As if cooking, cleaning and hosting Thanksgiving dinner weren't enough, it's also a thoughtful gesture to pass out favors to your invited guests. Favors are a way of thanking everyone for coming, even Uncle Jimmy. There's no need to go overboard with favors, so limit your budget to a few dollars per person. If anyone's not satisfied with her favor, she can host Thanksgiving next year.
If you're going to toss your diets out the window on Thanksgiving, you might as well go whole hog and send each guest home with a cookie. Use a cookie cutter to make leaf or pumpkin cookies, and then frost them with colored icing. If preparing Thanksgiving dinner is already more than you can take, go ahead and buy cookies from a bakery. When guests stumble out the door in a tryptophan haze, they'll be so happy to have a cookie they won't care who made it.
When guests file out at the end of the night, you'll be left with not only a sink full of dirty dishes but more leftovers than you can fit in the refrigerator. Turn the extra pie and cookies into favors by passing out decorative to-go boxes. Buy small cardboard boxes, and stamp them with leaf or turkey stamps to make them look festive; then, line them with waxed paper so that they don't get filled with crumbs. To fancy up plastic containers filled with turkey and mashed potatoes, wrap them in leaf-stamped brown paper. Even if the turkey inside is dry, guests will feel as though they're receiving a gift.
You have to decorate your table with centerpieces anyway, so kill two birds with one stone and turn them into favors. Instead of placing one huge vase of flowers on the table, divide flowers into small bud vases and place one at each place setting. If you prefer the look of one full vase at the center of the table, take it into the kitchen after the meal and divide the flowers into the smaller vases. This also provides a legitimate reason to avoid hearing Uncle Jimmy tell the same story for a third time.
Most types of candy stay good for months, so guests who roll out of dinner completely stuffed can spend a few days digesting before digging into this favor. Candy is also fairly cheap and easy to dress up. Stamp paper bags with leaf designs, or write a different reason to be thankful on each bag. Toss a few handfuls of orange-wrapped chocolates or maple sugar candies in the shape of leaves into each bag.
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