At Old World Stoneworks, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. It has everything – great food, time spent with family and friends, a focus on gratitude, and the chance to light one of the year’s first fires. The challenge of a successful Thanksgiving is to balance the comfort of the guests with the stress level of hosts and hostesses. We hope these tips will make for a happier, more harmonious holiday in your household.
Are you inviting 20 people, but don’t have matching plates and silverware for 20 guests? Don’t worry. Go for an eclectic, mismatched look. This works best if you can keep it all within the same color family. For instance, maybe a mix of cream, white and yellow plates with clear and amber glasses. Don’t hesitate to borrow from a friend whose dishes are a complementary color.
Consider candles for lighting – as long as you don’t have too many pets or little children around who are notorious fire starters. Votives and pillars on the table cast a flattering glow, while being short enough so guests can see each other across the table. Stick to unscented, so the candles don’t fight with food aromas.
For your tablescape, think simple, but elegant. Lay a tan or warm golden runner on your table and top it with gourds and clear bud vases with a different orange or yellow flower in each.
Hostesses know it’s nearly impossible to cook dinner while seeing to drink orders. A self-service bar is perfectly acceptable, and allows guests to mix their drinks as strong or as light as they would like. Or, ask your cocktail-enthusiast family member to play bartender for pre-dinner drinks.
Same goes for appetizers. Instead of circulating with trays, set up a self-serve appetizer station.
You Don’t Have to Do Everything
Homemade pie. Homemade stuffing. Homemade cranberry sauce. It’s a lot for one person to do. Consider whether certain parts of your Thanksgiving dinner could be outsourced; perhaps to the supermarket. Does your family like canned cranberry sauce? Then open a can. Does a bakery in town make a terrific pie? Pick up dessert the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Even if you’re determined to cook it all yourself, you can still make life a little easier. Buy pre-cut vegetables and keep some recipes simple. For example, mixing sour cream with onion soup mix makes a delicious dip.
A Special Mantel
Ah, the postprandial delight of relaxing in front of a crackling fire. Make your holiday mantel special with touches of fall décor. How about a dried leaf wreath, made from the warm golds, reds and oranges of autumn? Add a few gourds and candles and you have the perfect Thanksgiving mantel. Top off the meal with spiced cider, good conversation and an hour lounging in front of the fireplace. Now that’s what we call a successful holiday party.
Need more mantel ideas? Check out our inspiration gallery for ways to accent your hearth this holiday season.