Tips from Facelift’s Debbie Travis
Although we don’t have the Thanksgiving holiday in Britain where I grew up, I quickly came to love the idea of celebrating the harvest season with my family and friends in North America. Since I have a passion for hiking and exploring nature’s many different landscapes, and I also love to cook, this holiday is a match made in Heaven. Here are two suggestions for reaping the benefits of this gorgeous time of year. Taking an active part in any celebration makes it even more special. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
· Plan a nature walk in an area where you can collect dropped branches, long grasses, fallen leaves and wild flowers to decorate the table. Tie folded napkins with the grasses and tuck in sprigs of fresh herbs. Rubbing the herbs as you undo the napkin will release their sweet aroma.
· Invite everyone to take part in preparing the feast. Making pickles and preserves can be done ahead of time. Look up traditional recipes and have each person report on the history of the food that he or she is contributing to the meal.
Tips from Mike Holmes, of Holmes on Homes
Whether you do it during the long weekend or throughout the month, Thanksgiving is a great time to take advantage of winterizing your home. Here are some things every household should check:
· Escape the Cold. If your doors need new weather stripping, now is the time to install before it gets too cold.
· Stay Safe! If you have not changed the battery in your smoke detector this would be the time to do it.
· Got Fire? Clean your furnace and chimney this month.
· Don’t get Freezer Burn. It is extremely important to drain all your outside water taps to prevent freezing in the winter.
· Unplugged. Clean out all your eaves troughs and down spouts to prevent ice dam build up.
Tips from Home to Go designer Sonja Rasula
There’s nothing better in my mind then sharing great food with friends and family, while reflecting on things we are thankful for. Thanksgiving is a great time to entertain, but don’t worry about getting the fine china out from the basement! Here are some cheap, chic entertaining ideas.
· Ravishing Ribbon: Buy two rolls of contrasting ribbon (a plaid and solid create a traditional look together, while a polka dot and matching solid give a modern one). Buy inexpensive straw, fabric or plastic placemats and attach ribbon around the edge of each placemat (stitch or use hot glue). For each place card, simply use a rectangle of cardstock, and glue on a bow made from the ribbon. You can even decorate wine or water glasses with a bow by tying around the stem or rim. If there will be guests at your gathering that don’t know one another, make name tags out of ribbon bows! Simply attach a safety pin to the back of the knot, so guests can wear the ribbon with their name on it, and using a black fine-tip permanent marker, write their name on the ribbon.
· Thanksgiving "Thank You" Gift: Place a small (4" by 6" or smaller) pad of paper or notebook and a pen under each place card. This will not only be a nice gift for guests to take home with them, but will act as an activity during dessert! In between dinner and dessert, have guests write a few things they are thankful for this year; go around the table during dessert and share the entries.
Tips from Mia Rodak, Senior Producer of HGTV.ca
You’ve got the turkey, you pre-made the sweet potato soup and veggie casserole on the weekend, and the fridge is stocked with beverages… What have you forgotten? The kids! The décor! Here are some great tips on ways to keep the kids happy, and wow your guests with natural décor touches.
· When it comes to children, being prepared ahead of time for big gatherings is the most important thing you can do. Set up an activity area with all the fixings a day or so in advance. Colouring books, puzzles and other fun toys can be set out on a table, or even more fun, packaged up in gift bags, one for each little guest. Opening the bags and playing with the contents will definitely keep them entertained.
· Always make sure that the kids feel welcome with the grown ups too. Trying to exclude them isn’t fair, if they want to sit with the adults, let them. I’m not a fan of the "kid’s table" either. Make every effort to fit the whole family together at one table, or if you’re serving dinner buffet style, don’t separate kid’s seating from yours. The whole idea, after all, is spending time all together as a family.
· One more great tip, be sure to have some healthy, kid-friendly snacks prepared. Adults will be patient if the turkey takes longer than you’d expected, but the children will need something to hold them over.
· Use what Mother Nature provides! Autumn provides Canadians with beautiful natural colours and seasonal vegetation. Pinecones and coloured leaves can be combined into a large decorative bowl as a coffee table centerpiece. Sticks and twigs of all shapes, shades and lengths make a stunning display when bunched together in a tall vase or umbrella stand and placed at your front entrance.
· Magnificent gourds, pumpkins and other seasonal fruits, like pears, can be placed indoors and out in groupings for a fresh fall splash of colour. Remember: always put vegetables and fruit on a platter or in a bowl before displaying – they may be solid at first, but will become soft over time and can mark up your furniture.