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Gathering with Friends and Family for Thanksgiving

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or an entire holiday-weekend event, there’s plenty to accomplish so your friends and family feel welcome and loved. At Pottery Barn, we thrive on creating warm and inviting environments. That’s why we want to give you some tips on hosting your perfect Thanksgiving weekend and dinner. Here’s how to create even more cherished memories this Thanksgiving as you gather together.


Settle In


If you’re hosting family and friends for the weekend, help everyone comfortably settle into their quarters. One of the most enjoyable parts of getting your home ready for guests is decorating and freshening up the guest rooms. These are places for recuperating after a tasty meal. They’re also spots to find some quiet, cozy time in a crowded home.

Create an inviting guest room with bedding. Provide blankets of varying weights to make sure guests can create the right levels of warmth in their beds. Include a bath towel per person per day in the bathroom. Treat guests to ear plugs, eye masks and ultrasonic oil diffusers or gentle white noise machines to make it easier to sleep away from home. Provide a few books, magazines and a USB charger on the nightstand.


Slow Down


Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where it’s completely okay to unplug. Feel free to stop rushing around and reconnect with friends and family. Thorough planning before the event helps you to dial it down. That way, you can enjoy everyone’s company, too.

In between eating and talking, consider playing games as a way to bond. Whether it’s kids versus grandparents or cousins versus friends, let the games begin! Set up a game table with cards and board games in a corner of your home. Include games for a wide range of ages.


Cook Together


One way to stay relaxed is to cook together or delegate dishes to various guests. Ask family and guests to prepare something that’s part of their heritage or a traditional dish from their country of origin. There’s plenty of ways to involve others. If you have a budding sommelier in the house, ask them to pair wines with Thanksgiving dinner dishes.

Plan ahead what guests can prepare on the day before or the day of the dinner, such as prepping the bird or making their famous fresh stuffing. If kids are involved, give them salads to shred, cookie dough to roll out and cut or easy mixes to bake. Leave the delicate or complex recipes to others who find joy in those preparation tasks. You can always have kids serve the dessert, too. If you have a guest who isn’t a cook, have them gather and organize all the turkey serveware and place settings.


Set the Table


The communal Thanksgiving table, with the turkey in the middle, is one of the main events. Make it even more fun by choosing a special style for your table. Because there are so many beautiful ways to design your Thanksgiving table, find your favorite style and stick with it to streamline the process.

To narrow it down a bit, consider a themed tabletop style, such as al fresco, rustic, elegant or traditional. Each style has its own distinctive flair. Al fresco tablescapes focus on the beauty of nature. Bring in seasonal greenery for verdant texture. Rustic tabletops emphasize natural materials and colors – use a burlap table runner, wood-slice placemats and brass candlesticks to get started. Elegant Thanksgiving tables are more like formal dinners with lots of metallics, from the serveware to the tablecloth. If you’re a traditional type, your Thanksgiving table can welcome in all the classic trimmings and colors of the seasons with festive plaid accents.


Make Memories


Besides the traditional Thanksgiving activity of going around the table asking everyone what they’re thankful for, why not change it up a little to make even more meaningful memories? Take a nature walk before or after dinner or between dinner and dessert with a group of family and friends. While at dinner, ask everyone to raise their glasses and give toasts. Let kids perform skits and have everyone tell funny stories. Grab a tablet or smartphone, gather around and coordinate meals on video chat with others who are far away. Virtually visiting one another creates a sense of togetherness. Remember loved ones who’ve passed and who’re missing from the celebration by creating a simple, lovely ritual by which to remember them. Whether it’s lighting a candle for each person or telling a story about them, it’s a soulful way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is all about togetherness. Bring your family and friends even closer by using these tips for creating your best gathering yet.