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Open Invitation: A Guide to Hosting an Intentional Thanksgiving


It seems the beauty of Thanksgiving—perhaps more than any other holiday—is its ability to bring people from all walks and stages of life together. It’s a holiday that offers an open invitation, where family, friends, and coworkers from out of state are welcome to enjoy time that invites connection, second helpings, and conversations that last into the night. If you’re hosting this Thanksgiving, we’re sharing a few ways that you can make all who gather around your table feel welcome.

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Create a warm welcome

Little details can create an inviting atmosphere that puts your guests at ease as soon as they arrive. Lighting a scented candle creates a grounding experience when they walk through the door. A good playlist can help set the mood you want to create—perhaps some old-timey jazz to stir up nostalgia or a feel-good mixOpens in new tab that features something for everyone.

Collaborate on the menu

Though it’s a holiday known for a traditional menu, everyone seems to have their own spin on Thanksgiving dishes—people who scallop their potatoes instead of mashing them or who swear by their grandmother’s pie crust recipe. Consider inviting your guests in on the menu by asking them to bring a treasured recipe or favorite side.

Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes:

Starters: Baked Brie, Prosciutto-Wrapped Apples, Charcuterie Board (No recipe needed here—just fill a serving board with your choice of meats, cheeses, nuts, and fruit. You can’t go wrong!)

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Sides: Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Becki’s Mac and Cheese

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Desserts: Apple pie, pecan bars

Tailor the Table to Them

Thoughtful details show a guest that this moment was made for them. If your table includes new faces, name cards are a great way to help guests feel at ease. Using a mix of materials creates a collected look and brings warmth and comfort to your table. Layering textures and materials makes the setting feel thoughtful and special. Simple flourishes, such as mini bouquets made from seasonal stems, can make a guest feel like their presence is celebrated. Simply gather a few stems or borrow this look (dried wheat, dried bouquet) and tie them together with a piece of ribbon.

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Focus on what matters most

Perhaps the best way to make your guests feel at home (no matter the occasion) is to make yourself at home, too. Think back to your favorite holiday memories—you probably don’t remember whether the baseboards were dusted or the charcuterie featured salami roses. More likely, you remember how you felt. This Thanksgiving, as you gather with intention, give yourself permission to let things be imperfect and enjoy the evening with good company. That’s the surest way for all to feel welcome.

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