By Stefanie Michaels
I come from a large Italian family. My grandmother on my Mom’s side was one of 11 children. So, imagine the holidays growing up with all those great aunts and uncles, their spouses, children, their spouses, plus their children. It wasn’t unheard of to have at least 60 people converging around the food table for a holiday dinner, sometimes brunch.
My family instilled in me that family friends are just as important as family and should always be included when holidays come around. So, add in our family friends to any occasion, and the vibe was more party and celebration than just a sit-down meal.
I now carry on this tradition for Friendsgiving, inviting friends who can’t get home to spend it with their relatives or prefer to celebrate with my husband and me.
Let me note that I can’t cook. No one who knows me and my non-cooking prowess want me to cook. So, one of two things happens for the meal. Either we order it from Whole Foods or, for the past few years, one of our friends makes the dinner. One more thing to be thankful for!
Each year, I try and theme the table, considering how many people I’m hosting and how much clean-up on the backend I will have.
This year’s theme was spawned from a faux pumpkin with decorative feathers on top around the stem. I had run to Marshall’s to see what I could find, and my holiday decor was wrapped up in this one solo item.
I also found synthetic fur table runners and only two placemats that matched. That’s ok. I knew I could add them at the table ends. Perfect for adding a touch of texture.
TIP: It’s ok to mix and match items and add layers to the table’s centerpiece. I keep things low enough to see the other guests around the table. Anything taller gets removed at dining time.
The other items I found that fit my glam-farmhouse style were a variety of textured pumpkins, lanterns, wood beads with tassels, tree trim, wheat stems, and gold-colored wine glasses. I added my turkey salt and pepper shakers, leaf plate, and water pitchers.
Each holiday, I make sure guests leave with a bit of memory. The small pumpkins I hand made, using leftover material I had saved from another project and feathers from a pillow that my dogs had destroyed. I carefully washed and dried them for sanitary purposes. These were gifts my guests could take away.