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Among all the various ways people get together for Thanksgiving dinner, the home buffet is becoming an increasingly popular option.

And with good reason! Thanksgiving buffets take a lot of stress out of both getting the house ready for guests and out of making sure there’s enough to eat. Buffet-style dining helps everyone get as much as they want out of whatever they’re here for, especially for people with dietary restrictions like vegans or anyone with a gluten allergy, and it helps add to a much less stressful atmosphere overall.

Of course, the issue of where you’re going to put it all rears its head! Organizing a Thanksgiving dinner is tough enough without knowing you have to keep all the dishes in a place where everyone can get to them easily, but by following these tips you can keep everything running smoothly until everyone falls asleep from too much turkey:


Order up: Deciding on what order everything will be placed and served on the buffet is going to help keep the whole dinner better organized. Generally, it’s best to line the food from most plentiful (salads, breads, sides) to the richer main courses at the end, like the actual turkey. This will help make sure there will be enough of everything and keep things in as orderly a fashion as possible from a house full of hungry relatives.


Spread it out: Those of you with smaller kitchens, or at least with less counter space than you might like, might already be trying to figure out just where everything can go. In cases like this, your meal would be best served by spreading everything out across different serving stations. For instance, you could keep the hot main dishes (turkey and the ‘big’ side dishes like potatoes and stuffing) on a buffet table in an area that’s easy to get to, while the condiments and less-essential sides can be kept on side tables. If you want to help keep things mobile, a kitchen cart with some of the sides and extra fixins’ can help you stay organized and help people get to the dishes they need faster.


Everyone takes a seat: Seating is always a concern at holiday parties, but with buffet-style serving, you have a little more flexibility as to where everyone can go. Instead of crowding everyone around the kitchen table, let everyone gather at various points around the house such as bar tables or coffee tables in the living room to let everybody spread out and get to the buffet as needed.


Keep drinks separate: Drinks, both of the adult and non-adult variety, can take up a lot of space that you might need for more sweet potatoes. Keep drinks on a separate bar cart nearby, or if temperature is a concern you could stash your cans and bottles on home wire shelving out in the garage.


Remember how warm those dishes are: Chances are everything is going to go straight from the oven to your table – avoid scorch marks and remember to put some trivets, doilies, or towels down!

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