Small Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Combine Tradition & Simplicity to Make a Small Thanksgiving Dinner Feel Special

Do you feel like cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a small group doesn't count, especially if it's just you and the kids? I encourage you to rethink that approach. Small Thanksgiving dinners can be warm and wonderful. The tips below will help you combine tradition and simplicity. And remember, you can prepare a small Thanksgiving dinner without spending more money, time, or energy than a regular family meal. So don't waste your money on dinner reservations at a fancy, expensive...MORE restaurant. Give these small Thanksgiving dinner ideas a try, instead.

  • 01 of 04

    Tips for Preparing the Turkey

    Small Thanksgiving Dinner for 3
    Photo © JGI/Getty Images

    Fortunately, 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. Leftovers can also be frozen and enjoyed at a later date. And speaking of frozen ... it's even possible to purchase a frozen, prepared turkey that goes right in your oven!

  • 02 of 04

    Tips for Preparing Side Dishes

    Green beans as a Thanksgiving side dish
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    Keep your list of side dishes manageable and try to prepare one or two ahead of time, if possible. Remember, too, 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. In fact, you can even get the kids involved in the preparation.

  • 03 of 04

    Tips for Preparing Desserts

    Pumpkin pie at a small Thanksgiving dinner
    Photo #&169 Jamie Grill/Gett Images

    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 you'll enjoy, and select a recipe that will be easy to make alongside your children.

  • 04 of 04

    Incorporate New Traditions

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

    Finally, be sure to include some new traditions as you think of more small Thanksgiving dinner ideas.

    For example:

    • Invite another single parent family to join you for the main meal or just for dessert
    • Take a walk after eating dinner; it's a great way to break up day and get some exercise
    • Better yet, play a game of touch football with your kids!
    • Watch your favorite movies
    • Or spend the evening getting ready for the winter holidays by making homemade Advent calendars or DIY holiday ornaments