Thanksgiving, our most traditional holiday, is being celebrated in old ways and new. Some of us wouldn’t change a thing, such as the way mom cooked and served. And some want to add a new tradition or even make some exciting departures. You might be having your own discussion as to whether you should brine the turkey from that new recipe you just found, or roast it long and lovingly in the oven with cornbread, sausage, and apple stuffing as in years past. In either case, here are some ways to enjoy this holiday around the dining room table while making everyone feel at home:
1) Keeping Traditions: My friend Ann makes a terrific spinach casserole that has been a part of her family’s Iowa Thanksgiving dinner for generations. Now Ann lives in a high-rise apartment in Manhattan, still serving that special dish and making guests feel welcomed–which means utilizing every square inch of serving space. The perfect solution is Hooker Furniture’s Ebony and Drift Sanctuary credenza that features both tradition and contemporary elegance. Three drawers make it convenient to store flatware and napkins–and the shelves below can be adjusted for wine storage.
Ahead of time, Ann figures out just how many side dishes she’ll serve and where they will be placed–and she also accounts for the favorites that several guests will bring. (Having all the recipes ready to hand out to guests is a special treat.) When the dishes come out of the oven or through the door, they take their place for folks to happily file by, thankful for a thoughtful and organized host.
2) A First Thanksgiving: A new home, perhaps a recent marriage, and the family will be coming to your house for the first time. It’s the perfect time to break with some of the past celebrations. Hooker’s Harbour Pointe buffet will make everyone feel at home with its refreshing historic charm, reminding perhaps of new beginnings like that first Thanksgiving Day along the Massachusetts shore.
Today’s dining room revelers are more health conscious than they may have been in Gram’s day–so maybe poached apples will be added to the traditional dessert menu of pumpkin pie and whipped cream. After the main meal has been enjoyed, and a little time has passed (with a home and garden tour?) desserts and beverages will beckon guests back to the buffet–laden with choices for every taste.
3) An Orphan’s Thanksgiving: So many of us have reasons we can’t get home for the holiday and are thrilled to be part of a Thanksgiving with folks just like us as guests. It means everyone pitches in with bringing the fresh baked organic bread, wine, casseroles, and dessert. The host is generally ready with turkey, stuffing, and gravy–although help ahead of time is greatly appreciated and lots of fun.
4) A Cozy Thanksgiving: We always think of big gatherings at this time of year, but for some small families, the holiday is simply a lovely, homey time with peace, quiet, and an elegant simple meal. Instead of a whole turkey, a smoked turkey breast is a good choice. It provides plenty of meat for dinner and those delightful leftovers like sandwiches with cranberry relish, but it’s not overwhelming. Hooker Furniture’s Mélange architectural writing desk, though not conventional dining room furniture, is the surprising place for the host to put on the fixings of a dinner that will make new friends in more ways than one. A holiday fulfilling in every way.
5) A Thanksgiving Project: A friend of mine starts a knitted scarf, having lots of odds and ends yarn gathered from other projects. She invites Thanksgiving guests to knit a few rows as the afternoon goes on. Some knitters (men and boys included) really go to it, some learn to knit a stitch or two, and others just enjoy watching an old-fashioned tradition in progress. If the scarf gets finished, that’s fine. If not, the hostess finishes and donates it to an appropriate home in honor of a wonderful holiday.
Is there a Thanksgiving project or tradition, you’d like to start? Please share! Happy Thanksgiving!