Daily Dose of Design: What to Bring to Thanksgiving that Doesn't Involve Cooking

Monday, November 19, 2018

What to Bring to Thanksgiving that Doesn't Involve Cooking

Happy Thanksgiving Week! I can't believe it's already here but also am so excited for it all! This is the beginning of the most magical time of every year for so many reasons - but anyway! Let's talk Thanksgiving and entertaining. If you aren't hosting, you're probably trying to figure out what you can bring on Thursday. We can't all be the best chefs in the world, so if you aren't looking to cook, or you like to but don't want to/have the time to cook or bake something elaborate to bring, there's a ton of options to choose from! Here's a complete guide of what to bring to the Thanksgiving host's house this holiday!


Probably the easiest thing to bring to Thanksgiving - find out what kind of wine the host/hostess likes and bring a bottle for them and/or a bottle for everyone else to enjoy.

Magic Cookie Bars

I know these involve cooking, but they're incredibly easy to make and my favorite sign that the holidays are really here! Here's the recipe for them - you can add any toppings you want (there's a list of some fun ones in that recipe!) and everyone will love them. Best part is they take all of 5 minutes to prep - just pop them in the oven while you're doing 9049 other things! ;)


Whether they're just a thoughtful hostess gift or meant to light during Thanksgiving Day, candles are never a bad choice! This Capri Blue Volcano candle is one of those scents that everyone (or mostly) loves. Another fan favorite of the holidays is this Frasier Fir candle, which is packaged just as beautifully as it smells! And you can never go wrong with a set of Diptyque Candles.

Dinner Rolls/Crescent Rolls

Again, using the oven - but couldn't be simpler! Everyone loves dinner rolls and everyone loves crescent rolls even more, so offer to bring them to Thanksgiving if you're on the hunt for something everyone can enjoy.

Fruit Tray

You can buy the fruits, cut them up and put them on a platter, but if you don't have enough time for that, buy a pre-made tray and dress it up yourself by switching to a nicer plate or put the fruit on skewers for an easy dessert!

Serving Utensils

One of my favorite hostess gifts to give, but also a practical one for Thanksgiving Day! There's a dozen different dishes and your host can use their new spoons to entertain the same day. Here's a few fun options (either that you can get shipped in the next two days or are easily available to ship/pick-up, phew!):

Apple Sangria

This is a broad one, but my absolute FAVORITE sangria recipe is so simple that it doesn't really even involve a recipe... Get your favorite bottle of wine (I always go with Pinot Grigio), pour it into a pitcher and add in a cup of apple cider, 1 Honey Crisp Apple, 1 Granny Smith Apple, cranberries and 1/2 bottle of seltzer. So simple, so quick to make (think morning of or night before!) and everyone will love it!


Just a little way to say "thank you" to the host, but also a beautiful way to add some color to their home!

Charcuterie board

These have become all the rage lately, huh? For good reason too, who doesn't love a perfectly put together charcuterie board?! While it doesn't involve cooking, it'll take a little bit to put together but it's well worth it. Check your local delis/specialty stores though, because they may have pre-made ones!

Cards or a Game

Bringing the entertainment (other than yourself ;) is always a simple and good idea! Mad Libs (holiday themed!) are always fun, and Cards Against Humanity are two options that will have everyone laughing!

Hors d'oeuvre Skewers

While it doesn't scream "Thanksgiving", one of my favorite things to bring to any party or get-together - including Thanksgiving - is a caprese salad. It's light and delicious and you can even do caprese skewers to make it easy to eat! You can put basically anything on a skewer - get creative!

Oil & Vinegar Set

A great alternative to wine that you know will get used!

Bottle Opener

This is another great hostess gift idea, but can come in handy just when you need it! ;)

Serving Platter

Similar to gifting the host a set of serving spoons, gifting a serving platter is always a great idea. You can even get fancy and add a dessert to the platter and bring it as one! I love doing this because you're contributing to the menu and leaving the host with a beautiful dish afterwards.

Breakfast for Black Friday

Whether your host shops or not on Black Friday, the day after hosting something as big as Thanksgiving is most definitely tiring. Bring a fruit platter and some bagels, cinnamon rolls or something similar as a "ready to go" breakfast for them to enjoy the following morning so that they don't have to think about cooking!



  1. These are great ideas! I love the idea of bringing cards/games to Thanksgiving. SO fun!

  2. This is a wonderful list of ideas! Bringing candles or flowers is a great gift, and I love the idea to bring games. Brilliant!

  3. We hosted Friendsgiving yesterday and we had so much fun! I made an Apple Cider Sangria and it was a hit!

  4. Wine is always the best! I love this list - I wouldn't have thought of half of these!

  5. I need apple sangria in my life on Thanksgiving! I always seem to forget rolls so this is a good reminder.

  6. You had me at apple sangria ;) I usually bring a charcuterie board myself, but that sangria sounds really good!


  7. Number 1 is my absolute favorite hahaha These are all great ideas.


  8. Ahh these are so smart!! Wine and flowers is probably what I would go for.

  9. Ooh those magic cookie bars look delicious! We usually get a cake or something if we don't cook.

  10. My husband and I LOVE magic cookie bars! And such a good idea to bring some serving utensils for a hostess gift!

  11. I love the idea of bringing a game to the party. My family always makes fun of what a bad cook I am,haha!

  12. Such great ideas! I never know what to bring to thanksgiving. I love baking but usually someone always brings something sweet!

  13. I'm not a fan of bringing cooked food on Thanksgiving just because I'm not that good in cooking :p these are all great ideas though!

  14. This is such a good roundup of ideas. I'm not big into cooking, so this is perfect for me.

  15. These are all great ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  16. These are fantastic ideas! I'm not a big baker/cook so I always sign up for the easy things...like rolls haha!
    xoxo Carolyn @ www.mychicobsession.com

  17. I never would have thought of the Black Friday Breakfast. What a great (and thoughtful) idea!

  18. What great ideas! I really love the suggestion to bring games! Thanksgiving is the perfect time for gathering and gaming with friends and family!

  19. Oh these are great alternatives to bringing a dish! My friend is hosting Friendsgiving this year and while I'm bringing food, I should also bring a board game!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

  20. HAHA! This article hits way to close to home for me. Wine is always my go to!

  21. So many great host gift ideas! I always like to bring some sort of beverage, it's easy and you can never have enough drinks!

    The Classic Brunette

  22. I love these ideas! Especially bringing cards or a game; it's always great to do activities together.

  23. Haha this is definitely the post for me for the holiday season because I cannot cook - even if my life depended on it. Such great ideas hun! Love it x

  24. This is such a timely post for me! That apple sangria recipe sounds heavenly!

  25. What great ideas! Candles are such a good one - I'd never thought of that! I absolutely hate cooking, so this is perfect!!!

  26. You have so many ideas! Thank you for sharing! I'm eyeing on candles from B&BW, it's gonne be a good choice.

  27. These are some wonderful ideas. I don't like to cook so I'll be referring to them again next year!

  28. ooohh these are some fun ideas for thanksgiving! i am a sucker for good candles hahaha

  29. I love non-cooking options! My husband and I brought wine, cranberry sauce, and a large veggie platter to our family's Thanksgiving. Super easy!

  30. This looks so yummy!!! So many great ideas

  31. These are all great ideas! Who doesn't love a good candle? I normally just bring wine or dessert, but these knick-knacks are awesome! xo, Suzanne

  32. Such a helpful and oh-so-thoughtful post idea! Great tips babe.

  33. Yes to Sangria and wine! But I’d be happy for any of it for the upcoming holidays. :-) xo, Jessica

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