Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the stuffing, the pumping pie, and the easy flow of wine into glasses that clink with the people you love. I love how the entire day is spent anticipating the time you’ll spend gathered around the table to share a meal. There’s a beautiful simplicity to Thanksgiving. It’s not about gifts or gimmicks or fancy, shiny mementos – it’s about giving thanks for what you have.
Setting the table has always been an exercise in taking action on whatever inspires me in the moment. It’s the best kind of creative expression because it’s enjoyed for one meal and then it’s dismantled and forever gone. Thanksgiving, for me, is about rustic wood tables, natural linens, unassuming centerpieces, and minimal fuss. In a word: simplicity. I save the elaborate floral arrangements and the silver for Christmas or New Year’s. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to practice “less is more”— to celebrate what you already have by highlighting what you appreciate everyday.
If this was a quick, easy meal I could just “whip up”, then it would make more sense to devote all my extra energy into creating a stunning, time-consuming tablescape. But as we all know, preparing Thanksgiving dinner is the equivalent of the SuperBowl to home cooks, and therefore I don’t really have the time or the energy to spend orchestrating complicated decorations. Although Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, being the grand master of the festivities is potentially the longest, most exhausting experience of your year if you don’t give yourself time to enjoy the process. My penchant for biting off more than I can chew has taught me this: don’t suffer unnecessarily for things that don’t matter. No one cares. Yes, it’s wonderful and right to want to make a holiday special, but what people really care about is A) the food, and B) having a good time. The host/hostess sets the tone. Thanksgiving, for many, is just about getting through an entire evening of family drama, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that if the cook is having a good time, there’s a pretty good chance that everyone else will survive the dinner unscathed.