By Deirdre Haggerty

Thanksgiving and football. They go together like turkey and gravy. However, if you have tickets for your home team on the holiday, you don’t want to skip on tradition. With the following Thanksgiving tailgating guide, you won’t have to. Enjoy traditional favorites before the game through a little preparation and some creativity. Assign or ask members of your party to participate in the meal making for a truly festive holiday.

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Thanksgiving Tailgating Supplies

For tailgating, make sure you have the essentials — everything from bug spray to charcoal. In addition, you might want some high-end items and warming accessories to tailgate in style. In that case, has the basics and beyond from hand warmers to canopies to grills and more. Keep it festive with inexpensive paper plates, napkins, table clothes and plastic-ware and cups that celebrate Thanksgiving with turkeys and fall colors.

Thanksgiving Tailgating Beverages

Beer and hot or cold apple cider are of course staples that not only celebrate Thanksgiving, but tailgating as well. Of course, it’s simple to bring a thermos of hot coffee or grab a box from your usual coffee place. However, since it is a holiday, why not pack the coffee with a punch? Black Fox Coffee has an array of festive ideas for delightful Thanksgiving coffee. The Brown Sugar & Fall Spice Latte infused with brown sugar with cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg; The Marshmallow Latte with vanilla and date syrup; or the After Dinner Mint Latte with hints of dark chocolate and mint are ideal for dessert.

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Thanksgiving Tailgating Main Courses

Sandwiches are easy and most likely the first thought for tailgating on Thanksgiving. Roast and carve the turkey the day before and prepare turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey croquettes and even turkey soup. However, if it is grilling you desire, make turkey-kabobs with diced sweet potato or white potato and red pepper. Optional ideas also include turkey chili, turkey burgers and pulled pork or turkey sliders. Be sure to incorporate your cranberry sauce into any BBQ sauce recipe for a festive touch. However, keep it as simple as possible. Trying to make a full turkey meal mobile is difficult and time-consuming.

Thanksgiving Tailgating Sides

Most sides such as stuffing or macaroni and cheese will have to be cooked the day before. Try a mac-and-cheese  crockpot recipe for easy transport or even slow cooker cranberry meatballs. Corn-on-the-cob is great on the grill, as are potatoes, and mini cornbread is ideal for travel.

Thanksgiving Tailgating Desserts

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Melting chocolate and turkey molds are simple to prepare days before Thanksgiving for chocolate turkey pops. Apple turnovers satisfy the need for apple pie and give everyone a slice of tradition without the mess. Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are delicious and festive single serve treats perfect for tailgating. Top it off with a little hot cocoa and Rum Chata and your Thanksgiving tailgate party is picture perfect.