiday accessory of the year. But we’re determined to keep things festive and fun, and why not take it as an opportunity to start some new Turkey Day traditions while you’re at it? Here are our tips for hosting a non-traditional Thanksgiving.

THE FOOD

Maybe this year, you’re celebrating with your roommates, or a few friends or family members in your “bubble.” Keep it low key and stick to an easy Thanksgiving menu, or use this opportunity to try out something totally new:

  • •There’s never been a better year to order takeout from your favorite neighborhood restaurant (hooray for supporting local). Use your fanciest dishes and make sure to leave a good tip!
  • •If you are in the mood to cook, let’s talk turkey – tbh, is it really anyone’s favorite part of the meal? (don’t @ us)…There are plenty of turkey alternatives that can be just as delicious and festive – try chicken, steak, lamb, lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, cauliflower steak, or hey, if you’re in the mood for hamburgers, go for it. Thanksgiving knows no bounds in 2020. 
  • •It’s also a perfect year to test the waters with something totally new (hello, boozy cranberry sauce; trash can turkey or sriracha turkey; fried mashed potato balls; apple pie salsa; everything bagel stuffing). We’re calling it – This is the year of unique Thanksgiving dishes, so let your creativity fly.

 

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THE SETTING

We love a big packed cozy dinner table as much as anyone else, but this year has other plans for us, and that’s OK. We’re all about the joy of switching it up, and a non-traditional Thanksgiving calls for a non-traditional setting:

  • •Pack the car and have a Thanksgiving campout. Does it get any cozier than sharing what you’re thankful for around a campfire and under the stars? We don’t think so. Campfire roasted turkey, here we come (or if you’re ok ditching the turkey, this camp kitchen pesto halibut recipe never fails). Keep the rest of the setup easy with our tried-and-true camp hacks
  • •Host a driveway distanced BYO dinner. Supply the drinks and let everyone bring their own picnic. It’s a real win-win when everyone gets to eat exactly what they want.
  • •If you are set on keeping it traditional, the backyard is where it’s at. Twinkly lights and outdoor heating will set the mood, and if you live somewhere extra cold, make sure your dress code calls for warm, casual, comfortable, and soft (might we suggest the Flatlander fleece collection?). And if you’ve never dined in an igloo before, here’s your chance (yep). If it’s snowing and you’re in the mood to take things up a notch, here’s your guide to building one. Whatever route you take, al fresco is the name of the game when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving 2020.

 

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THE PEOPLE

You may not get to spend the holidays this year with your whole usual crew, but this year we’re giving thanks for technology (and our pets).

  • •Host a virtual pre-dinner cocktail hour or set up a computer at the table so you and the family can all enjoy your meals virtually together. For more interaction, plan a virtual scavenger hunt, trivia night, or cookie decorating contest.
  • •Make a collaborative holiday playlist that the whole family can contribute to, near and far.
  • •Take it old school and write good old fashioned letters and cards to those you’re missing this year. Everyone loves snail mail – so send ‘em a note as to why you’re thankful for them and what you’re looking most forward to about being together IRL next year. 

 

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So while Thanksgiving dinner is looking a little different, we’re seeing it as an opportunity to get creative, switch up the dinner menu, and spend a little extra time being thankful, even if it’s from afar. And who knows – maybe some of these alternative Thanksgiving traditions will stick for years to come. Bon appétit!

Host Your Own (Socially Distant) Oktoberfest

Ahh, fall. Leaves, pumpkin spice, your favorite flannels on repeat, and Oktoberfest. Since large gatherings are not 2020’s friend, you probably won’t be attending any big Oktoberfest celebrations this year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a couple of family members or your roommates and host a safe and socially distant gathering to celebrate the season.

Location, location, location.

Park, backyard, front yard, you name it. Just make sure you have fresh air and plenty of space for distancing.

Start with the beer.

While Oktoberfest originated in 1810 as a celebration of marriage of the Crown price of Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (try saying that five times fast), the celebration progressed into an annual festival with large beer halls by the late 20th century, and it’s safe to say it’s been a beer-drinking shindig ever since. Luckily for you, around August, Oktoberfest-themed beers start popping up on grocery and liquor store shelves everywhere. The most 2020-friendly way to serve beer is by the bottle, in a big cooler for guests to grab on their own time. For an extra precaution, make it BYOO (opener).

You’ll want some bites with that.

You’re going to want a little substance to go with all that beer. Try these homemade pretzel twists on skewers. It’s a pandemic-friendly twist (see what we did there?) on a classic soft pretzel – ready for each guest to grab and go. Skewers work well for sausages too….And if you really want to go the extra mile, try individual cups of German Potato Salad (no judgment if you buy this premade either). And when we say individual cups, we certainly don’t mean plastic. Try mason jars or anything you have lying around your house – the good news is you’re keeping it small, so no need to stress on too many dishes. Just make sure you remember the hand sanitizer.

Dress the part.

We love a reason to dress up, and are also all about keeping it eco-friendly, so if you don’t have lederhosen or a dirndl lying around (what? You don’t?), here’s the easiest way to DIY it: Khaki shorts, a checkered shirt and suspenders for the guys; a ruffled or off the shoulder white blouse, high-waisted skirt, and an apron for the ladies. Don’t forget your mask.

Keep it small.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we all know that this is not the year for big parties. So keep it responsible, and save the festivities for your closest family, roommates, or quarantine pod. There are lots of pros to doing it this way: less cleanup, more time for good conversations, and more beer for you. And you can think of it as a practice run for when you do get to throw a big Oktoberfest party next time around. Prost!

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How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Party

There’s a little football game coming up (we’re not legally allowed to use the name, but it rhymes with “Duper Bowl”) and we’re gearing up for snack central. Since we’re on a mission to find a greener way to do just about everything (see BBQs, holidays, coffee, summer), here are our tips for throwing an eco-friendly tailgate party. 

Checkbox LESS “TAILGATES”

Carpool, public transit, bike or walk… the days of everyone driving their own trucks are over. We’re not here to kill the vibe, just make it a little more carbon neutral.

Checkbox GROWLERS OVER CANS  

Have everyone go to their local brewery of choice and fill up some reusable growlers. OR have everyone pitch in for a pony keg. Sure, beer cans and bottles are recyclable, but reusable containers are where you can make a huge impact. 

Checkbox  GO MEATLESS 

We get it – we love chicken wings too. But maybe, just this once you can try a buffalo cauliflower recipe or mushroom burgers. Who knows, you might actually like it better.

Checkbox REAL UTENSILS  

Hear us out: you can get a zillion utensils for next to nothing at thrift stores (because who needs mismatched forks? YOU DO). Yes, the compostable utensils are better than plastic ones, but they still end up in landfills and take many years to break down. That’s why we’ll always preach the benefits of reusable items. Get a mess of utensils and keep them as your “party set.” You’ll use them more than you think! 

Checkbox RECYCLED DECORATIONS    

Real talk: Those 99¢ streamers we can get online have a lot of hidden costs to the environment (packaging, jet fuel, questionable manufacturing). Get creative and make streamers out of old ribbon or fabric you find at thrift stores, or make a big flower arrangement with the colors of your team. Encourage guests to wear team colors – it will feel festive in no time. 

Checkbox DONATE THE WINNINGS   

There’s a $5 buy in and the winner gets to donate to the winning to the non-profit of their choice! Win, win. Gotta love football!