How to Host a Friendsgiving

What’s better than Thanksgiving dinner? How about two Thanksgiving dinners!! Family gatherings are important and traditional, but a growing trend is hosting a Friendsgiving, a special Thanksgiving-style dinner with your favorite friends. Hold it before Thanksgiving to create a trial run for the big day, or after to make the most of leftovers or serve something completely different. Here are some things to consider before hosting your Friendsgiving:

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Consider potluck

Friendsgiving is the perfect time to hold a potluck, making it easier than Thanksgiving because no one person will be in charge of the entire meal. Assign specific dishes or a category, such as veggies or dessert. Or be bold and enjoy whatever dishes show up in hand.

Set a theme

Another dinner-planning idea is to choose a theme and have guests bring something that fits. For example, set a theme of Italian, Chinese farm-to-table or even deep-fried. This could be a nice break from your Thanksgiving leftovers.

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Think about drinks

If you are serving alcohol, plan how you’ll stock your bar. You can make it easy and serve just wine or beer. Or create a special cocktail for the day, such as a special martini or mixed drinks. Or set out what guests will need for the most common drinks.

Make sure to accommodate special diets

Check in with friends and see if anyone has food allergies or intolerances, or follows a special diet, such as vegan or Paleo. Then make sure you have enough on your menu to fill them up.

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Decide if you want a special décor

Thanksgiving dinner usually includes a special holiday tablescape with a centerpiece, place settings, napkins and place cards. Friendsgiving, however, can be as festive or casual as you wish.

Do you hold Friendsgiving? Share you favorite tips in the comments below!

Find the Dining Room that Matches Your Entertaining Style

The holiday season can also be called the dining room season. Whether you invited your large family or a small gathering of friends, it’s the time of year to celebrate with loved ones and that often involves bringing people together over food. So is your dining room ready? And does it fit your personality? Your dining room should be a reflection of your entertaining style, and the pieces you’ll need are dictated by your personality.

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The Socialite

Do you love large parties with dozens of guests, mingling and chatting with Michael Buble’s Christmas CD playing in the background? Look for a chic dining room table that will accommodate intimate gatherings, such as the NB2 Modern Dining Collection that has features clean lines and a sleek grey finish. A buffet is a must, offering a spot for appetizers and drinks. A bistro or gathering height table in your kitchen is also a great addition, since that’s often where people tend to gather.

 

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The Matriarch

Do you relish hosting your extended family once or twice a year for a traditional-style holiday feast? If so, you’ll want special pieces in an elegant style worthy of your semiannual affair. You’ll need a dining room table with a leaf (or two). A formal china cabinet or sideboard will also fit the bill. And consider a table protector to guard your investment, especially if you have small children in attendance. Consider the Infinity Dining Room Collection. The cherry finish is rich and inviting, while the leaf expands the table to 96”. You’ll love using the matching buffet for displaying prized accents or tempting dinner guests with dessert.

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The Laidback Hostess

Do you combine your everyday eating area with the space in which you entertain? If so, you’ll need a causal yet transitional dining set that would be as much at home during Saturday morning Cheerios with your kids as it would be on Christmas Day sharing a standing rib roast with your in-laws. Sturdiness, comfort and function are key for your entertaining style, so look for a table and chairs that are sold enough for daily use yet beautiful enough for showing off. The Sterling Collection from Gascho is handsome enough for company and sturdy enough for daily use. It’s an excellent example of solid wood construction, utilizing the finest selections of solid maple. An investment in Gascho is an investment in a family heirloom. You’ll love this piece for years.

 

The Art of Living: Hosting Brunch

Photo credit: Pinterest/BestFriendsForFrosting

Want to spoil Mom for Mother’s Day. Host a brunch. Brunch combines the best of all meals: You get to enjoy breakfast favorites like eggs and French toast and lunch favorites like savory breads and charcuterie. Toast her with a delicious “mom-osa,” and finish the meal with an indulgent dessert. What’s not to love?

Making brunch reservations at your favorite restaurant is easy and fun, but inviting your family to brunch at your home is an even better way to linger over conversation. Enjoy the Art of Living with these six tips for hosting brunch:

Ask For Help

Coordinate the meal by asking friends and family members to bring a dish. Those who love to cook can bring an entrée while others can pick up croissants or fresh fruit.

Keep The Brunch Menu Simple

Scrambled eggs are quicker and easier than individual omelets. Better yet, choose foods that can be made ahead of time and reheated, such as quiche or baked French toast.

Photo credit: Pinterest/FoodNetwork
Have One Main Course

While restaurant brunches have buffets that go on forever, at home limit the choices. The star of the show can be a spiral ham or tenderloin. (Here’s a great recipe from the Food Network.) Then add dishes by using a combination of savory and sweet, such as coffee cakes, fruit and herbed breads. Brunch is all about lingering over food, not being a slave to the kitchen.

Keep Place Settings Simple

If your garden has anything in bloom, cut springs and place one at each setting in a small bottle or glass. Brunch isn’t fussy; it’s casual and fun.

Set Up the Bar 

Mimosas and Bloody Marys are brunch favorites and guests can serve themselves. Set up pitchers of orange and tomato juice near chilled bottles of champagne and vodka. Add garnishes such as orange slices and olives, and you’re ready to go.

Don’t Forget Caffeine 

Get out your coffee maker and brew a pot before your guests arrive. Put out cream, sugar and mugs and let everyone help themselves. Prepare your coffee and filters ahead of time so you’re able to quickly replenish with another pot. Or you can always pick up a carryout container from your favorite coffee shop.

 

Mom is sure to feel special, especially when you do the cooking and clean up!

 

How to Choose the Perfect Media Center

The focal point in most family rooms is the television. It’s got everyone’s attention when you enjoy a movie, cheer on your team or watch the news. While you’ve probably spent a lot of time choosing the right TV, what you put it on is just as important.

A media center provides a frame for your viewing, and it helps you keep all of your components organized and operating. Before you choose yours, consider these three elements to make sure you get exactly what you need:

Size. The first thing to consider is the best size. This will be determined by the size of your television and the size of your room. Start by measuring your TV; you want to be sure it will fit. If your media center is too large, your TV will look tiny, and if your media center is too small, the TV will make it seem out of place. For wall units that surround your television, measure the width, height, and depth of your TV, then bring this information to the showroom with you.

Also measure the wall space you have. If your room is large, you may want to choose a wall unit that includes storage towers on either side that can hold decorative accessories. Or fill the wall by using two or more consoles side by side. If your room is small, a console that is just a little wider than your television will provide a nice sense of scale. Or consider a corner unit to take advantage of space. Make sure when you measure that you can fit your media center in a spot that doesn’t block heating vents or windows.

Storage. Media centers are designed to hold your television and components, organizing cords and keeping everything accessible. When choosing a media center, determine what electronics you need to store. Maybe you have just a TV and cable box? Perhaps you have a stereo system you want to contain? Or maybe you have it all, from TV to DVR, video game consoles, DVDs, CDs and controllers? By tallying up everything you want to hold, you’ll be able to quickly narrow down your best options. This will also help you decide if open shelving is sufficient or if you need cabinet doors that can close and hide things away.

 

Style. Media centers come in every variety of home décor. From traditional to contemporary, urban and casual, you’re sure to find a unit that will blend with your interior style. Choose a media center that matches your existing furniture so that it’s an attractive addition to the room’s design. Wood is a good choice, and you’ll find a media center in every finish, including cherry, mahogany, and pine. Contemporary media centers are also available in glass and metal.

Now you’re ready to shop for your best entertainment center. Click here to get started.

Four End Tables That Are Ready for Entertaining

When you entertain friends, you want them to feel comfortable. That means setting the stage for conversation, mingling and relaxation. End tables are a great way to make friends and family feel welcome as they provide a convenient spot to set down a drink or offer a snack, and choosing the right style can give your room a chic, club-like feel. Here are four entertaining-ready tables that will elevate your next soiree.

 

The Como Accent Table Set adds high style to your room, with its antique brass artisan finish and long lean legs. The tray-style top makes this set is perfect for entertaining, and since the tables nest, you can separate the pair and put them around the room where needed.

 

The fashion-forward design of the Cercie Tray Table would be a perfect choice for entertaining in a modern home. The acrylic tray top removes to make serving drinks or appetizers a breeze, and the metal stand features a trendy copper finish.

 

The Lajos Tray Table is another stylish option for entertaining. Chrome bamboo-inspired legs and a black woven tray top look downright elegant for a great addition to any style décor.

 

The welcoming feeling of Farmhouse style is a natural for entertaining, and the Frisco Green Tray Table will move with your party. On wheels, it’s perfect in the kitchen when extra counter space is needed. And the removable tray allows you to serve guests in another room.