Taking Christmas inspiration from the American Thanksgiving holiday
PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 November 2015
In the UK, as soon as the faux Halloween cobwebs are taken down, and the hollowed out pumpkins are tossed onto the compost heap, the twinkly lights of Christmas are everywhere you look. Thanksgiving, however, bridges this gap, and offers up opportunity for home decor, and hosting.
Today is Thanksgiving. This doesn’t really mean much to us Brits, given that this particular holiday isn’t global or religious, just very American. I’ve spent a few Thanksgivings in New York; and although the history behind it doesn’t necessarily mean anything to me, the idea of celebrating the season of autumn is very appealing.
There’s a chance here to take advantage of the fact that we don’t celebrate this festivity. Throughout November, American homeware stores stock beautiful decorative items for the Thanksgiving table, kitchen and dining room; some of which are easily transferable to a British Christmas. The common denominator between an American Thanksgiving and an English Christmas is that we eat turkey dinners. And I spy a chance here to transform your very British Christmas dining table taking inspiration from our friends across the pond.
There’s about a month to go until we’ll be laying the place settings out in the dining room, waiting for the family to descend hungrily upon us with visions of chestnut-stuffed poultry in their heads. This is your window to get online and nab some Thanksgiving stock to adorn your homes with at Christmastime.
This might sound a little extreme, given that there will be shipping involved from the States, but what you can get for your money will outweigh the transatlantic spending. American retailers will be trying to dispose of this season’s Thanksgiving stock now - probably more drastically tomorrow, Black Friday. The result: unique dinnerware and festive decoration, imported from afar, at holiday discount prices, before the holidays have even begun over here.
Crate & Barrel - crateandbarrel.com
Crate & Barrel are well known for their unique knick-knacks, home accents and their ability to be traditional yet modern at the same time. For example, if you’re looking to do Christmas in wintry colours, with a sudden slice of festive red, gold or green, this is a good place to start. Plucking suitable items for Christmas out of their Thanksgiving range, Crate & Barrel provide lots of ideas for table trinkets and dinner colour schemes. And clearance has already begun online. Their turkey salt and pepper shakers have been reduced to £4.50 per set (down from £9), while their turkey-themed name card settings are going for £2.50 each (down from £3.50). Not in the sale, but still excellently priced thanks to the exchange rate, is a turtle dove style serving bowl (£11) and the damask Lucia tablecloth in a rich zinfandel red (various sizes ranging from £60 - £80).
Potter Barn - potterybarn.com
My personal favourite - Pottery Barn is a little more rustic in its approach and rolls out some glorious feature peices that combine elegence with American pageantry into one. In their Thanksgiving range is their ‘windswept leaves’ napkins depicting striking red foliage, vivid hues and delicate shading. Tailor them to Christmas by rolling them up, tieing them with string and adding a sprig of pine or conifer to the place setting. A set of four only costs £19.66 before any holiday reductions might come into effect.
Poultry is prominent at Pottery Barn too, with the ornamental and rather stately carved wooden turkey (a great centrepeice for £45), the heritage turkey dinnerware and platters (sets of 4 plates or mugs priced nicely at £30 and a platter at about £40) and the turkey figural serve bowl (£60). It’s important to stress the quality of these items when putting their cost into perspective and Pottery Barn are due to start slashing prices (including fequent international shipping discounts) on Black Friday.
Williams Sonoma - williams-sonoma.com
Popular with cooks, William Sonoma boast the vintage look, to beautiful effect. Their sales have started early and the discounts are in the region of 50 percent off. Similarly to Pottery Barn, their dinnerware is Thanksgiving themed - but not so much that you can’t use them over here for Christmastime. The plymouth turkey dinnerware collection is a set of plates, bowls and platters which look just as stunning on the kitchen dresser as they do on the dining table. They’d also be a great gift. Their tablecloths are based on a ‘wine country’ design (and wine is certainly not seasonal specific). The silvery tablecloth fits perfectly onto a Christmassy table and can be bought for £92.50 or at much lower prices for a tabble runner or place mats.
International shipping prices and exchange rates vary- see individual websites for details.