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Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away, and it has certainly crept up on me. Did October even happen? While many of us will focus on the menu for our holiday entertaining (undoubtedly very important), I on the other hand am continuously looking for ways to spruce up my table setting and entertaining essentials. Here is my checklist for smooth holiday hosting.

1. Count your place settings

It is no secret that I have a passion for creating a beautiful tablescape. It is a natural extension of my love of design and of hosting. If you find your place settings are not enough for the amount of guests (you have settings for 8 guests, but 12 are guests coming), consider asking someone to borrow 6 of their settings. Take 6 of yours and your borrowed 6, and arrange them alternately. It will make for a visually interesting tablescape. If you have everyday plates that are a simple white, those are always a good options to mix in as well.

[image via 2 Ladies & a Chair]

2. Gather your table linens

Be sure you have cloth napkins as well as napkin rings ready to go. Remember, they do not have to be extravagant or formal. Natural linen napkins are a fail-safe choice. You can forgo the napkin ring and instead place a small gourd at each setting or other seasonally appropriate item.

[image via Dear Lillie]

3. Plan your floral arrangement

A floral arrangement at the center of the table is timeless addition to your tablescape, but there are many alternative options from using foliage and greenery, to edibles like pumpkins and berries. Don;t be afraid to get creative. A favorite source of inspiration is Casa de Perrin. They are masters at creating table runners from anything other than fabric. Their Instagram feed is a must follow (check it out here). Recently too, I was blown away by NYC designer Ashley Darryl and her use of cotton branches for the center of her table at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge event. Magnificent!

[image via Ashley Darryl]

4. Stock your bar

If you don't already have one, create a designated bar space. Pick up a small bar cart that can easily squeeze into your living room or dining space, or create a temporary solution by adding a tray to a console table. The important thing is to have all beverages in one area so guests can easily help themselves. I recommend keeping the bar area away from the cooking space, so that no one is tripping over the cook and vice versa.

tray + home bar + console table

[image via @robertbrownid]

You may find yourself getting wrapped up in wanting to serve what is considered the best pairing for your meal. My philosophy: give the people what they want! Chances are you know your guests preferences. Make sure to have a small assortment (you don't need to have every kind of wine or liquor in creation), and if you are feeling ambitious, I always like to serve a signature cocktail. Guest will be delighted to try something new and made especially for the occasion.

A favorite of mine this time of year is an apple cinnamon sangria. See the recipe here!

My Bar Checklist:

  • alcohol (obviously!)

  • wine glasses

  • low ball glasses

  • pilsner glasses

  • shaker

  • bowl of lime wedges (with mini tongs keep it sanitary)

  • ice bucket

  • cocktail napkins

  • coasters

  • bottle opener / corkscrew

[photo via Home to Love]

Finish off with a beautiful decanter and a small arrangement of florals, and you are ready to go. This chic decanter from Alchemy Fine Home is currently on my wish list.

5. Stock your powder room or hall bathroom

If you have the counter space, I like to keep a tray for paper hand towels (in this case paper is OK!). If you don't, a cloth towel is fine too, but be sure to swap out for a fresh one midway through your gathering as frequent hand drying won't give your towel enough time to dry. A damp hand towel is not the best look.

[image via Coco + Kelly]

Keep a few extra rolls of towel paper in a pretty basket and in sight. No one likes to be caught sans toilet paper, especially not in someone else's home. I also like to always keep a candle going in the bathroom when entertaining. And flowers, or greenery, never hurt either.

For more entertaining tips and inspiration, click here. Happy hosting!


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