Across the country this week, families are preparing themselves for the emotional and physical endurance that Thanksgiving requires of us. Recipes are being tested, turkeys are being brined (wet or dry?!) or foregone altogether, and football, I’m told, is occurring. Since the holidays tend to present the unique dual challenge of preparing a large meal and attempting to peaceably interact with extended family, tips, tricks, and alcoholic spirits are always welcome. That’s why I, as a little season’s greetings to you, have complied the most appetizing dollops of wisdom from those veritable fonts of holiday knowledge: lifestyle bloggers. Here’s what domesticity’s best and brightest have to say about making the most of Turkey Day:
A quiet-time activity allows you to forego conversation, political or otherwise, until the food is blessedly available to be discussed:
“Crosswords, word searches, and trivia are also a great way to occupy guests while you put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner,” writes Julie Blanner, haver of remarkably docile dinner guests.
“Put a blank piece of paper and pen on top of each place setting,” advises Gal Meets Glam, “and have that person write down one thing they’re thankful for about the person sitting to their right. Whether it’s a new face at the table or a cousin you rarely get to see throughout the year, each guest has a lovely note to take home and leaves with a happier heart knowing they’re appreciated and welcomed.” Or feeling thoroughly shaded/entirely unknown, depending!
And Oprah’s lifestyle mavens suggest: “Instead of fancy linens, this Thanksgiving cover your table with brown craft paper! Invite your guests to create a tablecloth by tracing their hand and coloring in the silhouette to resemble big gobblers. Provide the crayons and the inspiration, and let your guests create!” Just be sure the crayons go away before the wine is flowing too much around certain uncles, is my advice to you.
Elaborate deception is a home entertainer’s virtue:
“Having a perfectly straight centerpiece (i.e., vases lined up in a perfect row) can look overly fussy. Instead, stagger each item as little as half an inch so that it can look like it all just landed there. Oh this little clementine, hydrangea, and daisy arrangement? I just threw it together!” Thanks so much, Cupcakes and Cashmere! I was wondering what to do with this random bounty of hydrangea I had lying around.
Can’t figure out what to do with leftovers? Put them on your face:
“For those of you with drier skin,” offers the Skinny Confidential, “this [pumpkin pie ultra hydration] mask is perfect. Just use pumpkin puree (real pumpkin, none of that fake shit ), cinnamon, and turmeric. Turmeric is AMAZING for inflammation. So pile the mixture on your face for a few minutes & prepare to see the difference.” Added bonus will be seeing the taunt faces of your relatives when they spy the hole you’ve made in the middle of nanna’s pie!
Commandeer your neighborhood’s additional fridge space for all that extra cranberry sauce:
“Maximize space by getting rid of leftover takeout, dregs of condiments, and anything you can’t recall using or needing. ‘Get creative, too,’ [Martha Stewart Living food editor Anna Kovel] says. ‘Is a neighbor leaving town for the holiday? Ask if you can ‘borrow’ refrigerator space.’” You know what’s even more creative, Martha Stewart Living? When things get hectic, just go ahead and break in and take all the space you need—strategically effective and a symbolically apt move for the holiday itself!
Don’t have enough to worry about? Add “interest” to your table with truly unexpected place settings and superfluous baked goods:
“I know it seems almost counter intuitive to set the table and add the centerpiece last,” acknowledges Ella Claire Inspired, “but by doing this you can make sure you fit all of the necessary items on the table and work the candles and decorations around them. I started each of my place settings with some large children’s encyclopedias that I found at a thrift store years ago for 50 cents. I used them as chargers to add interest and fun texture to the table … I added small loafs of homemade bread to each place setting just for fun, too.” Perhaps there will be an article inside one of those volumes on insanity, just for a little digestive reading.
And give a nod to nature by including gussied-up mulch with your dinner:
“Perfect for upcoming Thanksgiving, or even for Christmas, these gold leaf dipped place cards (and/or decor pieces) will be a nice keepsake for your friends + family when they’re over for holiday brunch/lunch/dinner/gift giving and then some … don’t you think? I’m sure you’ve all collected some of the gorgeous fall leaves that are currently covering our sidewalks. And this is a great way to put them to use!” I SURE have, Jacquelyn Clark! But where did I store that countertop smelter I picked up from Williams-Sonoma last season?
If none of that appeals, you could make like Gwyneth (Paltrow’s GOOP), and just skip the holiday altogether:
“Thanksgiving is a time of coming together, of family, of gratitude. But it’s also a time of stressful air travel, fraught family dynamics, and utter exhaustion. Here’s a radical idea: Skip it. Better yet: Skip the country. The international terminal is bound to be less crazy over the Thanksgiving holiday—and travel this time of year comes with some great perks.”
Ah, the freedom of wealth. Assuming you don’t have enough Amex Adamantium points to jet away from the joys and strife of the holidays this year, I wish you the best of luck. May your gravy be smooth, and your foraged tablescapes so fresh and festive that even the insects teeming within feel gratitude in their tiny hearts!