This is a second in a series of guest posts from Marc Friedland, stationer to the stars.
Gratitude. It’s not just a moment or a day. It’s a way of life. For some, it comes naturally. For others, it needs to be cultivated.
And when gratitude is put into practice, it can be life changing. Studies have shown that gratitude helps people feel more cheerful and more meaningfully connected.
Thanksgiving reminds us – gives us the opportunity – to be grateful. Yet the bustle of the day can distract us from the intent.
So how do we cultivate gratefulness, if even just for the holiday? Here are five ways.
1. Spend time – quality time – with the people around you. Whether that’s cooking, shopping, eating or watching football, be present in that activity and with that person. Your undivided attention is the most meaningful way to show someone he or she is dear.
2. If you are the hostess, use placecards as a means of telling guests what you value about them. A simple calling card – like that from the Writer’s Wardrobe – is all that’s needed for a short sentiment.
3. Use the interlude between dinner and dessert for others to share in writing something for which they are grateful. In this way, you’ll be ushering in what I like to call a new era in communication … awakening a deeper sense of personal connectivity and relationship through the handwritten word.
4. As a guest, you can express your gratitude to the host and hostess in a myriad of ways. Bringing a side dish, helping clean up, and toasting them at dinner are all appropriate and appreciated. Yet again, being in a fully present state of mind is the most valued. And afterwards, a thank you note, even to family, will endear you to them evermore.
5. Lastly, start a gratitude journal. Simply take a few moments each day to jot down something for which you are thankful. It may be humble or grandiose, short or long. Carry your journal (we’re partial to the embossed suede journal from The Writer’s Wardrobe) with you to record these sentiments as you have time, or keep it on your bedside table to bookend your day.
Putting these ideas into practice will help you have a richer, fuller experience at Thanksgiving and beyond.
More to come –
Read more about how Marc works to “Usher in a New Era in Personal Communications.”
When it comes to decorating with holiday lights this year, it’s time to pull the plug. Brilliant battery-operated decor gives you endless versatility – without cumbersome and unsightly cords.
So take your holiday lights to places you’ve never dreamed. The fence line, the roofline, the mailbox. Or simply at the door. Cordless greenery like pre-lit garland, wreaths, and lush door swags were never so easy to set up. The best part? Built-in timers turn the lights on for six hours and then off for 18 – meaning there’s one less thing to hassle with during the hectic holiday season.
For many people, the timer function is what really strikes a chord. It’s such a welcoming sight to arrive home in the evening and find the wreaths already glowing brightly. Plus, it’s a huge relief not to have to step out into the cold in your pajamas to unplug the lights.
And it’s not just greenery. Luminous Pre-lit Trees create a magical look along a pathway or clustered in a dormant garden bed. Battery-operated Micro LED lights allow you to wrap a tree even in the far reaches of your yard. Just put them out, turn them on and enjoy. For the entire holiday season!
Your can enjoy the pre-lit, professionally decorated look inside, too. The mantel is the most obvious place – a Christmas wreath or garland simply goes up with the need for an ugly extension cord. Then, hang stockings that glimmer with LED lights, and Santa will know who’s the best and the brightest.
Pre-decorated centerpieces also dazzle with their brilliance and ease. How magical it is to have mini lights and Dream Candles glowing on your beautifully set table.
Lastly, get everyone in the spirit with our battery-operated marquee letters. Hung over a bar or placed on a buffet, these vintage-style letters are merry and bright – even after the holidays. Cheers!
Escape to balmy shores – even if you’re way north of the equator. Unabashedly playful yet infused with tradition, our exclusive Caribbean Tidings Collection mixes the glorious shades of sunsets and palms with iconic beach motifs.
If a Jimmy Buffett fan were to create a tree, this might be it. Loaded with richly detailed ornaments, the handpainted mouth-blown glass collection includes a surfing Santa, Chris Craft boat, classic Woodie wagon, parrot, flip-flops and hibiscus blooms. It’s a welcome change in latitude and attitude from your traditional tree.
Even just a little of this vibrant and playful collection will enliven your existing tree decor. And the 60-piece Caribbean Tidings Ornament Kit makes this possible at less than $5 per ornament – an amazing value, we think, for designer-inspired, European-quality glass ornaments.
You can also make a statement by decorating your whole tree in tropical style. And its whimsy is perfect in a kitchen or sunroom. Here’s our recipe:
Slim Rosewood Pine with Caribbean Tidings Trim
Behind the more traditional palette of red, gold and green is a collection that comes alive with a playful mix of iconic shapes and lustrous finishes.
|1 9 ft. Slim Rosewood Pine with Premium Traditional Lights #142127|
|6 rolls Glitter Mesh Ribbon with Coral Background #142256|
|2 packs Glitz Herb Spray in Gold #66869|
|2 packs Mini Hibiscus in Coral or Red #142435|
|7 60-piece Caribbean Tidings Ornament Collections #141435|
|1 Holiday Palm Trees Tree Skirt #141910|
Hang ornaments evenly around the tree, layering from top to bottom and working from the inside out. For added dimension, place smaller and filler ornaments on the inner branches.
Arrange the tree skirt beneath. Turn on the lights … and admire endlessly for weeks to come!
For full details on how to decorate your tree, read “5 Steps to a Dazzling Designer Tree.”
Recently on the radio program The Splendid Table, host Lynne Rossetto Kasper entertained a question from a listener who wanted to serve goat on Thanksgiving.
While goat has many fine qualities that endears it to chefs across the country, your guests might grouse at finding it on their Thanksgiving table. It’s just not part of our food culture – yet.
But the discussion left us considering alternatives. After all, the turkey is a finicky bird. We try brining and basting, smoking and deep frying. One year, it comes out perfect; prepared the exact same way the next, it’s dry as dust.
On the topic, one person – having grown up Italian – suggested lasagna. But frankly, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without all the sides. In fact, savory stuffing, mashed potatoes and flaky pies are what most people actually look forward to eating.
Which means that alternatives to turkey must pair well with all those beloved dishes. That’s why we’re suggesting Soy-Ginger-Laquered Cornish Hens. But we’re curious. If you served an alternative to turkey at Thanksgiving, what would it be?
Courtesy of Food & Wine
These Asian-inspired hens are simple to prepare and beautifully burnished. Plus, they allow each guest to have his or her own small bird.
4 cups mirin
2 cups soy sauce
8 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
1-1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1-1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1-1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
Ten to twelve 1 lb. Cornish hens, legs tied together with kitchen twine
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the Cornish hens. Put the hens in three large resealable plastic bags and pour in the marinade. Seal the bags, pressing out the air, and turn to thoroughly coat the hens. Transfer the bags to a small roasting pan or large rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight, turning the bags occasionally.
Let the hens stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425° and line two large rimmed baking sheets with foil. Remove the hens from the marinade and transfer them to the baking sheets. Strain the marinade into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Roast the hens in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°. Roast the hens for 50 minutes longer, basting with the reserved marinade every 15 minutes and shifting the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through roasting.
The hens are done when the cavity juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thighs registers 160°. Transfer the hens to a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
For a wine pairing, these beautiful Cornish hens go well with a clean, crisp and refreshing white wine. Try the delightful Lemon Hill Viognier 2012 from the Frontgate Wines Refreshing Whites Dozen. If you prefer red, sip the medium-bodied DeLoach Private Collection Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2012, part of the Boisset Family Estates Six.
A beautiful meal deserves a gorgeous table. Here are simple ways to “Set the Most Beautiful Thanksgiving Table.”