Thanksgiving, Kitchens & Entertaining

Table centerpieces can use natural pumpkins & gourds for ThanksgivingThanksgiving has changed a lot over the years, along with major lifestyle changes. Our homes are changing too, although it’s not always clear if our houses are enabling lifestyle changes or reacting to broader changes in the world around us. People aren’t moving as much, and many more are working from home at least a few days a week.

As most people are focused on traveling plans (we’re not travel agents) and/or cooking (we’re not chefs) for the Thanksgiving feast, we thought it would be fun to use this holiday as a dry run to make sure you’re prepared for the year end holidays that come soon after Thanksgiving.

Kitchens are for Cooking & Baking 

When searching for ideas for this month’s newsletter, it was amazing how much focus there is on food, food and more food. We found 22 menu ideas, 102 best favorite side dishes and more, but my favorite was a Downsized Thanksgiving Dinner in the Denver post (click to see what it is) for smaller families who don’t want to eat leftovers for a week.

Shelves let you use otherwise, unused space in your kitchen or any other roomSo think about your Thanksgiving preparations and how much cooking you do daily, weekly or only once or twice a year. This should help you decide how well your existing kitchen fits your family’s lifestyle.

  • Enough counter space to prepare small or large meals … or do you need to clear some clutter?
  • Enough cabinet/pantry storage for utensils, dishes, pots and pans and dry foods? … or maybe it’s time to let go of some kitchen gadgets?
  • The right appliances to prepare meals depends on how much cooking you do? Refrigerator and freezer capacity should match how much fresh and frozen foods you use in 1 to 2 weeks, to save on shopping trips.
  • Can’t forget the dishwasher. You might not really need one if it takes you a week to fill it up because you shouldn’t run it half empty.

Kitchen Tables for Eating & Other Activities 

Once a meal is prepared, you’ve got to sit somewhere to eat. Most of the time we eat in the kitchen, around the island or at a table in a breakfast nook. Sometimes you’ve got to make trade-offs in how you use your kitchen space, because this room is the heart of every home.

  • Does your eating space have enough room and seating for all family members who live in your home, plus 1 or 2 guests? … or a way to extend the table, and grab chairs from another room?
  • Do you have nearby storage space for other kitchen activities like homework, arts and crafts, bill paying and more?
  • Do you have a family command center in the kitchen, someplace with a calendar to track kids activities, display their artwork and help family members communicate with each other?

Today’s Kitchens are for Entertaining

2-families-pizza-party-ht4w600Some people are eating out more than ever, while others are eating at home more so they can save for more important purchases. Besides saving money by staying home, families can spend more time together like the ones here sharing pizza and a movie at the end of a hectic week.

  • How often do you host family gatherings? for how many people?
  • Do you schedule lots of play dates for your children? or have the preferred gathering place for your teenagers and their friends?
  • How many adult (or friends and family) parties do you hold each year? Do you hold them indoors or wait until the weather allows for outdoor gatherings?

Hopefully these 10 questions made you realize how much you use your kitchen, and how well it already meets the needs of your family. If you found a few holes, then you have a good idea of where you should make changes.

If your kitchen meets all your functional requirements, congratulations. You can start collecting kitchen ideas on Pinterest or Houzz, in preparation for a kitchen remodel. If you like your floor plan, then you can also update your kitchen in small, incremental steps.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

About tinagleisner

Tina Gleisner is the founder of the Assn of Women Home Owners and the Assn of Home Professionals. With more than 30 years experience owning homes across the US and 8 years running a handyman business, Tina is building an online community to connect homeowners with home professionals that deliver quality products and services. She is passionate about giving women a comfortable way to learn and plan projects to protect, enhance and enjoy their homes.

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