From decor and music to crafting your tablescape.

| By Nicole Kliest | Entertainment

A Complete Guide to Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving

From decor and music to crafting your tablescape.

If you think about it, Thanksgiving is the ideal kind of holiday. Its sole focus is on eating comfort food, having great conversation, and dwelling on feelings of gratitude. It’s a special time of the season when your closest friends and family make the commitment to get together and relish in each other’s company.

If you’re lucky enough to call yourself host this year, you might be feeling the pressure to craft the perfect get-together. Don’t fret—it’s not as frantic as the movies make it out to be. In fact, hosting this holiday is the perfect opportunity to put your design and cooking skills to good use. Ahead, seven useful tips for curating a memorable day.

Pick a Soundtrack

The power of a well-curated playlist can’t be overstated—good music equals good vibes. And because it’s the holiday season, festive jingles abound. Consider assembling a few different song lists to match the segment of the evening, beginning with cocktail hour (cue: Charlie Brown), moving on to dinner time (insert jazz), and wrapping up with after-meal night caps and dessert (break out the sing-a-longs). If you have a record player, laying out a few vinyls for guests to choose from is also a thoughtful way to make music a more prominent part of your Thanksgiving experience.

Have An Aroma Story

One of the best aspects of the holiday season is smell. Whether it’s fragrant pine needles on a Christmas tree, the scent of pie baking in the oven, or a medley of spices like cinnamon and peppermint, there’s no denying that this time of year is a feast for the senses. As a host, come up with an aroma story for Thanksgiving so guests can feel cozy and at home as soon as they step inside. Of course, cooking and baking will do the trick. But you might also want to consider a few additional touches, like placing lit candles in the bathroom or a bundle of fresh herbs on the countertop.

Add In Seasonal Flora

Flowers and plants are an easy way to bring a space to life, and for Thanksgiving, picking seasonal flowers like poinsettia and holly can instantly transition your home to the holidays. If you prefer a less traditional route, head to the farmers market to see what’s for sale; many of them sell things like eucalyptus branches which look beautiful artfully splayed across the table or fireplace mantle.

Introduce Textures and Color

If you love interior design, you’re no stranger to the concept of a color scheme, and this idea applies to hosting a well-designed Thanksgiving. Since the holiday lands in the middle of autumn, lean into this palette with a medley of burnt hues ranging from orange and yellow to red and brown. These colors can be brought into your evening through a mix of textures like glassware and linens as well as flowers and decor accents. By introducing a cohesive color palette, your environment will feel more thoughtful and considered.

Craft a Unique Tablescape

Ah, the tablescape—it’s perhaps the most important component of a successful Thanksgiving (aside from the food and conversation, of course). There are several easy ways to make sure your table is well-dressed and will feel memorable for you and your guests. Place settings in a pretty color scheme is a great place to start. Also, lighting is important—dim your overhead lighting and bring in natural light such as candlesticks (bonus points if you can find antique brassware or a unique candelabra). Levels are also essential to a good harvest table, with items like cake stands, serving boards, and tall platters all being smart picks. After that, let the food do the talking and bring in small finishing touches like flowers and well-arranged food.

Incorporate Thoughtful (But Simple) Touches

Every host has their go-to tricks for a well-thrown party. But Thanksgiving is no ordinary party, you’ll be far busier than usual. The solution? Finding time-efficient touches that look thoughtful but don’t require a lot of legwork. One example would be a welcome cocktail. Instead of crafting a complicated drink that will eat up time, grab a bottle of white port and tonic and toss a sprig of rosemary inside for a unique—but effortless—sip.

Make a Stylish Plan For Leftovers

We all know one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the plate of leftovers the next day. If you’re hosting the holiday, your guests might lament missing out on this time-honored tradition. Surprise them with stylishly-assembled leftover turkey and mashed potatoes, complete with Tupperware and a decorated paper bag with their name on it.

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