Easy Thanksgiving decor ideas for your family get-together

Now that October is over and the spooky Halloween decor has been put away, it’s time to start thinking about the next big holiday: Thanksgiving! Every holiday is enjoyable for different reasons, but I particularly love Thanksgiving because it’s a day dedicated to giving thanks, spending time with family and eating a lot of food.

To get ready for the big day, I’ve compiled some easy Thanksgiving decor ideas that you and your guests will love.

1. Decide on a theme

Are you going to throw a modern Thanksgiving? A rustic one? Deciding on a theme first will help you narrow your options when buying or making decor for your home.

2. Think beyond traditional fall colors 
Photo credit: Decoist

Photo credit: Decoist

 

While you certainly can decorate with oranges, reds and browns, you don’t have to. If you want to try something new this year, think outside the box when it comes to colors. Dark purple, metallics, white, light blue and navy could all be used to create a Thanksgiving display.

3. Incorporate faux pumpkins into your decorating scheme
Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

 

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. Rather than carving real pumpkins though, you can use faux ones to create a sophisticated space. Consider using a white faux pumpkin as a flower vase or smaller pumpkin candle holders in your home.

4. Design a fun kid’s table
Photo credit: Frog Prince Paperie

Photo credit: Frog Prince Paperie

 

Leave the fancy, elegant decor for the big table on Thanksgiving day and try using kid-friendly decor for the children to enjoy. If you have kids of your own, this can be a great opportunity for them to get crafty and create fun table decor.

5. Display your food as decor

Thanksgiving day is all about the delicious food you’ll be serving, so it makes sense to arrange your food in a visually appealing way. Details matter, from the serving platters and bowls you choose to which foods you place next to each other.

6. Save elaborate centerpieces for the buffet table
Photo credit: Centsational Girl

Photo credit: Centsational Girl

 

Decorating the dining table is great, but you don’t want large decor getting in the way of conversation and eating. Instead, move your elaborate centerpieces and table decor to the buffet table, so guests can still admire your style.

 

By Wendy Weinert

Start preparing for the holidays now

For me, the holidays are a time to enjoy family and friends, great food and fun entertainment. I love this time of year and even the snow starts to feel magical around the holidays (once January comes, however, my feelings toward snow change drastically). Of course, along with joy and excitement, I have also experienced feelings of stress in the past and I’m sure you have, too. It’s hard not to when you have hosting duties to consider and parties to plan!

This year, stay ahead of the game by starting the to-do list below now. By preparing for the holidays in advance, you can spend more time enjoying the company of loved ones, rather than feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

1. Prepare your guest room and plan sleeping arrangements
Photo credit: Tatertots & Jello

Photo credit: Tatertots & Jello

 

If you’ve been using your guest room as a storage space lately, clear out the clutter and consider adding some welcoming touches. Depending on how many people are staying over, you might have to turn your living room or basement area into guest rooms, too. Consider the sleeping arrangement that works best for everyone and what supplies you will need (like blankets, air mattresses, etc.) to make it work.

2. Plan your menus
Photo credit: Grin & Bake it

Photo credit: Grin & Bake it

 

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, it’s not a bad idea to start planning menus now. Decide whether you want to make everything yourself or if you would rather have each guest bring a dish to share. If you’re hosting a potluck, knowing in advance will allow family and friends time to prepare for your party as well.

3. Start cooking (and freezing)
Photo credit: Feast on the Cheap

Photo credit: Feast on the Cheap

 

Holiday treats, soups and other foods can be prepared and then frozen several weeks before your party. This way you don’t have to live in the kitchen during the holidays and you can make cooking for guests feel more manageable.

4. Search for gifts
Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

You know those people who are in the mall, hours before their holiday party, trying to find the perfect gift? Don’t be one of those people. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot less stressed if you start coming up with gift ideas now, rather than waiting until the last minute.

We might have some time before the holiday season begins, but now is the best time to start preparing for guests and parties. When the day of your first get-together arrives, you’ll feel confident and ready for the big occasion – after all, the hostess deserves to have fun, too!

By Wendy Weinert

Hosting the Perfect Summer Garden Party

Parties are a great way to make new friends, have some good laughs, and live in the moment. My favorite place to host a party is right in my back yard. Gardens add a special element to an event that you simply can’t get anywhere else. The mixture of being outside, breathing fresh air, and enjoying the scenery has a magical feeling that is indescribable. If you are itching to escape the walls of your home and share the green things you’ve grown, then it’s time to throw your very own garden party. Here are ten ways to host it and make it a success.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Rollinger (Flickr)

Photo courtesy of Andrew Rollinger (Flickr)

1. Get the Garden Ready

Now that things are looking green, you are going to want to show off your mad garden-growing skills. Lay down new bark for a clean look, mow the grass, trim the plants, and get rid of the weeds.

2. Choose a Color Scheme

Don’t worry about spending a fortune on decorations; the main displays are the ones growing all around you. Pick subtle colors that coordinate with your plants. Pastels and natural color palettes are the perfect touch to a garden party.

3. Prepare a Comfortable Space

You want your guests to be as comfortable as possible so they can fully enjoy the party. Provide enough seating for everyone who is coming, and set cushions on the chairs to make them softer.

4. Design a Table Centerpiece

The centerpiece is a great way to pull the entire garden party decor together. A bouquet of flowers in a vase will grab your guests’ attention and create a feeling of relaxation and beauty. Candles placed along tables for the evening will set the mood for a memorable night.

5. Block the Sun

I have been to a few garden parties where the lack of sun was exhausting. The only thing I wanted to do was leave the garden and make my way inside the air conditioned home. Providing shaded areas to escape the hot sun will keep your guests comfortable enough that they can enjoy being outside for the entire party duration.

6. Ward off Bugs

As the sun sets, you will be greeted with the nightly swarm of bugs. Candles and other natural repellents can keep bugs away from your food, out of your garden, and off your guests.

7. Grill up Some Food

A barbeque is a quick way to get tasty meat out to your friends and allow you to stay outside while you cook the food. Whether it is hot dogs, hamburgers, or kabobs, a grill makes it easy to get food out quickly.

8. Pour Drinks

Grab a cooler and fill it with ice. Throw in an assortment of drinks so your guests can all find something to suit their unique tastes.

9. Get out the Finger Foods

I love finger foods, and garden parties are the perfect place to serve them. Guests will love the chance to eat food right out of your garden, so take the opportunity to create a vegetable platter with all your freshly grown carrots, celery, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, and even peppers.

10. Have Fun!

Most importantly – have fun! It can be hard to sit back and enjoy the outdoors when you are trying to entertain guests, so let the garden do the entertaining. Follow these steps to prepare properly for your party so you can grab a cold drink, some snacks, and then relax.

By Wendy Weinert