Thanksgiving, a beloved American holiday, has traditionally meant gathering with family and friends to reflect on life’s blessings while eating turkey and watching football. Even though traditions and values have evolved in the way Thanksgiving is celebrated, one thing remains the same — a true Thanksgiving holiday always involves feasting.

Just as times have changed, so has Thanksgiving cuisine, and even more so, trends have changed in how the cooking is both presented and delivered. A little research on the history of Thanksgiving illustrates how turkey has taken the place of geese, deer gave way to ham, plum pudding has become cranberry sauce, and mincemeat pie has gradually been replaced with pumpkin pie. People have also changed how they make their Thanksgiving meals – opting to deep fry their turkey instead of the standard oven roasting methods.

Thanksgiving is a coveted time of year that many look forward to for spending time with family and friends. While many families still enjoy a traditional holiday celebration, there are a number of them who have chosen to do things a little differently. An increasing amount of overworked Americans want less stress, less fuss, and more special moments with loved ones.

Having a Thanksgiving meal catered or having family and friends gather at a restaurant are great alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving process. Instead of hovering over a stovetop or a sink full of dishes, a catered meal or a meal outside the home gives families a chance to spend more time together enjoying the day, essentially eliminating the stress of cooking and cleaning. Another tradition that has come into the fray is the idea of a potluck Thanksgiving feast. With everyone encouraged to bring a dish of choice, the food prep becomes a group effort, versus solely the responsibility of one person or family. It also gives you a chance to enjoy foods you may not normally make yourself, broadening your palate with a variety of dishes.

No matter what traditions you choose as part of your Thanksgiving celebration, be safe and enjoy!