Entertaining, Holiday

Thanksgiving Inspiration: 10 creative ideas for the table and beyond

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There’s something special about the no-longer-quite-so-small world of blogging. It is – for the most part – a tightly knit community of creative individuals who often gather together and share ideas not only with their readers, but other writers, photographers and bloggers. The blogs of today have become sophisticated digital magazines with ideas that are clever, creative, fun and often ingenious. I, as you probably do, have a few favorites that I go to for ideas and inspiration.

When Bettie asked me to contribute something “Thankgivingy” I thought I might create a sort of round up, sharing some of my favorite blogs and websites that I often go to for inspiration. Whether you have a standard meal that has become tradition, or you are always searching for a new item to bring to the table, I hope you’ll find something inspirational in this piece and I hope I can introduce you to some wonderful reads.

I’ve long admired Danielle Rollins‘ grace and style, and  I often visit her website for entertaining and party inspiration. For those of you who aren’t cooking this year, Danielle has a wonderfully curated list of gifts for Thanksgiving and beyond that will be sure to delight every host and hostess.  With a holiday season  that promises to be a busy one, you just may want to bookmark  this page. To view Danielle’s list please visit here.

Thanksgiving Inspiration : Creative gift ideas for the table and beyond. Image via Danielle Rollins

And then there are those who seem to have everything. Coming up with clever ideas for these folks can often seem daunting. This year, however, I might suggest you hop over to Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, where she shares wonderful ideas for living, eating, decorating and traveling. I recently happened upon this amusing list of gift ideas for those especially hard to please. Included on this list you’ll find the simple, the absurd and the quite literally out of this world ideas! Do check out Gwyneth’s carefully curated list.

Now that we’ve gotten our gifts picked out, we mustn’t forget the music, which next to the food, is always the star of the show and sets the tone for the event.  My friend Carla Macdonald over at  The Salonniere  has managed to compile the perfect mix  featuring 40 different songs. The best part is that she’s set it all up for us so that all we have to do is  hop on over ( here) and we’re directed over to a link that’s ready to be downloaded.

Thanksgiving Inspiration : Festive Music for your Thanksgiving Day. Image via The SalonniereNot long ago Bettie introduced me to the Newport-based Puddingstone Post which fast became a favorite. Here we are served up with 4 side dishes offering a “twist of tradition” for those who are looking for new inspiration.  The sweet potato cauliflower gratin with sage has my name all over it! For this as well as the other recipes, be sure to stop by and pay them a visit.

I’ve had a love affair with Williams-Sonoma for as long as I can remember.  I fell even harder when I discovered they had a blog aptly called Taste.  Years ago I collected their recipe cards and clipped their catalogs. Now, those recipes are accessible to all, online, in a very reader friendly format. I was perusing the site the other day looking for a potato dish to serve with my bird – I wanted something more exciting than mashed potatoes and a bit more different than the oven roasted potatoes we often enjoy. As soon as my eyes caught sight of these gorgeous Hasselback potato gratin, I knew this is what I’d be making. Do stop by for this and many other wonderful ideas.

I’d be remiss to write a piece about Thanksgiving and side dishes without writing about Brussels sprouts or mentioning Gardenista, a wonderful gardening website, where they’ve rounded up their own favorites. The Brussel sprout, in my own humble opinion, is the perfect fall vegetable. When browned and caramelized it has a crispy delicious sweetness that perfectly accompanies the Thanksgiving turkey. A little bit of onion, sea salt and paprika is all it takes to perfect this dish.

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Thanksgiving Inspiration : Creative side dishes for your Thanksgiving table. Image via Gardenista

I have been a faithful reader of Ridgely’s Radar ever since I first met Ridgely a few years back for lunch at Bergdorf Goodman. Her blog is one of my favorites for fashion ideas, book recommendations as well as her recipes. It was a friend of mine, however, who recently pointed out this unique recipe. I loved it for its simplicity and complex flavors as a Thanksgiving side, as well as for the idea that the sweet jars would make lovely gifts for the guests to bring home.  Her recipe can be found here.

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Thanksgiving Inspiration : Creative side dishes for your Thanksgiving table. Image via Ridgely’s Radar.

And then there’s after the meal. If you can bear to part with your leftovers (aren’t they they whole point of Thanksgiving dinner?)  Oh Happy Day has these wonderful little brown packages with homemade labels that are perfect for sending your family and friends home with some of the day’s goodies. I think these labels are just so clever!

And while we’re on the subject of leftovers,  Lauren Conrad has some wonderful alternatives to the turkey sandwich including mashed potato gnocchi and this wonderful looking Harvest Turkey Soup. I happen to adore soup – all kinds of soups, I find them to be so family friendly and crowd pleasing. As a leftover, soup seems to me to be the perfect antidote to a heavy meal – and this one looks divine!

At the end of the evening, with bellies full from a great meal, there’s nothing better than relaxing with your loved ones in front of a roaring fire, and a good movie, and perhaps a glass of wine, port, or cognac. The folks over at Who What Wear have compiled a great list including newer films and classics alike. In my home, the Christmas season starts after our we’ve enjoyed our turkey dinner and all the accoutrements and the table has been cleared. It has become a tradition to relax in front of our big small screen and enjoy the first holiday movie of the season. I don’t think I have ever seen Christmas in Connecticut – I must make a point to do so this year!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this round up and that I have been able to introduce you to some new places to go for inspiration for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. I wish you all a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Inspiration: 10 creative ideas for the table and beyond

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