November 10, 2020
We try to be grateful in our daily lives year-round, yet stressful and uncertain times can take their toll on our capacity to hold and express gratitude. That’s all the more reason to embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving this year, in full celebration of what’s dear to us. As the joyous gateway into the holiday season, Thanksgiving gives us occasion to pause, gather with family and friends, and relish time together over a traditional, much-anticipated meal. Whether your loved ones are all at the same table or connecting in from afar, the meaning of this special moment is to express our gratitude for each other.
When we ask our friends what their favorite holiday is, the overwhelming response is Thanksgiving! At partager la joie, we couldn’t agree more. Beyond seeing it as a beautiful reason to share a lovely meal, connect with our loved ones, and celebrate how blessed we are, we look forward to Thanksgiving as a time to express that gratitude by giving the gift of ourselves.
Let’s be honest: planning and hosting an elaborate gathering—especially one with as many expectations and emotions riding on it as Thanksgiving—can be overwhelming. At partager la joie we know this overwhelm by heart, but we’re here to tell you there’s another way. This year, dedicate November to a Thanksgiving approach that will transform both the planning process and the day itself into joyful experiences for you as the host—and of course, all those who gather around you to share that joy.
Now, hosting a Thanksgiving feast does involve organization and planning, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been doing it for years. But if your goal is to make it about spending time with loved ones, you’re already well on your way to creating a joyful gathering. So let’s keep our eyes on that goal and make your role as a host an enjoyable one. Our partager la joie mantra is “It’s all about the joy,” and we’re here to provide some inspiration on how to share the joy and be able to style a gathering that makes you (and your guests) smile!
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 the bounty of that connection. If you are 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. Just as important: enlist help if you need it. You don’t have to do everything yourself, and sharing the responsibilities and the creative organizational fun with those around you is one way of sharing joy.
Step 1: Brainstorm a broad-strokes game plan
Envision how you’d like your gathering to look and feel, whether it is one dinner or a weekend with guests, and then outline a timeline for how you’d like it to unfold. If you’re hosting dinner, for example, think about how you’d like your table to look. What will your menu be? Who will be coming? How would you like your gathering to progress? Outlining an overview before any detailed plans are made gives you time to create a gathering that will suit your style. After all, any event big or small is personal, so design it as an experience that brings you and your loved ones joy.
Step 2: Plan the details
Full disclosure here—planning and organization matter! Think about the last time you attended a gathering that you really enjoyed. What was it that made it so great? A welcoming feeling, a great connection, 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. Perhaps some of these aspects fell into place spontaneously, but more than likely there was careful planning behind it all. At partager la joie, we believe the design is in the details. Once design planning is in place, hosting is as simple as it is essential — so go ahead, put your best foot forward and welcome the spontaneity of shared enjoyment with your guests.
Step 3: Divide your plan into sections
Block out your event into spatial sections (living space, dining area, guest room—whatever spaces you plan to use) and time segments for a clear overview of your holiday plan. If you will be hosting overnight, consider breakfast, brunch, lunch, etc.
Step 4: Organize each section with specific details:
Answering all the questions above will help you devise a detailed plan that’s tailor-made to fit your entertaining style.
Making your guests feel comfortable is essential to successful hosting. Now, the reality of any well-lived home is that guest space is often multi-purpose space, but keep in mind that if your guest room is organized ahead of time to be ready to accommodate your guests, that’s less stress for you to juggle while you’re entertaining. Make a detailed game plan, just as you did for planning dinner, when outlining how you’ll accommodate overnight guests. Create a cozy, welcoming, and restful space they can easily make their own. Set the tone with fresh linens, an extra soft blanket, a small votive of flowers on the nightstand, a pitcher of water, and a drinking glass. Prepare a small basket with the necessary essentials for a pleasant, pampered stay, including extra towels and individual-sized toiletries. Personalized touches like a small gift and some curated reading material will make your guest feel welcome and loved.
Plan your menu for overnight or multi-day stays. Try our overnight French toast bake with pears or our leek and mushroom quiche for a hearty brunch. Keep things simple—our brown butter pumpkin seed granola with yogurt or that leftover pie and good coffee are the best morning-after-Thanksgiving breakfast, and a family-style lasagna with salad or an easy make-your-own taco bar are surefire crowd pleasers.
Depending on the group, organize some activities. A family run or walk is a great way to re-energize together. Plan a simple craft project for older children to do with younger siblings, play cards or a board game, watch a family-friendly movie, reminisce with old family stories while roasting chestnuts, or decorate your holiday tree or our turkey-shaped sugar cookies. Remember, it’s all about creating a relaxing and fun environment for family and friends to enjoy their time together.
Planning the details for a gathering gives everyone the opportunity to relax and enjoy the day! Guests feel welcome when the host is at ease, and everyone is grateful for gathering that’s thoughtfully organized. Just remember that it's not about perfection, but creating a moment that brings joy to you and your loved ones to cherish for years to come.
Time won’t stop—the years just go by faster—so taking the time now to be grateful for this moment will fill your heart with joy this Thanksgiving.
Need more guidance? If you're feeling even slightly overwhelmed, schedule an individual virtual Inspiration Consultation and let us assist you in planning a Thanksgiving gathering that showcases your style!
It's important to remember that the holiday season can be a difficult time for anyone already feeling lonely and isolated or grieving a loss. Reach out, in your own way, with small but meaningful gestures of kindness to express your gratitude for all you have by giving to someone else. Extend a dinner invitation, make time for coffee or a stroll with a friend who needs cheering up, or volunteer to shop for your local food bank or organize a drive that will bring smiles to those in need. Encourage your children to do the same. They can write letters, make a handcrafted gift, or arrange small flower bouquets to be given out at a local extended care center. Sharing even the smallest of joys can make a big impact, so go ahead and get creative about spreading kindness! In our fall recipes below we’ve included a number of our favorite treats to bring to someone who needs a sweet little boost of thoughtfulness.
With all of fall’s bounty at our fingertips, we’ve focused our November seasonal recipes on holiday favorites and choices that lend themselves to sharing or hosting a brunch the day after Thanksgiving!
Apple Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
Overnight French Toast Bake with Pears
Leek and Mushroom Quiche
Turkey-Shaped Sugar Cookies
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Brown Butter Pumpkin Seed Granola
Thanks be for Fall Flowers
Don’t be deceived by the fading of the year; there are an abundance of fall flower options in November! Let the deep hues of hydrangea, lilies, orange protea, hypericum berries, and various ornamentals greens set the tone for your arrangements. Create a traditional cornucopia or display an arrangement of seasonal gourds and pumpkins. One of our favorite strategies for unique elegance, especially on a longer table, is to display a collection of glass jars and vases, clear and/or amber, with a single stunning flower in each.
An Elegant Table
When setting a Thanksgiving table we like to start with one color palette and add layers of texture and color with various tableware and natural elements. We love to mix crisp Belgian linens with olive wood or woven table accents or boards (see our home collection). Think about your table center and keep arrangements simple and at a height that lets everyone see each other around the table. Depending on what mode of service you’ve chosen, leave room for serving dishes—or set a sideboard close by for service ware.
Get creative to present your turkey, wreathed in dark greens (grape leaves are great!) and garnished with cranberries, grapes, dried fruits, and other natural, seasonal elements. Always use a charger plate to anchor your place settings—that way each guest’s dinner plate has a set spot at the table, even if you’ve chosen a buffet format. If your group is large, think about making a place-card for each guest. These can be as simple as a white, handwritten card with a sprig of eucalyptus—or as elaborately fun as a small gift or a personalized cookie for each guest (see our turkey-shaped sugar cookie recipe).
Sneak a Peek at Our Holiday Gift Collection!
With gift-giving season just around the corner, we’ve been collecting a treasure trove of ideas that we’re excited about this holiday. Shop partager la joie!
Now more than ever, time with family and friends is something we can’t take for granted. Hold this gratitude for those you love and the spirit of giving at the center of your plans for November, and gifts will flow. Whether you’re planning to host on Thanksgiving day only or your guests will be staying for several days, make the most of the time you have together as you prepare a gathering grounded in love and grateful hearts.
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