Thanksgiving tables are a dime a dozen, which is why today’s interpretation by blogger Carrie Waller of Dream Green DIY is especially refreshing. Not only is it a beautiful take on everyone’s favorite fall holiday, but it’s also realistic — because let’s face it, going home to celebrate Thanksgiving with the entire extended family isn’t always doable. Carrie joins us today to make the case for the two-person (and one dog!) Thanksgiving. We’re totally on board, are you?
How did you and your husband find yourselves celebrating Thanksgiving at home this year?
A couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to pick up house and move away from the town we had both been born and raised in. Now that we’re living on our own in a city that still feels pretty new, we thought it would be fun to celebrate the holiday on our own. Thus, the idea for a quiet, intimate Thanksgiving for two. I wanted to prove that a great meal really only needs two people and a little creativity to pull off.
This is a new concept since we’ve always celebrated Thanksgiving with our families in the past, but now that we live far from home, we wanted to challenge ourselves to make Thanksgiving feel just as sweet and sentimental as a giant family dinner would.
Do you have a standard hostess outfit?
Give me a pair of well-loved jeans, loafers, and a loose-fitting button up, and I’m one happy gal. I love pulling a casual look like this together with a long gold necklace, nice belt, and a red lip. Luckily, my friends and family don’t mind a super casual dress code. As long as there’s a tasty meal on the table, good music rolling from the record player, and a bottle of wine at the ready, they’re happy!
What color palette do you have in mind for your Thanksgiving?
I’ve learned to love neutrals this year, so anything in the earth-tone family steals my heart (think: cream, mustard, burnt orange, olive green, etc.) Throwing in pops of mint and navy helps keep things feeling interesting and fresh for the holiday.
Do you reference any family traditions when you entertain during the holidays?
Our family absolutely lives for tradition — practically down to every recipe, serving dish, holiday song, and seasonal candle. We follow a pretty strict rule of “no Christmas songs or holiday décor” before Thanksgiving, but once that day in November comes around, Christmas is finally fair game. This helps keep the holiday season feeling extra sacred and special every year. My favorite family tradition specific to Thanksgiving, though, is eating on fine china rather than everyday plates. This simple switch instantly elevates the meal without much effort at all.
Do you have a signature holiday cocktail?
I like to keep things extra simple by sipping on a glass of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon wine — no mixing required!
What do you love about Thanksgiving?
My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is, of course, the food. When else do you have the excuse to load up on so many indulgent flavors?! My least favorite thing is the fact that it only lasts one night. In this day and age of near-daily negative news, I think we need to make a family gathering centered on gratitude a monthly (or weekly!) occurrence.
Fill in the blank: “It’s not the holidays without ______.”
Great music, and a few extra carbs at dinner time!
Who are your dream dinner guests?
I know it sounds a little cheesy, but my family! There’s no one in the world I’d rather spend the holidays with. We laugh for hours around the dinner table, and talk at volumes most people probably wouldn’t appreciate, but there’s just nothing better than a loud, laughter-filled meal with my family.
What did Thanksgiving look like growing up?
My mom, dad, sister, and I would all pile into our van and make the 5-hour trek to stay with family in Baltimore. It was almost always cold and rainy, but driving from our tiny town in Virginia to a big city bursting with lights (even if they were mostly just red taillights in traffic) was so thrilling for me as a little girl.
The townhouse was packed with kids, adults rushing around, and the smells of turkey, stuffing, and cheesy broccoli casserole. Even though we don’t do it anymore now that all the kids are grown and living across the east coast, these memories are still quintessential Thanksgiving to me.
Making Thanksgiving dinner is a tall order. Where did you learn to cook?
Right after graduating from college I moved back to my hometown and asked my mom to give me mini cooking lessons after work. I figured it was high time I ditch my go-to box of powdered mac and cheese, and start learning how to make healthier dishes. Happily, she was more than willing to oblige, and I haven’t cracked open boxed mac and cheese since.
Do you have a signature dish for Thanksgiving?
A fruit crumble! It’s super quick to throw together the night before, and travels well in case you’re headed home for the holidays. You can even break up the process to make it easier — assemble the dish the night before, cover it with plastic wrap or foil, and then bake it the next day.
What would you say to others who may not be able to celebrate the holidays with family?
While I wish it wasn’t the case, many won’t be able to get home for the holidays — whether that’s because of budget constraints, work schedules, or it’s just too far of a distance to be practical (like us). My hope is that this concept of a 2-person Thanksgiving will help dispel the myth that a large guest list is a prerequisite for Thanksgiving. As long as you have good conversation, good food, and a few thoughtful details (all things two people are totally capable of!), your holiday can be just as memorable. Who knows… Thanksgiving for two could just become your new go-to tradition!
Your entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Fuss-free, and fun!