Having mentioned that I'm going to be an orphan at Thanksgiving this year, I've suddenly received a boatload of invitations. It's one of the reasons I love this holiday so much; there's always room in your heart for one more stray. Of course then you realize that your Thanksgiving for six has morphed into a dinner for twelve and your table only fits eight and your turkey only feeds ten. Dinner can be stretched with a few extra sides but how are you going to stretch your table and your home?
Create a table...: Friends of ours who didn't have a long dining table created one from a standing mirror and a couple of night tables; we had a dinner party for 15 with diners split between our dining room table and our coffee table; push two consoles together to create a table.
Or forego a table all together: Not all Thanksgiving dinners need to take place with everyone sitting elbow to elbow at a table. Some of the best dinners we've had have taken place without a table. Set up the food buffet style and let everyone help themselves. While this will make your Thanksgiving a little more casual, we think it's in keeping with the relaxed nature of the holiday.
Figure out where to put the outerwear: While this is less of a problem in California, in most of the country, your guests are going to need someplace to put their coats. If your coat closet (if you even have one) is full, here are some other ideas. Decide beforehand if your party will be a shoes on or off affair. If it's off, post a sign to let your guests know.
Think about servingware: Not all of us are like my friend Rachel who owns enough glasses to serve a couple of dozen people. Extra people probably means you'll need extra glasses, silverware and plates. Instead of buyng stuff, maybe you can borrow stuff from friends who aren't hosting or will be out of town?
Alternate seating: If you do decide to go the more formal route, you may not have enough dining room chairs to seat everyone at your table. Don't be afraid to mix and match seating from all over your home, from stray chairs to stools, benches and even couches
Green tip: We know it's a pain to wash 'em afterwards, but one thing that really elevates Thanksgiving is cloth napkins. It will also mean that the majority of leftovers will be food and the majority of garbage will be compostable. And since this is a holiday that's about giving thanks for the bounty of the earth, wouldn't it be nice to keep her in mind too?