a season of change by Maria Maloof

Seasons change, people change, and if 2020 has taught us anything – it’s that life is unpredictable. So why do we feel the need to be predictable in our approach to holiday entertaining?

Given that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I would like to challenge all of you to throw caution to the wind! Throw out the rules! Have fun! Simply focus on creating memories with those you love in whatever way suits your fancy and works best for you. For some, that may be honoring family traditions, while others may desire a unique way to break bread and give thanks with those that matter most to them.

Personally, I LOVE a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It happens to be one of my favorite meals of the year.  One I look forward to with great anticipation as long as SOMEONE else is preparing said feast. HA! That being said, not everyone loves turkey. I know, blasphemous, right? But, seriously, as an entertainer, I love to change things up from time to time and work around themes for my menus and table top decor. The pandemic has had me revisit my approach to how I entertain and how to best make use of my home for entertaining purposes. So, for the upcoming holiday, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, what theme would my family enjoy this year that would not have the Pilgrims and Indians rolling over in their graves?” Ahhh, a ‘Seafood Extravaganza’ is sure to delight as a fun plot twist.

Pro-tip 1: If you do not feel like cooking…order! Have a restaurant and/or caterer on speed dial.  While there is nothing like a home-cooked meal, I can assure your loved ones would much rather have an enjoyable experience with a delicious meal prepared by someone else if it means you will be relaxed. Sometimes we need permission to relax – grant yourself this permission.

I am a Queen when it comes to ordering and often rely on the catering services of Elizabeth Guerra, from Relish Miami. One of the things I love most about Elizabeth is her ability to work around whatever theme I throw her way. Elizabeth has prepared numerous Thanksgiving feasts for me over the years and was delighted with my proposed change. I’m happy to share this mouth-watering menu with you, and I hope it inspires you, whether for this day of gratitude or for another special occasion.

When it comes to décor, consider setting your table as the gorgeous bow on a gift. Sure, the package is pleasant with wrapping paper, but the bow adds the WOW FACTOR.  When you take the time to create an inviting table, it is like the bow on a gift…It will not only make your guests feel welcomed, it will entice them to enjoy their meal more.

Pro-Tip 2: Setting the table should not feel like a burden for you. Keep in mind that not everything on your table has to be precious. It’s fun to mix high and low pieces, and it certainly creates interest. I recommend searching your home for odds and ends that speak to you and are fitting of whatever tablescape you desire. Shop estate sales, HomeGoods, your Mom’s china cabinet, or raid your BFF’s treasures on loan.

Pro-Tip 3: If setting an enchanting table feels overwhelming for you, do not hesitate to enlist the help of a friend or call an expert.

I often love to arrange my own florals. However, when I am pressed for time or just too darn’ d tired, I call my dear fellow creative, Jenna Sleeman, of Infinite Flowers. Jenna certainly speaks a creative love language, and I thoroughly enjoy every collaboration we have together. No matter what parameters you throw at her, she is a designer extraordinaire. Additionally, while I enjoy collecting decorative linens (some purchased and others custom designed), there are times that require a call to my friends at Contempo Linens. They are the friendliest bunch with a splendid selection of linens, chargers, stemware, chairs, etcetera for all your entertaining needs.

Pro-Tip 4: Consider where in your home you wish to host your guests. Try not to feel married to your dining rooms.  As many of you remain leery of restaurant dining, contemplate a bit of adventure in your home. Consider setting up an intimate table in your study, creating a warm vibe in your family room, or dining al fresco on your balcony. The bottom line, anything goes, and the change of scenery can be an enthralling experience.

While this year has thrown us numerous curve balls and we have had our share of rainstorms, there is no reason we should allow it to dampen our spirits. I hope my unconventional Thanksgiving tablescape and menu inspires you to create a new entertaining approach and frees your mind for the creative process of design. However you choose to celebrate, the only thing truly important is to do our best to not take anyone or anything for granted. Now more than ever, we should make it a priority to reflect and express our gratitude for all of our blessings…and, as the saying goes: live, love, and laugh!

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

Maria Maloof @houseofmaloof