Only 73 Shopping & Planning Days till Thanksgiving

by Neal Kielar, Tastemaker in Residence

Now that Labor Day is in the past and summer is effectively a memory, is it too soon to anticipate the many holidays in the coming months? Consider that for most folks, these holidays pack more gathering, celebrating, eating and gift-giving than the holidays that precede them.

Why wait wait until time is short and anxiety is high? It takes some time, planning and a bit of happenstance to make celebrations and gifts memorable. So let's get started.


  • You already have a good idea of who's on your gift list, at least the core people in your life. Why not begin the browsing and buying experience now.
  • Browse online for inspiration (and price comparisons)
  • Visit a local shop you know would appeal to your gift recipient but maybe not one they frequent so you don't get something they've gotten for themselves 
  • Go shopping together just for fun and see if your recipient tips a hand about something she/he really likes
  • Always consider vintage stores for gifts that are unusual and that have some history
  • Consider something experiential rather than material (although the two aren't mutually exclusive)
  • If you see something that really clicks take the plunge and buy it 


  • Line up help early; gatherings seem to always be more work when they happen than when you're planning them
  • Be efficient with your tabletop by relying on at least a few things you already have at hand, then supplementing with something that enhances the core
  • Same thing with food and beverages. There's nothing wrong with leaning on a sure-fire recipe, and you can always enhance it to give it that special occasion feel
  • Give everyone in your household a task or two, in advance, during and after the gathering 


  • Reduce everyday clutter (worth doing continuously) to make way for special decor and to make your space function better with guests
  • Replace something old and worn with a fresh replacement (you wanted to anyway) that will give your space more personality 
  • Get into a cleaning routine early so you're doing the place top to bottom the day before your event

Yes, entertaining is a lot of work. But you can pace yourself over time and actually enjoy the day with everyone else.