Sponsorship provided by Ocean Spray. Thanks for reading! Content and opinions, as always, are my own.
There’s nothing like ushering in November with a trip to Rockefeller Center® to wade and dine in a 1500 sq. ft. fresh cranberry bog, while getting whipped into Thanksgiving-hostess-extraordinaire shape by a team of Ocean Spray Grandmas, AKA CranMas. As part of Ocean Spray‘s #ASKCRANMA event, a team of Thanksgiving-feast valedictorians (yup! The Cranmas who happen to be multi-generational Ocean Spray farmers) schooled me alongside other writers with hands-on instructions and no-nonsense first-time Thanksgiving hostess advice – to ensure that our holiday goes off without a hitch. This is the 13th year that Ocean Spray has brought their iconic 2,000-pound fresh-cranberry bog to Rockefeller Center®, and it was a true treat to attend again (this time solo!) – catch last year’s fun with my kiddos here.
As someone who knows that I’ll never match the level of Thanksgivings dinners produced by my mom and mother-in-law – I nod my head in understanding over common fears discovered in a recent Ocean Spray survey.
First Time Hosting Fears
- Not cooking the Turkey properly (under-cooking or burning).
- Not timing things properly.
- Not being able to live up to their parents or grandparents Thanksgivings (hello, yes!).
- Forgetting something (important ingredient, etc.).
- Disappointing guests and not having them enjoy the meal.
The team of CranMas is helping to squash these fears with their tried-and-true advice. Best of all? They’re dedicated to helping you! Now through Thanksgiving Day, first-time hosts (and others who want advice!) can access Facebook Chat to talk to Ocean Spray’s virtual CranMa AKA the Cranbot in real-time! I was all ears amongst CranMa Sue, Mary Ann, and Diane, as they dished out expert advice. I’m hanging on to CranMa Mary Ann’s simple yet wise words, “Thanksgiving is a time to be together and you should never lose sight of that”.
First Time Hosting Tips
- Do as much as you can ahead of time (cooking and setting the table)!
- Set the scene with beautiful and simple holiday hacks including a napkin ring made out of Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries.
- Welcome guests with a themed-cocktail (try Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail, Vodka, and Cassis. And delight the kids with a glass of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail).
- Consider timing when going with a frozen vs. fresh turkey (frozen takes multiple days to thaw – 1 day for every 5lbs of turkey!)
- Most importantly, remember to focus on the togetherness and meaning of the day. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect!
- Ocean Spray cranberry products can help to set the scene and are a healthy and delicious component of Thanksgiving meals, sides and drinks.
You better believe that I plopped myself right into the cranberry bog -waders and all – to indulge in a pre-Thanksgiving feast! Everything was beyond delicious from the meal to the stunning decor.
First -time Thanksgiving host? Have questions on how to make your dinner perfect? Don’t forget to ask CranMa your pressing questions and chat with “her” anytime! Happy hosting friends!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ocean Spray®. The opinions and text are all mine.