10 Tips for Hosting & Attending Thanksgiving

This holiday is one of my favorite holidays of the year. As you can probably tell from the last few DBKwords posts I’ve shared, there is just something about this holiday and all of the appreciation that goes with it that just brings out all the good feels.

"give Thanks" Chalkboard decor DIY Chalk Tray give Thanks, Hand drawn pumpkins, wall hanging, thanksgiving decor

That said, if you are the host of the Thanksgiving Soiree, you are likely in panic mode right about now… it is less than 24 hours before your guests will be arriving (and maybe some are coming tonight), and you still have little things to get ready!

Well, let me ease your woes. If you still have to set the table, and add some festive decor around your abode, here are 5 things that are so easy, you can be ready in an hour.

  • Add some festivity to your front door. You likely don’t have time to hang a wreath on the door, but you can easily take some card stock, construction paper, etc., and cut out some leafy shapes, write out “Happy” “Thanks” “Giving” or “Give” “Thanks” on the leaves, (one word per leaf) , attach a string to each leaf, and hang them on the front door. Greeting your guests with something cheerful will get them in the spirit right away. Here is my front door wreath for the season and an idea from That’s My Letter of wooden door tags.
  • Add some festive pumpkins around the house. If you really have zero time to do anything, just grab a handful of mini pumpkins (you can find them everywhere at this time of year). Group them together in a few different areas around the house, and voila. If you have time to do something, check out this doily covered pumpkin from Allyson Baker Design, or this paper pumpkin from Shelterness.
  • Use those mini pumpkins for place-cards  on your Thanksgiving table as well. You can add names, or festive tags, or just put them on top of the salad plates to add a pop of color to your table. Taryn Williford made glitter dipped pumpkins to make for a more glam tablescape, while Jennifer at Celebrating Everyday Life tied ribbons on pumpkins and then wrote on the ribbons.
  • Light Candles. The glow of candlelight adds a nice warmth and ambiance to any space, but make sure on this food filled holiday, you are using basic unscented candles so they don’t interfere with all the smells coming from the kitchen! Get out all your candlesticks and tapers to make this glowing candlestick grouping from Snippet and Ink, if you don’t have a stash of similar candlesticks, then group the pillars you’ve got to create a good focal point like West Elm is showing all together on a tray or cutting board.
  • Don’t forget the food! Take a clear container and fill it up with apples, cranberries or mini pumpkins, as shown on Good Housekeeping. If you are cooking all the food you have on hand for the main event, look outside and use things like leaves or acorns to create layered centerpieces like these ones from Being Better 2Gether. If there were ever a perfect night of hosting to use food as a centerpiece, Thanksgiving is your night!

If you are a guest, there are some things you should remember on Thanksgiving (and well, every event you attend).

  • Manners are key, that turkey make look so good you can’t wait to get your hands on it, but wait your turn and remember to say please and thank you, it goes a long way.
  • Bring a little something for the host. Something as simple as a bottle of wine that can be enjoyed with the meal, or saved for after all the guests leave, is a great gesture that any host will appreciate.
  • Compliments are key. Be sure to offer your host at least one compliment (which should be easy on Thanksgiving). Compliment the decor, the food, his/her ability to be so stylish while cooking up a storm… you name it, a compliment or two will make them feel so appreciated for bringing this all together.
  • Offer to help. There are so many things your host has to stay on top of with cooking alone, be sure to check in to see if you can help with anything from opening more wine to clearing the table, and for the love of all things, please don’t make your host do the dishes by themselves.
  • Respect the hosts Thanksgiving style. Many people will say a special prayer on the holidays when everyone is gathered. Be respectful even if it isn’t your thing, bow your head and go along. Some hosts will want to go around the table and say what you are thankful for. This can feel like a cheesy gesture, but give it some consideration and truly offer up some gratitude before you dive in.

Whatever you are doing this holiday and whomever you are spending it with, I hope you have many blessings to be thankful for, and that you have no trouble finding ways to share your gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Dreaming of a Valentine’s Day Soiree

It’s February, and I’m noticing all things lovey dovey. Maybe it is because this is our first married Valentine’s Day… maybe I’m just happier than I’ve been or less cynical.. I’m not sure why, but whatever the reason, love is most definitely in the air over here.

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Whatever it is that has me feeling the love has got me thinking. My valentines have been my good friends for years. I’ve always celebrated with the girls, or ignored the holiday altogether. Even when I was dating someone, we’ve never really celebrated it. This year I’ve been thinking, why? Why all the negativity and cynicism surrounding this day? Honestly, isn’t there enough bad in the world? Couldn’t we all use a little love?

So, for all of you anti-V-Day folks, here is a list of things you can celebrate on Valentine’s Day.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.04.00 PM  1. Celebrate yourselfYou are amazing, and I shouldn’t have to tell you why. Take a minute to celebrate all the great things about you. Treat yourself to a little pampering; get your nails done, have a little spa day. Whatever it is, take a minute to appreciate the things that you do.

2. Celebrate your family. If you have little ones, whip up a special at-home dinner that feels fancier than your norm. Set the table with candles and flowers and don’t leave out the dessert! If you don’t have kids, celebrate with a siblings dinner, or by going to visit your parents. Take it upon yourself to fix up something for them as a sign of your appreciation and love for them.

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3. Celebrate your friends. Let’s face it. We all have those friends that are there for us through it all, and we love them for it. So why not whip up some cocktails and host a night in with the girls. Have everyone bring their favorite chick flick and laugh and cry the night away with your favorite ladies.

4. Celebrate a hobby. I’m a knitter and I used to have a fantastic knitting group in Connecticut before we moved to New Jersey, and I haven’t found a new group yet, but our knitting group was the type of group that knows how to have a good time. Have some of your fellow hobby-sharers over and spend some time progressing on your projects. It’s a great time to focus on something you love with a good group of people, whether your hobby is knitting, photography, scrapbooking, etc., invite a group of friends over that enjoy the same thing to hang out and work on your skills.

5. Celebrate your fur baby. We love our puppy and it is so much fun to spoil him! Take a trip with your fur baby to the pet store and buy him/her some special treats, a new toy, etc., or treat him/her to an extra trip to the dog park or a long walk or play session.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the love. So celebrate the love in your life this Valentine’s. Don’t let it bog you down, have fun with it, call some friends and get your soiree planned!