Options for serving Thanksgiving dinner

No matter how you decide to serve Thanksgiving dinner, you're sure to enjoy the holiday by eating tasty food and sharing time with family and friends.

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Options for serving Thanksgiving dinner
Both buffet and family style dining allow you to enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends.

When you have a house full of guests, it can be difficult to decide the best way of serving Thanksgiving dinner. You can go with a buffet-style set-up that lets your guests serve their own meals or you could place the food on the table and pass it around after everyone is seated. There are a few considerations that can help you pick the best method for your holiday spread.

¡Feliz Thanksgiving!

Buffet style

Buffet style.

A buffet-style dinner entails putting all the food in a central location near a stack of plates and a pile of silverware. Guests can load their own plates and then head to the tables to eat. This is a great way to serve dinner if you expect a large number of guests because everyone can choose what they want without having to wait for serving platters to make the rounds.

It’s also ideal if there are many small children . This way, they won’t have to sit in their chairs for a long time waiting to be served. A buffet set-up is also a good way to make room on the dining tables for plates and glasses.

While there are many benefits to serving Thanksgiving dinner buffet-style , there are a couple of downsides too. If your home is small, setting up a separate table for food can leave little space for moving around and can limit the amount of seating you have. If your family is used to a formal dinner on the holiday, a buffet might not meet expectations. Having to get up for more food can interfere with conversation and may require people to shift around during the meal.

Family style

Family style. Shutterstock

Serving Thanksgiving dinner family-style means loading the table with all the food. The guests sit at the table and pass the food, allowing each person to take what he or she wants. This is great for smaller crowds because you can enjoy the meal together without having to get up and down for second helpings.

It’s also a bit more formal than a buffet dinner, allowing you to bring out your best china . If passing food is the tradition , a family-style dinner adheres.

There are some drawbacks to family-style dining, however. All the food on the table leaves less room for table settings , and your guests may feel cramped. Limited table space can also reduce the amount of space for platters and bowls of food, which means you might have to go back and forth to the kitchen to refill dishes.

You may also have to limit the number of different dishes you serve. Finally, family-style dining promotes lounging for conversation. This can mean leaving food sitting for too long on the table, which increases the risk of bacterial growth and foodborne illnesses.

No matter how you decide to serve Thanksgiving dinner , you’re sure to enjoy the holiday by eating tasty food and sharing time with family and friends.