Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. The warm autumn colors, the chance to share love and thanks with my family and friends, and of course, the wonderful feast. Unfortunately, many people find Thanksgiving to be a stressful ordeal. It doesn’t have to be! From invitations, to decorations, to the dinner menu, we have a few ideas to make your Turkey Day festive, delicious, and hassle-free!
To get started, check out our Thanksgiving invitations. We have several different options available for you to customize and match to your dream holiday gathering. We can even address and mail them out for you!
Once your invitations have hit the printing press, you can move on to planning your decorations. I am always inspired by fall’s brilliant and rich colors. Autumn leaves and gourds make for eye-catching yet simple décor.
(Photo credit: Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart)
Left: For a beautiful table runner, get inspired by this beautiful photograph from Better Homes and Gardens. Find a few small pumpkins from the local pumpkin patch, line them up down the center of your table, and weave a matching ribbon around them. You can even add branches, greenery, or a garland for an extra burst of color! Top right: I love these place cards from Martha Stewart. The leaves are perfect for any autumn tablescape, and the chalkboard look is very in right now! Best of all, they’re incredibly easy to make. Bottom right: Set the mood for a warm dinner with your loved ones with these painted glass votive candle holders, also from Martha Stewart. This would be a fun DIY project (the link will give you simple instructions,) but if you’re pressed for time (or aren’t feeling very artsy,) go ahead and purchase some glass votives in your favorite fall colors.
Planning and preparing dinner may be the most anxiety-inducing part of the holiday! However, if you schedule carefully, and do everything that you can ahead of time, it’s a lot easier to bring the meal together. Food Network has a great Thanksgiving planning guide to help you out. If you plan things just right, you’ll spend less of Thanksgiving in the kitchen, and more of it mingling with your loved ones!
Here’s a few favorite recipes to add to your holiday menu!
(Photo credit: The Pioneer Woman, Simply Recipes, Smitten Kitchen, How Sweet Eats)
Top left: A juicy and flavorful roasted turkey (and brine,) courtesy of The Pioneer Woman. She even includes step-by-step photos and instructions! Bottom left: My favorite tip for the perfect mashed potatoes: use a potato ricer! It’s difficult to smooth out all the lumps out with a fork or potato masher, and using a hand mixer can result in a gluey texture. A potato ricer delivers smooth, creamy, fluffy results, and it’s much faster than a regular potato masher! Try Simply Recipes’ garlic mashed potatoes for a delicious yet simple take on this traditional side dish. (Another tip: throw the roasted garlic in with the potatoes into the ricer to avoid large garlic pieces.) Top right: For dessert to feed a crowd, Smitten Kitchen takes her go-to apple pie recipe (my personal favorite) and turns it into an entire sheet of pie! (Tip: apple pie is always best the day it’s made, but if you premake the crust the night before and refrigerate it, all you have to do the day of is roll it out, fill, and bake!) Bottom right: Finally, for a boozy treat, How Sweet Eats’ apple cider sangria is a fun autumnal take on a classic party drink.
Hopefully we have given you some inspiration, tricks, and tips to make your holiday memorable and stress-free! Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe or decorations idea?
It’s that time of the year again when you’ve got to decide whether or not to order holiday cards. Personally I get sad every year receiving fewer and fewer cards in the mail. There’s nothing quite like coming home to a full mailbox of holiday greetings and warm messages from friends letting me know how their year went. E-cards just don’t hold the same weight, literally and figuratively. Living in a time where e-mails are replaced by short tweets or Facebook messages, it’s often easy to forget how nice it can be do get a real card in the mail.
We recently showed you our favorite DIY paper masks for Halloween. But what if you have a newborn and don’t want to throw away money for a costume on year zero? Fortunately all you need to celebrate the holiday with your newborn is an old onesie, a scrap of fabric, and some. Check out Rachel Low’s costume templates to turn any onesie into a fun costume. You can even increase the pattern size with your printer and make a matching sweatshirt to wear out trick-or-treating.
With 85% of textile waste going to landfills every year, Halloween can have a devastating effect on the environment. While it’s tons of fun to pick out a costume and dress up, any family can make a night of crafting DIY costumes, and avoid creating unnecessary waste. Look around for wornout clothes, old sweats, or too-small garments. Many of today’s costumes can be made by hand if you have a sewing machine. Or if you truly want to make something easy, consider making an easy paper mask to wear on top of a colorful outfit. Paper masks can be tons of fun for kids and adults to wear. There are lots of sites that offer outlines for you to print out. Just color them in, add some sequins and glitter and you’re ready to go. For masquerade style, glue it onto a stick, or for easy-wear just add an elastic band.
Can a candy bar really be considered healthy? Probably not. But everyone needs a treat now and then. And if you’re going to go down the candy aisle, bear in mind that there is a whole range of candy options from not-so-bad to pure chemical junk. You might as well go for something with minimal junk. Yet when it comes to getting a sugar fix, we don’t always have time to go to the health food store to pick up a favorite like chocolate-covered organic almonds. One company is trying to change all that: Unreal.
This weekend we celebrate father’s day, thanking dads everywhere for being such swell guys. Looking for a last minute gift? You can recycle any old tie into something useful with this handy guide courtesy of Ecouterre. Find the tackiest, most out-of-style tie and turn it into something useful. Ecouterre provides step-by-step directions for making an awesome new guitar strap, eyeglasses case, camera strap, cellphone case, and pillow.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, the time of the year to honor the woman who gave us the most. Bamboo Wall Art makes a great Mother’s Day present. Just choose your favorite photo of you and mom and upload. Customize with a variety of sweet designs. In addition to bamboo’s wide-ranging green qualities, Paper Culture plants a tree with each order, so it’s a win win. Click here for details. But perhaps you want to go even more DIY and make something from scratch for mom. Here are some easy ideas that will be sure to put a smile on her face.
Happy Earth Day to our beloved readers! We hope you celebrated our favorite holiday in a way that was both inspiring and fruitful. Paper Culture has set a goal to plant 1,000,000 trees, one for each new Facebook like. Click here to get going, and dedicate your tree to someone special. We’ve planted 200,000 since Earth Day last year and are looking forward to the many, many more trees we’ll be putting into the ground through 2012 and beyond.
As if you needed more temptation during this Holiday season, speculoos is now available at Trader Joe’s. I have some Belgium friends, who live in Portland. Whenever we visit, we eat bread smeared with speculoos, a cookie spread, for breakfast. They bring a few jars back from Belgium each time they visit. I never thought that I was in danger of making it a part of my daily life. But now speculoos is being marketed in the U.S. as a peanut-free alternative to peanut butter and sold at my local market.
According to my friends, everyone in Belgium eats speculoos cookies, which are light-brown buttery cookies with a hint of cinnamon (you may have tried one on Delta Airlines). In the morning, they dip them in their coffee or hot milk and patiently wait to scoop-up the dregs from the bottom. A few years ago a Belgian woman won a competition on an “invention” reality TV show where she made a spread of speculoos cookies. Now speculoos paste is incredibly popular in Europe and it has made its way across the Atlantic into mainstream America. I know, it sounds weird, but it is out of the world yum. Try it.
Time for a little unscientific poll: How many of you braved the crowds for Black Friday? How many shopped from the comfort of your own home? Or are you waiting for Cyber Monday? And how many of you didn’t shop at all? [read more]