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Small Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Tips

Scaling down Thanksgiving this year? Having a smaller Thanksgiving Dinner can be just as special as a large feast! I am sharing the best small Thanksgiving Dinner menu for two or more people. Create a basic menu and follow these tips for an intimate Thanksgiving Dinner to cherish!

table setting with wine glasses and red wine

Having a smaller Thanksgiving can make it hard to know what to cook. It's a struggle between having all of the traditional thanksgiving dinner items and a realistic amount of food that can be consumed.

If you are used to a more lively celebration with family members filling the halls and chowing down wherever they can post up, a small Thanksgiving dinner may seem a bit empty. But, a more intimate gathering with your immediate family or a small group of friends can be just as special as a large feast!

These tips will help you merge tradition and simplicity for a cozy meal everyone can be thankful for.

Small Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

If you are serving 2-8 people on Thanksgiving Day, opt for a more simple menu.

Tips for Creating a Small Thanksgiving Menu:

  1. Choose one appetizer, like a simple Thanksgiving Cheeseball to hold guests over.
  2. Choose a few easy thanksgiving side dishes that can be divided in half, or choose sides where you can repurpose leftovers or freeze portions to reduce waste.
  3. Instead of a large whole roasted turkey, make a turkey breast or Cornish game hens.
  4. Stick to 1-2 desserts to avoid an abundance of leftovers.

There are several more options to choose from in my holiday category! A more intimate holiday gathering means a smaller celebration with meaning and gratitude!

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Alternatives to Turkey on Thanksgiving

How to Make Thanksgiving Special

Set a pretty space.

A small guest list is no reason to skimp on the décor. In fact, take some extra time and create a special centerpiece for this intimate gathering. Add candelabras, create place cards, pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers, and polish up the silver to make it extra special.

If you live in a warmer climate, consider an outdoor picnic. This way, you can include additional households and maintain a safe distance. For this idea, encourage your guests to bring their own prepackaged Thanksgiving feast!

Reduce Your Menu.

Instead of a giant bird fit for a king, a turkey breast is a better option for a smaller crowd, or if turkey isn’t your thing, roast a chicken or another piece of meat for a change!

Focus on a main entrée (meat) and about 3-5 sides for a smaller meal. 

Make New Traditions.

Make the best out of a smaller gathering with a few new traditions. Sign up for a virtual race, have a game night, make advent calendars, or take a hike on a nearby trail. After dinner, nap off the turkey coma with a holiday movie. Better yet, break out the rest of your holiday decorations and turn up the Christmas music!

How can I have Thanksgiving for two?

  • Reduce your menu to one entrée and 3-5 sides.
  • Make a plan for leftovers to freeze or repurpose.
  • Consider pre-made foods or pick-up options in your area.
  • Seize the opportunity to experiment with new Thanksgiving Recipes/
  • Have a Thanksgiving breakfast or brunch instead of the traditional holiday meal.

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