Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s time to share some top thanksgiving entertaining ideas. Today’s thanksgiving entertaining ideas come from author and hostess Kathryn Greeley.
Family, Friends, and Guests
The most valuable collection of the Thanksgiving table “is the collection of guests, family, and friends around the table” according to Kathryn Greeley. Kathryn is a tastemaker, a North Carolina interior designer and author of The Collected Tabletop.
Kathryn’s Thanksgiving table at her Chestnut Cottage near Asheville, North Carolina is shown above in the opening photo. In addition, the table usually has up to 24 or 30 guests. “We invite a wide variety of old and new friends. We especially want to include those who have no family nearby or anywhere to go on Thanksgiving,” said the principal of Kathryn Greeley Designs. “It makes for a fun and interesting group.”
Similarly, Kathryn’s Thanksgiving Day memories from her childhood are happy and rich. “I am an only child, but each of my parents had six siblings. Our Thanksgiving feasts included much-extended family–aunts, uncles, cousins – up to 40 people. My Grandmother Crisp was a wonderful cook, and she served huge feasts with every dish in multiples. Therefore, she didn’t just have one dessert; she had five or six.”
Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: Creative Invitations
Kathryn Greeley gets creative each year with her invitations for Thanksgiving. For instance, in a previous year, she dropped off a jar of home-canned pickles, along with an antique pickle fork, to everyone she invited.
“There are all kinds of creative gifts you could include as part of your invitations,” she said. “You could share the bounty of your summer canning, or some pepper jelly or dried beans from the farmer’s market.”
Serve your Favorite Recipe
Kathryn’s favorite dessert is her Grandmother Crisp’s Caramel Cake.
“To this day, Grandmother Crisp’s Caramel Cake Recipe is by far and away the most popular recipe from my book; we receive inquiries about it every week,” Kathryn said.
Similarly, Kathryn Greeley herself serves three different desserts on Thanksgiving: pumpkin pies, pecan tarts and Grandmother Crisp’s Caramel Cake.
In addition, to the traditional turkey and dressing, Kathryn always serves a ham purchased from Cade’s Cove in Tennessee. After that, Kathryn says: “I soak my ham in a cooler of Coke for two days. Cover the ham in the Coke, and use the real thing, not Diet Coke. It makes that ham so very delicious!”
Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: Use your Collections
Kathryn uses Flow Blue china, mismatched bread, and butter dishes and crisp white table linens and napkins to set her Thanksgiving table. Above all, she is sure to reveal the wood tones of both of her dining tables. “I love the combination of the blue and white of the Flow Blue with the crisp white linens and the fall colors of the floral arrangement.”
“One of my tips is: Use your collections,” she said. In other words, “…collections don’t come into existence just to display or hang on the wall; they come into existence to be used and enjoyed.
For instance, one of Kathryn’s prized collectibles is a large turkey platter “with an attitude.”
She fell in love with the platter at a New York antique market, but thought the price was tag was a bit steep. However, she was thrilled, when her husband, knowing how much she liked it, purchased it as a surprise for her. The turkey platter hangs proudly on the wall in her kitchen with other collectibles, but the platter is in the thick of the action every Thanksgiving.
Give a Gift
Give a gift or favor.
Make the celebration even more memorable: “It is so much fun to have some type of favor each year. Often I give a Christmas CD or a Christmas ornament to get everyone in the spirit, and one year I purchased chocolate turkeys in Asheville for each of my guests.”
In the spirit of her Grandmother Crisp, Kathryn serves a bounty of food each Thanksgiving. This means that “Guests have come to expect leftovers and take-outs, which I do have each year. I find it fun to used attractive containers for sending takeout boxes home with them. You can purchase very nice takeout containers at Mr. Takeout.com.
Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: Plan Ahead
Plan ahead. This is Kathryn’s most important thanksgiving entertaining idea. Since she does all the Thanksgiving cooking herself, she takes off the entire week before Thanksgiving from her design business. Therefore, have a schedule and stick to it.
For instance, Kathryn order’s her Thanksgiving turkey on the first day of November without fail from Whole Foods. Similarly, Kathryn has a wholesale account with the florist. In addition, she has a certain day that she order’s her flowers and purchases her groceries. After that, she has a daily schedule beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving to organize what she will prepare and cook each day. In conclusion, she can be relaxed and enjoy her guests on Thanksgiving.”
What is your number one key for enjoying entertaining your own family and friends at Thanksgiving?
Let us know in the comments!
Kim Darden Shaver
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Founder, Editor In Chief
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.