No matter my age, or life stage: the holiday season always feels magical.
Each year, I enjoy keeping holiday traditions and embracing new ones. With our baby arriving now only weeks away: we’re about to embark on an entirely new adventure — and I’m so excited that this will be our first holiday season with him.
Because Thanksgiving falls within two weeks of my due date, I’m thankful my immediate family is traveling to us in Chicago to celebrate this year. Which means: this is the first time I’m “hosting” the holiday! (With plenty of help, of course.)
With hosting in mind — and being 38 weeks pregnant — I wanted to plan ahead as much as possible. I hoped to create a setting that would feel festive for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I went with a rustic winter look that I absolutely love for the season.
I’m thrilled to be partnering with a favorite brand of mine, Crate and Barrel, to prepare for the holidays this year. The foundation of our table is the matte black Marin dinnerware, which is a beautiful natural stoneware collection with hand-antiquing and organic curves — making each piece unique.
Candlelight is a must in my book. I love these Emmett bronze taper candle holders grouped together in various heights. For some added sparkle, I placed assorted metallic gold ornaments near each place setting — along with gold flatware and brass napkin rings for each guest.
The hope is to create a warm, festive environment where everyone feels welcome and invited to linger. Our dining room opens to our formal living room, which will soon be home to our Christmas tree (!)
I’m so looking forward to cozy nights here this winter season.
If you’re hosting sometime soon, I’ve included 5 tips that were helpful to me in preparing. You can also find links to each item featured, which can be found at Crate and Barrel. I love browsing online to gather ideas, as well as visiting in store at North & Clybourn to see all the beautiful displays this time of year.
Plan Place Settings Ahead of Time
How many guests are you expecting? Plan ahead and take stock of pieces you have — and any you may be missing, need to replace, or ask to borrow. This may include plates, glasses, flatware, and linens. It’s also helpful to place each setting on the table a day (or two) prior to hosting, so it’s complete and ready!
Create a Warm Welcome
Greet guests with a warm welcome. I love the idea of displaying a large tray — whether topped with wine glasses and a carafe, or small bites and appetizers — to offer something to sip or snack on upon arrival. Also, consider a seasonal scent with by lighting a holiday candle (or filling a fragrance diffuser) to create that fuzzy, festive feeling.
Bring Decor to the Table
Look for pieces that can play double duty as decor and on a tabletop. A decorative vase is perfect for displaying faux greenery, branches, or flowers. I also love these little sculptural reindeer that can placed on a mantle or console table once dinner has finished. And for the holidays: ornaments make a special touch displayed on a table runner, or on each guest’s dinner napkin.
Add Some Sparkle
‘Tis the season! Whether it’s traditional taper candles, an oversized hurricane, or simple tea lights: candlelight is an easy element that elevates any occasion. Another idea for added sparkle is gold flatware. This 20-piece set is wonderful for less than $100 and complements the glimmer of these gold napkin rings.
Don’t Forget the Details
For Thanksgiving, I made place cards with basic black cardstock and metallic gold marker. I’ll also add fresh sprigs of sage tucked in to each guests napkin ring. (Fresh herbs smell amazing and also look festive on the table.) Lastly: consider a special playlist! I created a Thanksgiving playlist that can be played from cocktails into dinner hour — and includes a few songs that carry on to Christmas. (Scroll below for playlist…)
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Thank you Crate & Barrel for sponsoring this post!