(BPT) - Thanksgiving is approaching, so it’s time to start planning your holiday meal. It's also a fantastic time to gather with friends you haven’t seen in a while or who may be local but are too busy to get together regularly. Whatever your reason, make your Friendsgiving extra special this year using the following six tips.
1. Set the tone
Casual and relaxed? Fancy and formal? Whatever your style, set the tone starting with the invitation. You can send physical invitations or digital cards — make sure to include the time, location and theme if you choose to have one. You can also add instructions for how to RSVP.
Have fun with the invite and have the art or design reflect the tone of your dinner. This way, you can make sure your friends know what to expect. You don’t want them showing up in their nicest outfits if you are planning for a lowkey, cozy evening.
2. Statement decor
Use a few statement pieces to make the meal feel festive and fun. Visit your grocery store and find colorful pomegranates, gourds and fresh flowers. Or, head to your local craft shop. While you’re there, you can pick up dried flowers, ribbon and wreaths to decorate your door or common areas where everyone will congregate. For a special touch, add personalized place cards, and add candles for soft lighting.
3. Get guests involved
According to Kachet Jackson-Henderson, lifestyle expert and founder of The Kachet Life, a fashionable lifestyle brand for the modern woman, your No. 1 goal as a host is to ensure everyone is comfortable and feels involved.
“Offering a glass of wine as guests arrive is a great way to start,” said Jackson-Henderson, “then put them to work! Having a little job can make guests feel at ease. Think setting the table, arranging a bouquet of flowers or helping out in the kitchen.”
4. Prepare a menu
Plan out a menu, but don’t feel the need to make everything from scratch. You can easily pick up premade or take-and-bake items to supplement your meal. Ask guests to bring a dish or order a few favorite takeout items. You can dress them up with great serving dishes.
5. Don’t forget the drinks
As a finishing touch, think about some delicious drinks that pair with everything on the menu. Plan to have enough beverages on hand for guests to enjoy throughout your gathering, from appetizers to dessert.
“I like to keep wine on the table during a meal,” said Angelina Mondavi, consulting winemaker for Flat Top Hills and member of the fourth-generation member of the C. Mondavi family. “It feels less formal and more inviting. If you’re looking for a quintessential selection this time of the year, pick up a Pinot Noir. It’s incredibly versatile and complements a wide range of menus. Also, a rich, luscious Buttery Chardonnay is a great dessert pairing.”
To learn more about these wines and find a selection for your Friendsgiving dinner, visit FlatTopWines.com/Shop.
6. A memorable ending
A parting gift makes the meal even more memorable! Ask guests to bring food containers or buy a cheap set to send them home with leftovers. For an extra special touch, give guests a little bag of cookies or even a pastry to enjoy the next morning!
Show your friends how much you appreciate them and spend quality time with your chosen family this Thanksgiving. Using these six tips, you’ll host a Friendsgiving your guests will want to repeat year after year.