Thanksgiving is exactly one week away (!) — are you ready? To be honest, we’ve been procrastinating on prepping for one of our favorite holidays, which is why we reached out to the lovely and talented Camille Styles for help! Camille’s new book, Camille Styles Entertaining, is chock full of creative tips and tricks to get you through the holidays (and the new year, too).
Take a look at her favorite Thanksgiving must-haves from Pottery Barn, below — and keep reading to get her easy holiday entertaining tips PLUS one incredibly delicious fall cocktail recipe.
Plus, don’t forget to subscribe and stay tuned to Inside & Out for the rest of the holiday season — we’ll be launching a special feature with Camille after Thanksgiving, and sharing more of her expert tricks all the way through Christmas!
1. Cast Leaf Metal Earthenware Gravy Boat and Cast Leaf Metal Serving Platters/2. Napoli Stoneware Dinnerware/3. Harvest Olive Wreath/4. Flameless Birch Pillar Candles/5. Vintage Wood Footed Bowls and Vintage Wood Baguette Tray/6. Antique Silver Pitcher and Antique Silver Three-Tiered Stand
Pottery Barn: Uh oh — your in-laws are arriving for a last-minute Thanksgiving trip. What are your suggestions for adding more people to an already set menu + table setting?
Camille Styles: First, don’t panic. This is an all-too common predicament, and one that I’ve even run into as a result of my own mental miscalculations as I laid down table settings before a party. The best strategy is to leave yourself a little wiggle room from the start. If possible, create enough space at the table so that you can scoot guests closer together and make room for two more if needed — no one will mind being a little cozier! It’s always a good idea to have 2 extra place settings and blank place cards waiting in the wings for surprise arrivals (like when your cousin brings his new lady friend that he met the week before.)
CS: As far as the food goes, guests are surprisingly adaptable to taking a little less if it looks like a platter might run low. If one menu item is dangerously meager for the new guest count, have a special signal for your significant other that means the two of you will be abstaining from it to leave more for everyone else. But since it’s Thanksgiving, the holiday of culinary abundance, the unexpected guests will most likely just mean fewer leftovers the next day!
PB: What’s your no-fail table decorating trick for Thanksgiving?
CS: Think beyond the floral centerpiece. In the fall, I love to forage for beautiful leaves and interesting berries or acorns to incorporate into a centerpiece. Pomegranates, winter squash and pears also make unexpected additions to the table and are a modern spin on the iconic image of an abundant cornucopia.
PB: What are your favorite, easy fall cocktails for Thanksgiving?
CS: My current favorite is the Orchard Punch from my book (see the recipe, below). I love the throwback vibe of a big punch bowl at a party, and this one’s brimming with the cozy flavors of cider and spices, using apples and their juice in three different ways. And the best thing about punch? Guests can help themselves to seconds without having to ask!
I mix up a big batch of fruity, boozy punch at my company holiday party every year. This year, I quadrupled the recipe and still had to make a second batch to satisfy, ahem, thirsty guests!
• ½ 750 ml bottle sweet Riesling
• 1 red apple, cored and sliced
• 1 green apple, cored and sliced
• 1 cup apple juice
• Whole Star Anise
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 750 ml hard apple cider
Pour the Riesling into a large pitcher and then add the apples, apple juice, and lemon juice. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Just before serving, add the cider and divide equally among ice-filled highball glasses. Garnish with star anise and serve.
Photo credits: Buff Strickland
Don’t forget to subscribe and tune in to the Pottery Barn blog for more of Camille’s amazing entertaining tips throughout the rest of this holiday season!