Everything you need to host your family’s first Thanksgiving at home

Korin Miller
·5 min read
Family With Grandparents Enjoying Thanksgiving Meal At Table
Celebrating Thanksgiving at your home allows you to do whatever you want with the food. You can cook holiday comfort foods or even order in. (Photo: Getty)

It’s no secret that Thanksgiving might look a little different this year. Public health officials are urging people to spend the holiday with just members of their own household and, with that, you may end up hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner.

Intimidated at the idea of taking on Thanksgiving hosting duties? Don’t be. You’ve got this with a little help from expert event planners.

“You still want to make it feel like the holiday season, but you can make it your own,” celebrity event planner and interior designer Courtney Ajinça tells Yahoo Life. “You can go as big or as small as you want,” Marcy Blum, renowned event planner and author, agrees. “You want your home to feel welcoming and festive,” she says. “Even if this year the holiday is smaller and there is social distancing, it's still a celebration.”

Ajinça points out that celebrating the holiday at your home allows you to do whatever you want with the food. You can cook holiday comfort foods or even order in. And, she says, you can really shine with the decorations.

“Try to make it feel as holiday-ish as possible with the décor,” says Ajinça. That can include having shades of red, orange and yellow around your home, Thanksgiving-themed napkins and a pretty table runner. Charger plates, themed napkin rings and personalized table place cards can also ramp up your table decor, says Ajinça. “Really, anything that makes it clear that this is not just another day at your house is great.”

Keep this in mind too, per Blum: “Candles are by far the most bang for the buck.” If you have small children or pets, the professional suggests using flameless candles.

A table arrangement is a great way to perk up your dining area, but Blum recommends opting for “a lot of smaller items down the length of the table” versus a large centerpiece, which can be tough to talk over. Instead, Blum says, “things like baby pumpkins, gourds, shafts of wheat and crab apples all laid out on a pretty runner down the center” can be a nice option.

Sad about spending the holiday socially distanced from your extended family? Ajinça suggests sending a floral arrangement to help make everyone everyone’s day feel a little brighter. “Have flowers delivered for their table,” she explains. “You can be there in spirit, even when you can’t physically be there.”

Here are a few tools to help you be the hostess with the mostess for your first Thanksgiving at home based on expert advice.

Don’t have enough plates and bowls to cover everything you’re planning to dish out? This pretty set is polished without being too matchy-matchy. It also has four of everything — small and large plates, bowls and mugs — to help hold all that delicious food.

Subtle but oh-so-festive, this leaf-print table runner effortlessly mixes in the colors of the season. Made of burlap with a frayed border, the runner adds texture to your table. A nice perk: You can spot clean it in case of spills.

Who said the holidays have to be serious? Inject a little humor into your table decor with these gold-plated turkey place card holders. Kids and adults will get a kick out of them.

If turkey is on the menu, you’re going to want to cook it right. That’s where this roasting pan comes into play. The nonstick hard anodized roaster and rack lets you cook up a juicy bird with minimal stress.

Blum recommends having “lots of extra glassware” handy. After all, you may decide to do a signature cocktail, wine and the usual drinks — and sloshing it all into coffee mugs won’t exactly go with the vibe you’re trying to set. These cut tumblers are just the right size, whether you want to use them for mixed drinks or ice water.

Sure, you could lay out a few regular candles and call it a day. But these candles are next level — and they’ll last so much longer. The set features three 3D flameless pillar candles that are made of unscented wax for a lifelike feel. They have 600 hours of glow time per battery pair with four time settings and individual remote controls so you can help dictate the lighting from your seat.

Going for a classy, yet comfortable vibe? These reusable cloth napkins lend a down-home feel while still appearing upscale. And, while they fit into the Thanksgiving color scheme, they’re not so tied to Turkey Day that you can’t reuse them during the rest of the holiday season.

Placemats don’t have to be square. These pretty ruffled versions add a twist on the usual place setting by making your placemat a funky extension of your plate. Choose between natural, yellow, orange and maple leaf designs to make your place settings really pop.

These little beaded pumpkins are surprisingly versatile. They can easily be arranged in a glass jar, on plates or down your table runner. Display them by candlelight for a sparkly, glitzy vibe.

Add instant warmth to your home with dried stalks of wheat. Place some in flower vases for an earthy feel, and lay others across plates for a hint of homey decor. And, unlike flowers, these won’t die anytime soon.

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