2020 has been unique, to put it mildly. As the months pass, we’ve found ways to adapt, discovering fresh routines in this new normal. But with the holidays quickly approaching, we’re being challenged to rethink decades of traditions for scaled down celebrations.

Thanksgiving is the Foodie Super Bowl, but this year, your celebration may be a little more Friday Night Lights. Still exciting, but on a little bit of a different level.

If you’re not sure how to scale down the biggest meal of the year, here are some tips for a petite Thanksgiving celebration that might be light on turkey, but not on tradition.


Despite being the centerpiece of the meal, turkey is generally not the superstar of the Thanksgiving plate. In place of a huge, takes-all-day turkey, consider roasting a split turkey breast or even a chicken instead. If you’re more of a dark meat person, go right for the good stuff and pick up some turkey thighs and drumsticks. You can roast them, but they’re also ultra-tasty and quick-cooking on the grill. This is a great year to experiment!

If you still want a show-stopping centerpiece, roll it up. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten a boneless turkey breast and roll it with traditional bread stuffing, a sweet potato wild rice mixture, or even just some herbs and goat cheese. Tie it with twine before roasting for a neat presentation.


Everyone has their side-dish priorities, so pull back on those dishes that are typically the least popular (looking at you, salad), and make just a few can’t-miss recipes. For some, that might be stuffing and mashed potatoes or green beans and yams. One good way to decide is to close your eyes and imagine what leftover you’ll be most excited to dig into on Friday—which is usually the dish you don’t have any other day of the year.


We know it’s virtually impossible to choose between pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie, but three pies is not scaling it back. Consider making little tartlets or hand pies, instead. For tartlets, press pie dough or vanilla tart dough into a mini-muffin tin and bake them without any filling. Make a batch of caramel and use that as a base to add pecans, apples, and pumpkin and spices to recreate those classic pie flavors.