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A Thanksgiving to Remember: Simply Bountiful Thanksgiving Tips
November, 2007 - Issue #37
Creating a festive mood and preparing a Thanksgiving feast doesn't have to be a stressful experience if you plan ahead and prepare in steps. This is one party where you can't leave everything until the last minute. In fact, with careful planning, you'll be ready to enjoy the holiday yourself when the first guests arrive on your doorstep, instead of stressing out in the kitchen.

First you need to pick a theme for your holiday feast and run with it. Keeping your theme flowing throughout your party will complete your guests' dining experience. Next is your invitation...

Get your guests in the mood for the holidays. Send thanksgiving invitations that will radiate your holiday spirit. Having the family over for dinner? Start off by sending your Thanksgiving invitation with an RSVP of what is being created for your holiday dinner and include items your family can bring to make it complete.

If you're having a big group party, send your Thanksgiving invitations with a request that your guests bring their favorite games. Be sure to have Thanksgiving-themed paper and decorating essentials (colored pens, glue, scissors, felt, pinecones, pipe cleaners, gloves, etc.) on hand for the kids to use to design Thanksgiving pictures and display them in the kitchen area for added holiday fun.

Remember that Thanksgiving is all about appreciating life's bounty with family and friends, so a Thanksgiving table should look, well, bountiful. Use natural elements of the outdoors to decorate your Thanksgiving table. Set your mood with more down-to-earth holiday decorating with autumn candles and harvest centerpieces which have rustic elements you can find around the house (vintage tins, cast-iron posts, fall leaves, etc.).

In order to keep things simple you can use a Rocky Mountain holiday theme - it's low-stress decorating. My mantra for holiday entertaining is: use what you have. Mix and match with existing china, flatware and glasses (you'll be surprised how those rusted camping lanterns look on the table!). Keep it simple. Cover your table with plaid sheets and use the pillowcases as chair covers. Add some personality to your plain white china with pinecones or other festive decorations.

Make sure everyone has a place at the table and get creative with your place cards. Hollow out a fresh artichoke, clip off any thorns, cut the top and bottom, and rub lemon juice on the cut edges so they don't brown. Fill in with flowers, berries or a candle. A handwritten place card fits snuggly between the leaves. Display a menu card inside a nice wooden frame.

Let the backdrop of autumn foliage, the golden hue of your holiday candles, the beauty of fall-inspired centerpieces and the comfort of family and close friends inspire you to have a Thanksgiving you'll remember for years to come.

What Wine?
Shari Frazier, co-owner of Vino 100, says that pairing wines comes down to simply picking your favorites, emphasis on the plural. No matter what you pick, it won't pair perfectly with everything you serve, so choose a variety. Some suggestions...

Start with a sparkling wine or champagne to toast your family and guests, then on to a German riesling, Oregon pinot gris or viognier to start. Follow with a fruity Pinot Noir. For an impressive finish serve a Late Harvest dessert wine, says Frazier.
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