Make sure everyone can leave with a little something special by using one of these creative ideas.

Everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers, but it's usually the host who gets to enjoy them the next day. If you're hosting this year and are in a generous mood, consider planning ahead so that everyone can take some of that delicious Thanksgiving food home with them at the end of the night. It's a great way to keep the warm holiday mood going.

For a Large Gathering with Little Left to Share: Create "Gobbler Kits"

If you're hosting a larger crowd and there may not be a lot of food leftover, offering something specific like a "gobbler kit" is a guaranteed way to make everyone happy. Gobblers are a wildly popular sandwich that nearly everyone loves eating the next day. To make these kits, you'll need rectangular takeout boxes and two-ounce condiment containers that can hold the gravy and cranberry sauce. Buy your favorite rolls or sandwich bread and portion them into resealable plastic bags so they stay fresh. The day before, cut up the cheese of your choice (a brie or an aged cheddar would be our pick) and store the slices in an airtight container in the fridge. After the big meal, carve up the rest of the turkey and divvy it up into the takeout boxes with the bread, sauces, cheese, and a small scoop of leftover stuffing.

thanksgiving leftovers box
Credit: Chelsea McNamara Cavanaugh

For When There's Plenty Leftover: Set Up a Special Station

Some of your guests may be shy about asking to take leftovers home, especially if it's their first time being invited to your home for Thanksgiving dinner. One of the easiest ways to make everyone feel comfortable is to plan a special station that can be set out after dessert. The one important thing to remember is that in between your guests eating dinner and heading home, you'll need to make sure perishable dishes are kept refrigerated to minimize the risk of food-borne illness occurring from the food sitting out at an unsafe temperature for too long. When it's time for everyone to say goodbye, set out a stack of takeout containers (or ask your guests to bring their own), and line up the leftovers on the kitchen counter or buffet table and let friends and family pick and choose their favorite foods to enjoy the next day.

For Family and Friends Who Live Close By: Make Something with Your Leftovers

Instead of sharing leftovers right after the feast, if you love to be in the kitchen and want to give your Thanksgiving guests a treat a day or two after the big feast, you can always make a batch of something special from leftovers to share. Whether it is a soup—which can stretch a small amount of leftover turkey into many generous bowls—or these cute little Pocket Pies, your dinner guests will be surprised and delighted to receive a gift like this the next day.


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