Thanksgiving is JUST around the corner. Are you hosting? It's one of my favorite things to have a house full of family and friends. Here are a few ideas to get ready for the big day, or any party you host.
Welcome. Hanging a festive wreath on your door is an easy way to start the immediate welcome. They typically last all season long and are made with mostly organic materials, so they are the perfect guilt-free biodegradable décor! Honestly, I could do an entire post on my favorite wreaths...and maybe I will... but in the meantime- check out local farmer's markets and etsy! Love supporting small business crafters.
Coat Check. Have a designated place for guests to hang coats, purses and potentially umbrellas. This could be your front closet or spare bedroom. It avoids the mess of throwing coats on the back of a sofa or someone awkwardly carrying their purse around.
Sign Here. I love a guest book! If you have a one already, set it out with some pens for people to sign. If you don’t, what are you waiting for? It’s such a sweet item to look back through and see the events and activities your family has hosted. We have just continued to use our wedding guest book and cherish it as it fills with notes from family and friends.
Drinks and Bites. Typically, people don’t all arrive at once and it’s nice to have a transitional time where people can get their bearings, have a drink, catch up and settle in. Have a curated cocktail like this Pomegranate Prosecco Smash (a non-alcoholic option is always welcomed, check out this Cranberry Cider Punch pictured below) to set the tone and a couple small appetizers to soothe appetites. I love having cheese plates, crudité and shrimp cocktail- easy to nibble but since they are cold, they don’t fill you up before the big feast.
Décor. Tablecloths, chargers, cloth napkins and napkin rings add to the festivities and can be used party after party. I love woven rattan chargers that can be dressed to any holiday- simply changing the floral centerpiece, candle colors and cloth napkins will completely change the look. Burlap runners, linen napkins tied with twine and natural items like pinecones, pumpkins, gourds and foliage are an inexpensive way to elevate your table setting that can be composted after.
Food Location. Depending on crowd, food can either be served at table family-style or placed on a buffet or countertop. I like having it set away to allow for more space for décor and avoiding the awkward passing of items that are large and often hot. People can just step away to get a stuffing refill.
Kids table. So nice to have a spot for kids to hang out. Cover the kitchen table or folding table with brown craft paper and put down some stamps and crayons. They can eat, color, hang out and any spills won’t do damage to the linens. And once done, it can be rolled up and recycled.
Accept help. If people offer to bring something- say “yes.” If people offer to help clear the table- say “yes.” It will make it so much more enjoyable for you as a host, when you have someone helping with putting away food or washing the knives. And if you have a "totally curated, can’t be disturbed" menu- just ask them to bring wine 😊 (Don’t be afraid to be specific, “We would love if you could bring a sauvignon blanc or a bottle of prosecco”).
BYOT (Bring Your Own Tupperware). If you anticipate lots of leftovers, and are planning to send them home with guests- ask people bring their own tupperware. It might sound totally tacky- but we are being “green friendly” aren’t we? Let’s make it the norm- say “no” to Styrofoam carry out containers and large Ziploc bags.
Music – have it playing. Chill, relaxing, low key- something to add to the ambiance.
Warmth-We always have a roaring fire in the cold months, but for those apartment dwellers and fireplace-free homes, light some candles and use table lamps rather than overhead or have them on a low dimmer setting. The ambient light creates a more relaxing environment.
Now enjoy! How fortunate to be surrounded with family and friends enjoying time together!