Small Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

thanksgiving dinner for two
Jill Chen / Stocksy United

Do you feel that cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a small group or just you and your partner doesn't count? It's time to rethink that sentiment. Small Thanksgiving dinners can be warm and wonderful. The tips below will help you combine tradition and simplicity. Remember, you can prepare a small Thanksgiving dinner without spending more money, time, or energy than a regular meal at home. Don't waste your money on dinner reservations at a fancy, expensive restaurant. Instead, give these...MORE small Thanksgiving dinner ideas a try.

  • 01 of 05
    monochromatic thanksgiving place setting
    Makenamedia / Twenty20

    A small guest list is no reason to set a bland place setting. Pull out the candlesticks and pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers. A festive table setting or eye-catching centerpiece will make any meal feel special. 

  • 02 of 05
    Grill Roasted Turkey Breast
    Diana Miller/ Getty Iamges

    One of the best parts of a small Thanksgiving is you don't have to buy a huge turkey that takes an entire day to cook. Consider buying a small turkey breast that you can prepare in the crock pot, or even turkey cutlets. Thanksgiving leftovers can also be frozen and enjoyed at a later date. It's even possible to purchase a fully prepared turkey that goes right in your oven!

  • 03 of 05

    Limit the Side Dishes

    Green beans as a Thanksgiving side dish
    William Mahar/Getty Images

    Keep your list of side dishes manageable and try to prepare one or two ahead of time, if possible. Remember that there is nothing wrong with choosing a few simple family favorites. With small Thanksgiving dinner ideas, the meal doesn't have to be complicated to prepare. 

  • 04 of 05

    Simplify Desserts

    Pumpkin pie at a small Thanksgiving dinner
    Jamie Grill/Gett Images

    For many families, dessert sets Thanksgiving apart from other holidays. With pumpkins, apples, and cranberries to celebrate the harvest, there are many options to choose from. Choose a dessert your group will enjoy, and select a recipe that will be easy to make. To save time (and sanity) opt for ready-made pie crust. If you want to save even more time, you can also choose a frozen pie or pick up something from your local bakery.​

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  • 05 of 05

    Make New Traditions

    Mom and daughter walking after Thanksgiving dinner
    Photo © Rebecca Nelson/Getty Images

    Finally, be sure to include some new traditions to celebrate. Sign up for a local Turkey Trot in the morning or take a scenic walk after eating dinner; it's a great way to break up day and get some exercise. Choose a favorite holiday movie to watch every year, or spend the evening getting ready for the winter holidays by making homemade advent calendars or DIY holiday ornaments.