A Holiday Dose of Design


So it’s the day before Thanksgiving and literally, the only thing I can think about are mashed potatoes.  I’ve been pre-gaming my Turkey Day meal by eating lots and lots of the smashed up starchy vegetable for the past week.  I love them with a deep, abiding love.  As I type, my mom is whipping up a batch in her kitchen just ten minutes away. This makes my soul soar with delight.  

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?  Any really fun, awesome, embarrassing or otherwise noteworthy traditions that go down in your family?  One year, my family tried to play football in the backyard- post-gorge fest.  It wasn’t pretty.  This year, I anticipate a much more subdued event courtesy of tryptophan (the stuff that makes you tired after you gobble the turkey) and late night Scrabble wars.  Anyway, what’s this got to do with design?  Lots.

I grew up in a country town outside Boston, called Princeton.  It’s the definition of quaint, with a little town common and an old stone library.  Thanksgiving around those parts was less about the décor and way more about staying warm via fires, caloric intake and family feuds.  At many New England ski resorts, the day after Thanksgiving marks the first day of the season, so a lot of focus is put on that, too!

Having migrated south, like many flighty Northern birds, I’ve noticed a bit of a phenomenon.  People below the Mason-Dixon love to decorate for the holidays! Now I may just be noticing it because I’m older now or because of the families I spend time with here, but I secretly love the hauling out of all things holiday.  Dads and husbands extract cobweb laden boxes, filled with glittery turkeys, dusty feathers and God only knows what else.  Cornucopias find their place on the dining room tables, flanked by orange, red and yellow colored tapered candles.  It’s beautiful. 



To me, there is no wrong way to decorate for the holidays.  When you have young kids, proudly display their ramshackle artwork and ornaments.  The handprint turkey they made in art class? Stand that bad boy up and tell your guests about the crafty little one who made it.  As they get older, your decorations will probably evolve into a more refined set, and even then, find something sentimental and cherish it.  We still have some of the homemade ornaments that my sister and I made as children.  It’s such a joy to unwrap them from their protective shroud of tissue paper and admire our tiny-handed handiwork. 

If you shy away from having a tree with boughs sagging from Model Magic ornaments in plain view for fancy dinner parties, considering having two trees.  A lot of people do this now, and it seems to work well!  Keep one in the family room area, and admire it with the family.  The fancier one belongs in the front room, formal living area or somewhere else plainly visible to holiday guests! It’s the best of both worlds I tell you!

So with that said, go to town with the lights, popcorn garland and tongue depressors.  Santa will surely reward your effort!  Tom the Turkey… probably not so much cause he's dead and in your belly, but Santa, definitely.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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