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How many people for Thanksgiving?

Curious because over the years I have traveled to join large groups, had simple ones with my husband and buffets as a child with my father. I will answer this years plans, later. Elaborations can include how long will they stay, how far will they travel, how many contribute (positively or negatively)?

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  1. 12 adults and 2 toddlers (only family). Traveling from FL, MA, and PA and Northern NJ to meet in South NJ. BF's Aunt & Uncle traditionally host. No one is expected to contribute. But we will bring some mixed nuts and chocolate covered cranberries, pseudo SIL will probably bring a dip or chocolate chip cookies, and pseudo MIL will probably bake a pie.

    Menu usually includes sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, two cranberry sauces ( fresh & canned), sweet potatoes, green beans (or another green veg), rolls, and pickled red cabbage. Dessert is two or three pies.

    1. 11. Me and my sister are cooking for our families... My dad did buy the ham.

      1. Every year is different for me, my family is far away so its all friends.
        Last year was at my very dear friend and her SO's apt, a group of 8 plus a toddler. Every couple brought a dish, i made a big salad with arugala, fennel, celery, dried figs, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and a pumpkin seed oil vinegrette. I had traveled about 20 blocks, most others ahout the same.
        This year i will join a different group of friends, 9 of us total. When asked the hostess insisted i not bring anything- which means i will bring a nice bottle of champagne as well as a batch of my famous-among-my-friends quinoa granola as a gift. This year i will travel about 25 blocks, although other atendees are from the midwest as well as within 20-30blocks.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ttrockwood

          Quinoa granola sounds intriguing. Mind sharing the recipe?

          1. re: viperlush

            Of course! I say "my" but I started from this recipe but made a lot of adjustments- note that the coconut oil is a MUST. My changes:
            No buckwheat, increased quinoa to 1 and 1/3c
            I changed the nuts i use, i always add 1/2c pistachios but keep the proprtion of nuts in the recipe the same.
            I use salted nuts or add a good pinch of salt
            I add a hefty grind of black pepper over everything


          1. Uh oh, math. Self, spouse, two young adult offspring, one's SO, mother in law, brother in law, nephew in law, nephew in law's SO, and aforesaid SO's mater. The first five are local. I have never met the nephew in law's SO's mater but understand she hails from Napa. Everyone else is, I am pretty sure, from Trafalmador.

            1. The final count will be somewhere around ten guests....
              My wife, with her usual excess god bless her, has purchased a 14 pound bird along with a 8 pound breast....
              Me? I pretty much hide out in the kitchen to avoid family.

              1. This year's number is expected to be about 30 for dinner....brother and myself will be cooking. Guests, family and friends, are asked to arrive by 2pm. No one is asked to bring anything, however.....

                * some will bring expensive spirits
                * some will bring expensive wine or Champagne
                * some will bring beer
                * some will bring desserts
                * some will bring just themselves

                * most are local, within 30 minutes travel time
                * the furthest ones to travel is about 2 hours, or 120 miles
                * most will stay past 9pm
                * some will stay past midnight
                * some will have to sleep over
                * others will arrive for dessert
                * others will arrive after dessert

                One cheap ass brother will show up uninvited and empty handed....probably drunk too.

                3 Replies
                1. re: fourunder

                  I want to go to this kind of thanksgiving!

                  1. re: melpy

                    I haven't been to one with that many people for about 16 years. I miss it.

                    1. re: melpy

                      Me too! I'll bring the good bubbly but either i get the couch or lets hope the cab local company works late on turkey day.....!

                  2. 7, all family. Heading to my brothers, I'll bring cranberry sauce and bread for the stuffing (just like Pepperidge Farms, only better), mom will bring pies. Still need to coordinate on the veggie sides....

                    1. Traveling to one of my sisters' houses; the one some of you know. Hers has become the "go-to" house for Thanksgiving, partly because of its more-or-less central location but mainly because she has the biggest kitchen and best house for a large group. And we are usually a large group; although she describes this year's group as "small" - only 12 or so. The award for farthest travel will be shared by my DH and I with her daughter and family: their drive is slightly longer than ours (about six hours) but we have to deal with weather that could make our drive (normally five hours) longer:-) Everyone will probably spend the night in nearby hotels, and she will have to kick us out when she wants to go to bed. My sister will cook turkey and many of the sides, but most everyone will help out (the advantage of a large kitchen). Everyone is expected to contribute something: I am bringing pies and brussel sprouts, and of course cranberry chutney. The Sonoma contingent will bring wine, of course. My older sister usually brings appetizers. We are lucky in that everyone in the family are competent cooks, and we have no awful sweet potato casserole type traditions so lucky in that sense too. Some of the kids won't be there, either due to the fact that they live very far away or have to work. They will be missed....

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: janetofreno

                        oh no, you get the prize. you must think I still live in SF; daughter's house to mine door to door is four hours and ten minutes. well, unless you count breaks for the kids to run around. :-)

                        I am compensating for the small group (missing my son, who just moved to the East Coast for grad school and won't make it home till Dec. Not enough of the third generation this year) by having a second feast. Latkes and such for Friday Hanukkah brunch. Invited all the family back over from the guest rooms or the local motels, and a few friends too. So, if you are reading this and know where we live, please join us!

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          lol....you are right about my geographical misconceptions:-) Actually, I'm not sure ours is five hours either, probably more like four. We will have to time it:-) And the missing sister won't be there for Tday (inlaws) but just promised me she's coming Friday.....

                      2. Right now I'm looking at 9 adults/teens and 1 toddler. 6 adults/teens, 1 kid, and 3 toddlers have yet to respond.

                        The majority of our guests live within five miles of us, and all of them live within 20. So luckily, no one is staying overnight! ;)

                        This family (my boyfriend's) always does a pot luck buffet for holidays, so we're sticking with that. I'm making about half of the food and everyone is bringing what they want.

                        1. SO and I are just heading about an hour north to Fort Collins, CO to have dinner at my aunt's. Sounds like it will just be us, my aunt and uncle and my cousin, his wife, and their 2 kids, who also live up there, so 8 total.

                          I am bringing the dinner rolls and conversation. SO will be quiet the whole time, he's not a chatty guy w/ people he doesn't know well. Not sure what else is on the menu but I know my uncle has a smoker and he has smoked turkeys in the past.

                          1. Last year a friend invited us and we had a very nice thanksgiving for eight (all that fit in his closet-sized apartment). He provided everything and I took a gift basket of nice spices.

                            This year it's going to Turkey Day for two (DH and me) and I'm seriously considering canning the whole thing for lack of energy to cook. Unfortunately I'm not nearly as well as I thought I was when I enthusiastically decided to 'do it properly this year'. At least I don't have any guests coming...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Kajikit

                              Have you asked your DH what "doing it proper" requires. When I asked the menu became surprisingly doable. In our house its turkey breast, stuffing and gravy, plus roasted root vegetables and a green vegetable then chocolate pecan pie with whipped cream. I love mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes and plenty of other elaborate stuff.

                            2. 8 and a toddler.

                              Two adults and the toddler will also be overnight guests for 11 days. We are hosting and I am making everything except the sweet potatoes and some of the desserts.

                              1. This year my husband and I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in Croatia with wild boar ragout over grilled polenta with a side of wild mushroom risotto.

                                Looking forward to moving to Croatia in 2014 and to inviting friends to our home to celebrate and fellowship. Will be strange not being with family, though.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: chefathome

                                  How exciting and good luck with all the adventures preparing to prepare your first Canadian Thanksgiving.

                                2. 17 including 4yo twins. We are traveling to my aunt's house about 15 min away. My husband makes the turkey at home then we bring the whole bird over there. We also make/bring homemade ranch dressing, carrot-ginger soup, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, gravy and this year we are trying creamed onions to see how it goes over. Thanksgiving is my husband's holiday but our house is too small to host so over the river we go.

                                  1. Me
                                    His mother
                                    Her husband
                                    His 2 sons
                                    One of the son's girlfriends (maybe)
                                    My husband's maternal grandparents
                                    My college roommate
                                    Her boyfriend

                                    I am counting 11. I think ages are 18-80.

                                    My friends are coming from three hours away and will arrive in Wednesday and leave Sunday morning.

                                    Grandparents are bringing pies.
                                    My mother in law is being one or two dishes but won't tell us what they are until tomorrow. She also thinks she is is showing up at 9 am to help. Fat chance!

                                    Everyone else lives a couple town away 20 minutes or so. They will stay from 11:30- 3 pm maybe. They insist on eating EARLY. I have managed 12 pm as a compromise.

                                    1. 3. My cousin and I are the only single ones left, and we decided to do our own thing this year at her house because I don't feel like driving 10 hours and she doesn't feel like spending the day with her brother's in-laws. Our single uncle is coming out, I'm doing the cooking, we might have company for dessert. It's going to be fabulous.

                                      1. Thanks everyone for all of the replies.
                                        This year my mom and I are splitting all duties and hosting 6 or 7 people at her house. We have been asked to arrive at 5 and sit at 6. Since my husband has to be in bed before 9 we will leave by 8:30. Most likely setting the timing for everyone. It'll be my mom, husband and brother plus a couple of my moms orphans. We always invite my stepsons and their SO, however maternal grandparents have dibs. (A good thing in the scheme of things since they create a great tradition for an extended family while my husband lacks local family). No one will travel more than ten miles.

                                        1. Our Thanksgiving is really different this year...my mom died a few months ago so this is our first holiday without her. We live in the Seattle area and always host--sometimes just close family, sometimes family, friends, and people who don't have family in the area.

                                          This year we are taking our Thanksgiving show on the road. We have a home in the Phoenix area and my FIL just moved from Michigan to AZ a couple of months ago. So...this year we will host my FIL, SIL, SIL's SO and two friends we've never met, my brother, possibly three of my husband's cousins and their SO's. With our 12- year old daughter, there are 8 of us for sure, with the potential for 6 more. I am not a fan of the surprise element, especially when we are doing a big traditional dinner. That's the way it goes with husband's tribe. Sigh.

                                          So I guess we are traveling the farthest...probably 1200 miles. We are planning on providing all the traditional stuff and SIL is bringing apps and pies. My brother is in charge of beverages. Anything else will be a surprise. We have an 8 place setting china set in AZ but really need more because we do a fair amount of hosting when we are down there. My husband and I are packing up one of the five china sets my mom left me (this one has 16 place settings) and will be taking it as carry on luggage.

                                          Yep, this will be a different Thanksgiving than I am used to but I know the best way to honor my mom's memory is to be a gracious hostess and make sure there is plenty of food for everyone that shows up.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                            I am so sorry about your mom's passing. I still miss my mom, and she's been gone for almost 6 yrs.

                                            Sounds like you will have a great gathering!

                                            We will be only five in number this year. Local folks!

                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                              So sorry to hear about your mom. More than other years I hope everything goes smoothly and new traditions emerge while old ones are honored. Definitely take moments to relax alone and to enjoy getting to know new people.

                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                Thank you, pinehurst and holypeaches. When I start to feel a little melancholy, I like to think of my mom having a Thanksgiving meal beyond her imagination with my dad, her brother and sister and parents. And no calories to worry about, right?!

                                              2. Just 2 this year - mom and me. I will drive up to her place on Thanksgiving morning (40 min. away) to pick her up to stay overnight at my place and then drive her home the next day (she won't drive on highways anymore and neither of us do the insanity that is Black Friday). She leaves all of the cooking to me. She'll set the table. :-)

                                                I probably went a bit overboard on the size of the bird - 13 lbs. full bird, instead of just a turkey breast. But this gives me the opportunity for lots of leftovers, and since I make "freezer meals" for her on a semi-regular basis, the turkey will now be incorporated into turkey vegetable soup, and maybe some mini turkey pot pies.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Wow sounds like a great holiday to spend with mom. I also went overboard for 2. At the store they keep assuming "oh you're making a big dinner for a lot of people huh?" Uh not really I just have this 18 lb turkey for some unknown reason and am making enough side dishes for an army for fun. In fact, it's for leftovers as Thanksgiving food is pretty much all we eat from Thursday to Sunday and freeze any leftover turkey. I am planning turkey soup but love the idea of the pot pies.

                                                2. Tentative count is 37. Ages range from 3-96: travelers from northern NJ down to Chapel Hill area and one Chinese student from Qing Dao. This is "normal" scenario...my wife is one of ten children. A few will be houseguests and some will stay at local hotels. My sister-in-law and I are head chefs and we'll end up with 2+ turkeys (one smoked and one fried) and a lamb roast. The nice thing about this family event is that there's no drama...we have a wide range of political views but the family ties overcome any controversy. We feel blessed.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: tjeffreyjonesmd

                                                    This is the kind of Thanksgiving I've always dreamed about. I am an only child, I have one cousin and our entire family fits around one 12 seat dining table. You sound very blessed and I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

                                                    1. re: tjeffreyjonesmd

                                                      Sounds wonderful, especially the no drama. If this "normal" I assume everyone knows how to contribute to the best of their abilities. Just curious how many desserts? Have fun.

                                                      1. re: holypeaches

                                                        I want to say that we'll have choice of 5-6...many store-bought...none of the "foodies" are much interested in sweets. Me...I'm happy with with a small piece of nice chocolate, a dessert wine or some cognac, and maybe some cheese.

                                                    2. Just 7, so far. I like to invite stragglers last minute.

                                                      The 4 of us, plus MIL, SIL, and a choral group friend of mine.

                                                      1. Just the two of us, at home, with a non-traditional, non-turkey dinner (lamb on the bbq, Middle Eastern sides.) Pure bliss.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                            Its our new tradition. MIL isn't too happy about it but that's just too bad. :)

                                                            C'mon over, there's PLENTY of food! We don't own a TV though, so if you're a football person you'll miss out.

                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                              It's also just us two and even though I'm making a fairly traditional dinner, I left out things I never touch at the family holiday table which apparently is an atrocity to my mother!

                                                            2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                              LOL Janet! I take it you've got another 20+ lb. turkey birdie for Thursday?

                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                  And plenty of wine to get through it. :-)

                                                          2. My girlfriend & I are very fortunate that our 20something kids have become dear friends with no effort on our part. We're meeting her son at my daughter & husband's in Alabama (assuming that weather doesn't obstruct our air travel - say a little prayer).

                                                            Very traditional meal, daughter & I will do most of it, but GF is in charge of the bird.

                                                            1. My fiancé's uncle is hosting; he's providing fried chicken and I don't know what else. I think the guest count is somewhere around 20 or so. We live about 10 minutes away and I've taken on preparing a little over 1/3 of the dishes including dressing & gravy for the turkey (2nd uncle will fry), sweet potato casserole, potato salad, scratch dinner rolls. Fiancé wants to bring BBQ ribs and a pot of pig trotters (We live in the South). I'm also making homemade lemon ice cream and some gingerbread. Future MIL is making a roast and some desserts. Other family members are bringing dishes. This family likes to eat and for them, all of these dishes are a traditional Thanksgiving.

                                                              1. We will be 11. My sister is having the dinner at her place. Our parents live in Florida, so do my in-laws and my sister's in-laws live in California. So not a lot of family around for this holiday.

                                                                So it's my husband, me, our 2 kids (ages 9 and 7), my sister, BIL, their 2 kids (ages 16 and 11), their daughter's boyfriend. Then my sister, in the interest of never leaving someone alone for a holiday, invited her son's piano teacher (he's a single guy with no family in town). And I invited our German au pair to dinner as well. We live in the suburbs of NYC and my sister lives in the city, so it's about 30 minute drive for us.

                                                                I am bringing a corn pudding and 2 desserts...one apple crumb pie and one chocolate trifle.

                                                                With it being Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, I can guarantee that although there will be 11 of us, there will enough food for 25. Hey, we are eating for 2 holidays!

                                                                1. There will be 13 of us. My DH and I are hosting for the second year. Attending are one of my sisters, her husband and their two daughters (teens); my BIL's parents; my MIL (her first Thanksgiving back in the US since moving to Japan 8 years ago); my BIL, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter; and the daughter of one of my MIL's friends in Japan who's studying at one of the local colleges. Everyone is either in town or driving about an hour. On Thanksgiving, we'll find time to Skype with another sister and her family in NYC, and two other sisters who are in Northern Cal.

                                                                  We have fun hosting, but I don't try to be a hero. If people offer to bring something, I take them up on it! I'm making turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, light apps, rolls and ordering pies, and others are bringing sides. (Plus, I only have one oven.)

                                                                  Looking forward to it! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

                                                                  1. This year we have 30 people- includes 1 baby, 2 toddlers, 2 "kids", 5 teens and 20 ranging from 21 thru 81! The group consists of my mom, myself, my brothers and their families. I cook the meal and provide a few munchies. The family brings apps and desserts. We have it almost down to a science. Tonight is moving the furniture night. We move everything except two large table out of the dining room. Those, tables, along with a large fold up table will give us enough room for a sit down meal. Tomorrow I pick up the turkeys, tonight I will make a few pies, and get out the china. Tomorrow will make the stuffing, set the tables. etc. We do have 5 celiacs in the family, so I make two kinds of gravy and stuffing. Am really careful to avoid cross contamination, and have been successful thus far! It is a great holiday in my family. I serve a Traditional meal, as my mother and grandmother served- right down to the after dinner mints, stuffed celery and relish tray.People will arrive around noon, and stay until night time. Really no negatives to this holiday. Everyone helps clean up and put the house back together, and the kids that are already home from college will come by tonight to move the furniture. Cant wait.

                                                                    1. Thanksgiving is our family holiday. We will have 29 for dinner ranging from 25 to 93 at my parents' house. The Florida contingent is coming the farthest. My father (93), DH and I do the cooking. No one brings anything except for a bottle of Champagne.

                                                                      Everyone will stay until Saturday most at my folks. Friday night my DH and I host a Chinese banquet. A large group comes in the afternoon and helps chop, slice & dice. I have something like 36 for that.

                                                                      It is really nice having more than just the time for dinner to spend together.

                                                                      1. We are hosting thanksgiving:
                                                                        11 adults
                                                                        12 kids

                                                                        All but one are family. Everyone in my personal immediate family (not me and my kids, but my sister, brother and parents), contribute pretty thoroughly although with some quirks (my brother is bringing home smoked ribs, which will be delicious but amusingly non-Thanksgiving - he's just looking for a chance to use his smoker). One family set is traveling about 7 hours, but are not staying with me. The single non-family is a friend from church who has no family around with whom to celebrate: she will also bring a dish.

                                                                        I would totally freak if I didn't ask others to contribute to the food!

                                                                        1. One. <Pity party commences.>

                                                                          Be thankful for your family while they're here, no matter how annoying they can be. My dad's death blew my extended family to hell.

                                                                          Speech over. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: KrumTx

                                                                            :-( I hope you can eventually all get back together as a family, KrumTx, or perhaps find a group of friends who are orphans for the holidays, and make a new tradition.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              They don't have to be blood to be family.

                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                  Agreed. "Family" as defined as those related to you by blood and/or law is pretty arbitrary to me. But my family? Love them to bits and pieces. Most do not fall into the former category.