November is just around the corner, which means it's time to start planning one of the biggest nights on your annual food calendar. At OTR, what we love most about this fantastic holiday is how it's evolved over the years. Once a holiday reserved for family, Thanksgiving has now given way to a new tradition, often called "Friendsgiving," where family-like friends gather for a huge meal and a chance to catch up. Sometimes it's pre or post actual Thanksgiving and sometimes it's the main event. Either way, it's a great chance to celebrate with those close to you. Hosting this year? Not to worry! We've got fail-safe tips for you, helping you win the day, even if you're no Martha Stewart.
Create a cozy, homey vibe. It's important to make guests feel like they're coming home when they arrive for dinner, so work from the doorway in creating a comfy vibe. As you plan the decor, think about a cottage in the woods. We love to start with a wreath on the front door, the fuller the better, and even like to add a little something scented, like cinnamon scented pinecones, to evoke a feeling of calm. As guests enter, create warmth by using tea lights (unscented in the house, since you want warm food scents to rule inside) and pumpkins and large gourds in the entryway. Thanksgiving food is beautiful, so allow it to sit center stage, creating a mouthwatering display guests will be drawn to. Fill in gaps with more tea lights and small gourds. Check out this really fun way to combine gourds with succulents to create unique, organic pops.
Keep table decor low and understated. For the dinner table, you want to keep centerpieces low so guests don't have to strain to see one another. Opt for LED tea lights on the table if food will be passed around to avoid anyone catching their sleeves in the flames (it happens more than you think). Low flower arrangements in fall colors can even sit in hollowed pie pumpkins, similar to an idea we mentioned in a recent post.
Stock your bathroom with a big basket of essentials. A holiday centered around eating means guests may have a few unexpected needs. Floss, stain sticks, mints, and even TUMS are great to have on-hand and out in the open. We also love to stock up on handcrafted soaps as an extra special touch. In SF? Check out Hydra! Guests feel taken care of when their needs are anticipated, so going that extra mile makes you look like a super hero!
Plan a post-dinner walk. It's been scientifically proven that walking after a meal speeds digestion, helping guests make room for that delicious pie you worked on all day. Planning a group walk is a great way to ensure guests continue feeling great and stave off that, "give me a couch and a pair of sweatpants and don't talk to me for an hour," feeling. Pop a small milk crate of fuzzy, flannel blankets by the door so guests can wrap up before the walk if it's extra chilly.
Pair dessert with a little low-impact fun. Once you're back inside, dessert, decaf coffee, and post-dinner drinks are on the menu. We love to pair this time with a little fun, breaking out the board games to get guests laughing. We love Cards Against Humanity for totally inappropriate humor and Oregon Trail card game for some old school fun.
Just remember, when planning decor, choose a theme early on and keep that theme in mind while shopping. Letting the food shine is key, so we love to choose decorative accents that aren't overwhelming. Gold is an excellent way to go since it pairs perfectly with neutrals, and with a few cans of spray paint, you can create gilded gourds and pumpkins that glisten in the candlelight.
Happy planning, folks! We can't wait to see what you come up with!
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