Thanksgiving Hosting Tips

Am I the only one that can’t believe Thanksgiving is around the corner? Geesh! Where has the time gone? Luckily my wife and I are not hosting the family clan, but if we were, we would be in full prep mode with a bucket of stress. Are you in the same ship? Hopefully I can make it a little easier. Just remember the art of hosting is in the details. How many times have you heard, “It’s the little things that count.”  How true is that when hosting a holiday get together? Do not feel like you have to throw a party that gets 3,294 likes on Instagram or nifty ideas that get repined five million times. Just pay attention to the details, and your guests will feel like you spent all year putting everything together. Here we go:

Have some lively but not too loud music playing to set the mood of the party.

There are many things that help set the mood. Candles burning, scents wafting through the air, and visually stimulating décor will put your guests right at ease. Do not forget the music! Technology these days makes it so easy too! I typically turn to Pandora to give my party a variety of artists under one genre. Music is a simple way to set the tone and make a party fun.

Pepper some candles in your centerpiece.

Don't feel limited to pumpkins and gourds when picking a centerpiece for the table.

How do you dress the table is the question that follows once the menu is finalized. I think Thanksgiving is one of the easier holidays to decorate. Think of different textures and deeper colors – nothing too fussy or overdone. I love the idea of placing planks of reclaimed wood down the center of the table as a table runner with candles, wheat, fruits and vegetables from the fall harvest, and maybe a couple flowers here and there. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into just pumpkins and gourds! There are many other options.

Use a few family heirlooms on the table.

Using heirlooms will create a sense of history.

This time of the year calls for family gatherings so why not pay tribute to family members of years gone by?  Grab family heirlooms like grandpa’s basketball trophies, great grandmother’s tea cups, or aunt Gertrude’s collection of flatware to incorporate into your design. Are you like me and don’t have enough table settings for a party of 14+? No problem! Borrow coordinating settings from other guests to mix in. Layering in grandma’s china with aunt Olivia’s flatware and stemware collections from your neighbor’s European ancestors – could make for a dinner with a sense of history and great conversation starters!

The small details go a long way.

See, the small details are the ones that count and go a long way! Just think of how you layer your outfits for fall weather and how the same concept can be applied to your Thanksgiving dinner. Do a little digging or shopping for those unexpected pieces that will make your gathering a little unexpected, a little more cozy, and a greater sense of heritage.

matt | alice lane home collection

[photos from Decoist, Santa Barbara Chic, and Gourmande in the Kitchen]

Holly A.’s Pick

By a raise of hands, who has ever used a salt cellar?  And why not?  Here’s a little fact: Use of salt cellars are documented as early as classical Rome.  They were used up through the first half of the 20th century, but have been primarily replaced by salt shakers at the introduction of free-flowing salt in 1911.  As far as I’m concerned, salt shakers owe us an apology.  Look at what we’ve been missing out on all these years:

Salt cellars make the perfect addition to a holiday table.

What if this year for our holiday feasting we uninvited salt shakers and gave these beauties a chance?  “How classy”, your great-aunt might remark, “where on earth did you find something so rare and collectible?”  To which you might respond, “I found it at Alice Lane.  That’s where.”

Salt cellars make a charming gift.

Add a touch of history to your table this season and win over Great-Aunt Gloria with a salt cellar or two.  They can be found and both Alice Lane locations.  You’re welcome.

holly a. | alice lane home collection

Guests are coming!

The holidays are almost here and it’s time to start preparing for your house guests. Here’s a list of my favorite tips for outfitting your guest room and making sure your loved ones feel comfortable and welcome.

Prepare your guest's bed with fresh linens and leave a few extra layers in case they get cold!

THE BED The ideal guest bed has several layers to help your guest sleep at the perfect temperature. Use cotton or linen sheets, a warm coverlet, and a fluffy duvet. Make sure to tighten up the bedding with hospital corners, like mama taught you. Turn down the sheets to make the bed inviting and provide a stack of extra pillows and blankets.

Nightstands should be accessorized with a good reading lamp and an alarm clock.

THE NIGHTSTAND When outfitting the nightstands make sure they have the following: an alarm clock, fresh water in a carafe, a bud vase with a few blooms, and a selection of magazines. You get extra credit by topping it off with the guest’s favorite treat. A few luxuries go a long way in impressing your visitors.

Leave a stack of fresh towels and toiletries for your guest.

THE BATHROOM Stock the guest bathroom with a stack of clean towels, extra toiletries (someone always seems to forget a toothbrush), a fluffy robe, and a lovely scented candle. Tuck in your favorite lotions and soaps to give it that last personal touch.

kristina | alice lane home collection

Michelle’s Pick

These cutting boards make the perfect hosting gift.

We are in the thick of a home remodel.  It is an experience that solicits a basketful of emotions.  One day I’m over the moon about crisp white baseboards and the next I’m in the depths of despair because the bathroom hardware is stuck somewhere between here and there.  Most days, the only things that get me through the remodeling crazy are a cold soda and a Norman Rockwell inspired vision of those I love gathered in our new home feeling and experiencing the holiday spirit.  Just as soon as the dust settles and the finishing touches are placed, I’m pulling out my beautiful cutting boards for a housewarming party to rival all holiday parties.  Wood trivets and cutting boards laid casually on a dining table or kitchen island are one of my entertaining tricks.  Loaded with beautiful breads, cheeses, nuts and fruits, every party guest is sure to leave feeling satisfied and asking where you picked up those natural beauties.

Cutting boards—Priced from $64-174

michelle j | alice lane home collection

For Your Fete de Noel

As you may have noticed, around these parts we like to celebrate. Is somebody running their first marathon? We’ll make tee shirts. Did your kid loose another tooth? Let’s all have cookies. So just imagine what the holiday season does to our party throwing souls. For those of you nearby, we hope you enjoyed our recent holiday events. (We loved seeing you! Weren’t those ginger cookies delicious?)

And for those of you both near and far, we pulled together a few quick tips to take any of your upcoming fete from fun to unforgettably festive.

Setting the mood with lighting is an easy and effective way to  set your party up for success.

SET THE MOOD Just as we frequently discuss when designing a room, one trick that will set your party up for success is lighting. The pros know that soft lighting is the ultimate goal, creating a relaxed atmosphere and a slight air of mystery. We’re not asking you to serve your guests in the dark, but try turning off overhead lights (or at least turn down the dimmer!) and utilize table lamps and, of course, candles. Holiday parties have the added benefit of twinkle lights, which have a reputation for being an automatic mood setter!

Pick a few statement making touches for your party and let those make the impact.

MAKE IT EASY Many times the Achilles heel of a good party starts with an over complicated plan. Choose a unifying theme for the décor and then examine whether each piece you want to bring in enhances that theme, or is just excess. Let a few statement making touches have a bigger impact, rather than feeling like every surface of your home needs to be decked out. Use a similar mindset when planning the menu: one extravagant, crowd pleasing dish, and then let the sides play second fiddle.

ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES, AND LET THE PUNCH ROLL For our final bit of advice, we borrowed a story from a decorating and entertaining hero, the magician Miles Redd. “It was springtime in New York and we were so excited for some nice weather, and we had set up this beautiful table outside,” says Miles. “I had gone upstairs to take a shower and within minutes it turned into thunderous storms. So the only other place I can host a large group is in my bathroom. We just moved everything upstairs.”

The most memorable parties always involve a certain degree of spontaneity.

While most people would be mortified to host guests in their bathroom, we admire the spirit of Miles’ story – sometimes even the best laid plans get thrown awry, but why should that ruin the party? A good hostess has the ability to be flexible, and to lead the mood of an event with their own attitude. Approach obstacles with light heartedness, and remember the unexpected moments sometimes create the best memories.

kathryn | alice lane home collection

[photos from Eddie Ross, Lonny Mag, Lifestyle Mirror]

Our Salt Lake Holiday Event is Tonight!

Our holiday event in Salt Lake City is tonight!

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