A Season to Gather and Give Thanks

November 01, 2022

A Season to Gather and Give Thanks

 As time goes by, we’ve learned to savor the small moments, especially as we prepare for the holidays. Join us in approaching this season with gratitude and simplicity in mind. Slow the pace down and step back from all the hustle and bustle—enjoy the season your way! Gather with family and friends, celebrate traditions rooted in love and togetherness and fill your surroundings with all the beautiful greenery, ornaments, and sentiments that make you feel at home. Our hope this month is to inspire you to find your joy in giving and celebrating the sparkle of the festive season with grateful hearts.


As you start planning for upcoming celebrations, try to keep a grounded perspective by prioritizing what makes you and your family truly happy and relaxed when you're together. At plj we love to set a tone of simplicity with a neutral palette gracing our home, and tabletops adorned with fresh scented greens and garlands. We keep our holiday table full and centered on gratitude for the moment by picking seasonal flowers for arrangements and preparing flavorful dishes that celebrate fall’s bounty. Enjoy the coziness in these moments—focus on joy, love, and the spirit of togetherness. Because the heart of the holiday season lies in the connections, traditions and love we celebrate together.


November is the time of year we tend to really notice a change in the seasons, with October’s crisp fall flair giving way to the onset of proper cold weather in so many places. With those chilly temperatures outside we long to create extra warmth inside, looking forward to sharing that coziness with loved ones and friends.   And at partager la joie we’re forever in love with Thanksgiving for the way it gives us occasion to pause, gather and reconnect with family and friends, and relish time together over a much-anticipated meal. It’s a moment where we can express our gratitude by giving the gift of ourselves. 


Look at it as a celebration to set the tone for the rest of your festive season—make midwinter sparkle no matter your beliefs and which holidays you observe. It's a time to come together and express love and hope while making joyous memories we’ll hold dear in our hearts for years to come.


Hosting the Holidays 

Now, hosting any gathering involves organization and planning, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been doing it for years. And let’s be honest: planning and hosting an elaborate gathering can be overwhelming! At partager la joie, our mantra is, “It’s all about the joy,” and our goal is to provide inspiration and show you an approach that will transform both the planning process and these special days into joyful experiences for you as the host—and of course, all those who gather around you to share that joy. 


We’ve created a holiday hosting strategy checklist (to carry you from Thanksgiving right through the New Year ) but before we get into the details, we’re going to give you our bottom line, biggest-picture words of advice for navigating your end-of-year hosting plans:

  • First and foremost, relax, envision your gathering, and then implement your design plan. Remember, elegance can be simple, and it's not about perfection—it's about gathering with those you love and celebrating your gratitude for that connection. If you’re a happy host, everyone will naturally share and bask in that feeling. The key to keeping your own stress low and enjoyment high during the event is to take the time beforehand to plan the details
  • And just as importantly—enlist help if you need it. I’ll let you in on a secret—let go of the idea of doing everything yourself and embrace strategic outsourcing. For Thanksgiving, that might mean planning a pre-holiday pie making day with friends, letting a family bring their favorite side, or ordering some of the basics from a local market or homestyle catering business so you have more time to put your design into the details of the day.
  • Be open to new traditions as well, as life evolves! This year we’ll be taking our strategic outsourcing to new heights as we plan a gathering in Switzerland. Putting family first this year will require a bit of travel on our end to gather our party of four—and we’re thrilled about it. Stay tuned to share this adventure with us on IG.

Hosting is All in the Details—and Here’s How We Do It!

  • Brainstorm a big-picture game plan — Make some notes on how you’d like your gathering to look and feel, whether it is one dinner or a weekend with guests, and then create a timeline for how you’d like it to unfold. Make a mood board if that helps get your organizational creativity flowing! Who is coming? How would you like your table to look? What will your menu be? Is there a theme you’d like to weave through the elements of this gathering? How would you like the gathering to progress? Outlining an overview before you make detailed plans helps you create a gathering that will suit your personal style. 
  • Plan the details — Think about the last time you attended a gathering that you really enjoyed. What made it so special? A welcoming vibe, making connections, spending time with family and friends? You also may remember a delicious meal, a fantastic cocktail, a beautifully set table, exquisite flowers, and a warm and inviting home. While some of these elements may have fallen into place spontaneously, more than likely there was careful attention to detail behind it all. This part may feel a little tedious, but if you work through the planning process and pay attention to detail ahead of time, it soon becomes second nature. Once design planning is in place, hosting is as simple as putting your best foot forward and welcoming the spontaneity of shared enjoyment with your guests.
  • Divide your plan into sections — Once your timeline is clear, block out your event into spatial sections (living space, dining area, guest room, outdoor space, etc.) according to time segments for a clear overview of how your gathering will unfold. If you will be hosting overnight, consider breakfast, brunch, and any indoor or outdoor activities you think your group will enjoy.
    • Get nitty-gritty with the logistics — Here’s where you take a deep-dive into the details. For maximum enjoyment of a day of entertaining that’s tailor-made to fit your style and minimize holiday stress, create checklists for:
      • Shopping — Consider your guest list. Are there any special dietary needs or restrictions to keep in mind? When will you shop? 
      • Food prep — What can you make or prep ahead? When will you do this advance prep? Who will help you? What must be done on the day of, or even immediately before serving? If your prep planning is strong, you’ll spend more of the day itself enjoying your guests and the meal. 
      • Cooking —  Coordinating day of prep and cooking times lets you maximize your kitchen’s potential and minimize your game-day stress. This stage of planning will also help you work out potential logistics problems ahead of time!
      • Serving — When will you set the table? What are your seating solutions and layout for the number of guests you’ve invited? List table setting items and serving dishes you’ll need and brainstorm table design and flowers. Outline how your meal will progress: courses, buffet, plated dinner, or family style? Will you begin with hors d'oeuvres or an apéro? Are you serving soup or another sort of entrée? Will dessert, coffee, and digestives happen at the table or later in front of the fire? (Pro tip—start out with a holiday craft cocktail like our Cranberry Prosecco or an Aperol Spritz! Simply prepare a festive tray, fill your stem glasses, and greet loved ones with a bubbly welcome toast.)


  • Overnight guests — Create an inviting, cozy, and restful space your guests can easily make their own. Set the tone with fresh linens, an extra blanket, a small votive of flowers on the nightstand, a pitcher of water, and a drinking glass. Prepare a basket with the necessary essentials for a pleasant, pampered stay, including extra towels and travel-sized toiletries. Small, personalized touches like a welcome gift or curated reading material can go a long way toward making your guest feel welcome and loved. 

  • Give, Gather, and Graze


    We’ve collected both tried-and-true standbys and new faves for your holiday menu planning. There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for festive showstoppers, table-brightening sides, brunch comfort, or seasonal sips and sweets. 


    Cinnamon Rolls

    Overnight French Toast Bake

    Belgian Waffles 

    Quiche Lorraine

    Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

    Fall Salad- Kale Quinoa with Lemon Dressing

    Apple Cinnamon Baked Brie

    Brown Butter Brussel Sprout Pasta

    Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

    Apple Cider Sangria 

    Classic Chicken Soup

    Simple Herb Stuffing 

    Apple Strudel

    Pumpkin Roll Cake


    Traditions for Gathering in Gratitude


    A Gratitude Tree — This tradition is a lovely way to bring the spirit of giving to your table this season of thanks for families and friends of all ages. A simple bough or a twig tree centerpiece in your kitchen or gathering space for guests to hang decorative paper tags or handmade ornaments expressing things they’re grateful for. 


    Seasonal Giving — Prioritize the “giving” in Thanksgiving by choosing a local charity as a family—a food pantry, shelter, soup kitchen, etc and find a meaningful way to contribute or make a gift. Traditions like this give us the opportunity to express the spirit of giving and gratitude beyond Thanksgiving day and encourage each of us to grow our giving hearts.


    Cuddle up for a Fireside Night at Home — Nothing says holiday time like a family movie night (be it a nostalgic classic or the latest episode of your family’s favorite new series), a game night, or simply relaxing by a fire with the loved ones. See our epicure for recipes on making mini pizzas and customizing your popcorn—perfect complements for the kind of evening that can easily become your family’s favorite tradition!


    Serenity at Home


    Gather Around — Creating a sense of warmth and comfort in your home will make everyone feel welcome. Keep a basket of cozy slippers or woven socks by your entry door as temperatures drop outside. Where do you love to gather at this time of year? Filling your living spaces with luxurious throws blankets and earthy scented candles will encourage your guests and your family to enjoy the ambience of a cozy fire. Don’t forget about your outdoor spaces! Fill outdoor urns with tiny pines or cypress trees. Add candles, lamps, and simple strings of lights to add both light and cheer. Remember, a few go a long way, and nothing can compete with a breathtakingly clear winter sky. 

     Styling a Fall Charcuterie/Cheese Grazing Board — Serving family-style bites is part of our holiday agenda! On a large round or rectangular wooden board, tray, or basket lined with parchment, arrange a selection of cheeses—sliced and arrayed, cubed, or whole. We love to place a baked brie in the center of our board, topped with a garnish of choice (see our apple cinnamon baked brie recipe). Display meats shaped into rosettes. Add white ceramic ramekins filled with honey, jams, soft cheeses, hummus, nuts, chutneys, olives, and dips. Arrange seasonal and/or dried fruits: grapes, figs, sliced pear and apple, and dried apricots or dates. Fill in the grazing board with crackers, crisps, and mini toasts and whatever cheese knives, forks, toothpicks, or serving utensils are needed.


    Setting the Table for Thanksgiving — Start with natural elements like branches, sprigs of greens and keep arrangements simple—an array of branches on a buffet and low-profile florals or mini potted trees along the center of the table. (We’re feeling inspired by the clean, crisp shapes of magnolia and eucalyptus leaves this season!) Then layer texture and color with a variety of tableware, such as Belgian linen napkins folded or tied in a knot, olive wood serving boards and woven table accents, and plenty of candles in various heights set on a simple, neutral color palette. Accessorize with a touch of personalization—a handwritten card, mini pumpkins or gourds, a sprig of rosemary, or a personalized souvenir at each place-setting. If your gathering includes young children, a small toy or turkey-shaped sugar cookie is sure to be met with delight!

    Surrender to Seasonal Wellness 


    With temperatures getting colder and our inclination, however well-intentioned, to get lost in a frenzy of holiday excitement, we tend to run ourselves down. Now is the time to put wellness front and center. Keep gatherings simple and focused on being together, and plan ahead to avoid exhausting yourself. Outside of those joyous moments of holiday indulgence (which we all love!) prepare healthy meals, schedule downtime for you and your family, and get plenty of rest and quality sleep. Rejuvenate and enjoy this time—seasonal transitions are about creating loving moments that bring joy to cherish with those who matter most.

    Get the Holiday Look


    It’s gifting season! We’re so excited to share our holiday finds with you. We’ve got your festive season travel plans covered in comfort with our organic cotton travel collection, and we’re well-stocked with cozy loungewear and chic new accessories. Our beautiful accents for your gathering table are in our timeless home collection—and classic favorites for your hosting needs all year round. Browse our wellness essentials for something to lavish on your loved ones—or yourself—and if you’re looking for a touch of personalized curation, reach out to us! We’d love to assist in creating a customized gift selection for you. 

    Thanks / Giving


    Grateful hearts have an endless reach, and this is the season to let yours shine. It's important to remember that the holiday season can be a challenging time for anyone already feeling lonely or grieving a loss. Reach out, in your own way, and remember that even small gestures of kindness can be so meaningful, and that sharing your own joy can make a huge impact in the lives of others. Go ahead, brighten someone’s day! Extend a dinner invitation, make time for coffee or a stroll with a friend, or volunteer to shop for your local food bank or organize a drive that will bring smiles to those in need.  Remember our mantra from a few months ago: we can only be good humans together.  


    With your heart wide open in both thanks and giving, make the most of the time you have together with the ones you love as you prepare November gatherings grounded in love and gratitude. We all know that time doesn’t stop or even slow down, but sharing joyous family traditions lets us gather years and generations together. Taking the time now to be present and grateful for this moment will fill your heart with joy this Thanksgiving and for many years to come.


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