Oof, Thanksgiving. It’s wonderful and it's always a mixed bag – like most major holidays?
Counting my blessings: My mom hosts; While these days I tend to drive from Brooklyn, my personal tradition of ~20 years was simply taking Metro North to New Haven – standing room only and all – a day or 2 before the holiday. I loved bustling (racing?) through Grand Central, seeing the 9-5’ers in their elegant scarves and fall trenches (while I’m perennially dressed in my work wear – spandex and a puffy coat).
Other blessings: I don’t dread conversation with the regular guests at our gathering in CT. I love catching up with a few cousins and aunts Ionly see at this at this specific holiday, and an occasional neighbor or two – people I’ve known since childhood. My cats are near me. There are couches that I have time to sit in with a glass of wine. I see a high school friend or two I am still close with.
I love cooking. My usual contribution is Brioche stuffing with chestnuts. While my mom doesn’t like to veer too far from the traditional menu, she’ll give me that and agrees its delicious. My brother smokes a turkey – it’s hands down the best.
And the late fall landscape – that’s my favorite. November is a beautiful month. Still some leaves on the trees, and some color in the leaves. Large grasses and weeds that have turned ivory and contrast against the still green grass.
A tradition I’ve kept for the past 5 to 10 years is taking on the dinner tablescape. What this looks like is pulling on my mother’s mud-caked garden boots over my pajamas, grabbing some vest that doesn’t belong to me from the coat room and wandering around in the cold searching for beautiful things I can snip or collect from her yard.
Normally, this has mostly looked like a meandering cornucopia of dried things snaking down my mom’s large oval wooden table. Dried crispy hydrangea heads that make little clover-shaped confetti in copper and chestnut tones as you place them. Wild and cultivated grasses. Maybe some garden sage that still looks OK. Fallen acorns or black walnuts. Leaves. Bittersweet vine. There isn’t much color to work with but the interplay of the various neutral tones from ivory to charcoal is so pleasing and such a fun change of pace. You add some colored candles, or fruit or winter squash if they’ll fit. The gathering is like a treasure hunt. If you have the opportunity, wherever you are next Thursdays – I encourage it!! Allow yourself to just revel in all the little things we tend to have to rush past on our busy work days. It feels like a true honoring. And it’s a meditative moment with yourself on what can be a super social day… good for us introverts.
It was a bright spot in my week to work solo in my studio (a rare event) to piece my first Thanksgiving centerpieces together, in the waning early afternoon light on Sunday, and to play with styling them in different ways, for different moods and types of table settings.
I'm so happy to include a couple of dried centerpieces as well as a fresh flower arrangement. Dried grasses - more than flowers - are just so exceptionally stunning when boiled down to their simplicity. They echo the outdoors perfectly. This is my homage to my own personal Thanksgiving tradition, where I commune with the plants, and recognize the beauty in all of it – in all of nature’s colors. Not just the bright or saturated ones.
We have Hannukah and Christmas around the corner – so stay tuned for more offerings for your holiday parties and tables. And front doors! Yes, wreaths too. Dried and evergreen.
Wish me luck as I navigate my first holidays where I’m also keeping our online shop alive. The need for year-round cash flow is REAL. Especially in small business. Every order counts – and we appreciate it as materials have already been ordered!
Whether you’re in NYC or not, I’m wishing your Thanksgiving is cozy, fulfilling, and restful and that you are feeling the love of the people you cherish.
With love + flowers,