How to Host a Modern Thanksgiving

Holiday traditions are often comforting rituals. You gather at the same place, with the same people, to eat the same things year after year. And while there’s something great about that sense of consistency in a crazy world, it can also be good to shake things up, elevate them now and then to keep traditions feeling alive instead of like stuffy obligations. What you really want is the best of both worlds: the comforting and the novel. This Thanksgiving, we turned to our Home & Art team for styling tips and go-to recipes that will make your holiday gathering feel cozy and familiar and modern at once.

Skip The Linens

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“To freshen up your tablescape this Thanksgiving, instead of the traditional tablecloth or runner, layer with chargers and other accessories.” — Brenna Tracy, Art & Home Manager

Add A Cocktail

“The Boulevardier is the best cocktail for fall.” — Brittany Gersh, Associate Director, Home & Art
Ingredients for one cocktail
1 ½ ounces bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
¾ ounce sweet vermouth, preferably Dolin Rouge
¾ ounce Campari
Twist of orange peel, for garnish
To Prepare
1. Chill a cocktail glass by filling with ice or putting in freezer for about 5 minutes.
2. Pour the liquid ingredients into a mixing glass. Fill mixing glass 2/3 full of ice and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.
Adapted from the New York Times

Lighting Is Everything

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“Candleholders are the best way to make sure the lighting is right, and they add sparkle to your table.” — Clementine Bernard, Home & Art Valuation Manager

Mix & Match

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“Holiday dinners are a great opportunity to use your more traditional china and linens, but I love combining them with contemporary details like these napkin rings by Nathalie du Pasquier.” — Brittany Gersh

Create New Traditions

“Although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in France (where I’m from), this is one of my favorite recipes for a big family gathering. Basically it’s thinly sliced potatoes, baked in the oven and covered in cream and cheese. It’s a nice homage to chef Joel Robuchon who recently passed away.” — Clementine Bernard
Joel Robuchon’s Gratin Dauphinois
Ingredients, serves four to six
2 cups (50 cl) whole milk
1 cup (25 cl) heavy cream
4 ounces (125 g) freshly grated Swiss Gruyère cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1 plump, fresh garlic clove, peeled and halved
2 pounds (1 kg) firm-fleshed potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces; 45 g)
Unsalted butter
To Prepare
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (190 degrees C; gas mark 4/5)
2. In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over moderate heat. Add the cream and 3/4 of the cheese. Stir to blend. Season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Add the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cook over low heat, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
3. Thoroughly rub the inside of a shallow 2-quart (2-l) gratin dish with garlic. Transfer the potatoes and their liquid to the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the butter.
4. Place in the center of the oven and bake until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is crisp and golden, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Patricia Wells At Home In Provence
Ready to style your own holiday table? Shop our editors’ tabletop picks here.
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