Any host or hostess knows the story: on a day meant to celebrate the warmth of family and friends, all anyone seems to be able to think about on the morning of Thanksgiving is the work yet to be done. Tables to be set, feasts to be cooked, decorations to be daintily draped. It’s enough to turn anyone off the idea altogether. But that’s where Bri Boudreaux of Simple Living comes in. Her concierge service emerged out of a desire to make local lives more stress-free, from moving to running errands to organizing events and planning for the holidays. Boudreaux knows how much peace a bit of planning ahead can bring to any kind of event prep–including Turkey Day.
“I always tell people to try to find a place in your home where you can keep all your décor together—your Thanksgiving linens, platters, decorations, things like that—and ideally in a clear bin you can see into,” says Boudreaux. “Also, invest in a label maker so you can label everything. For our clients, we label bins in regards to where we take the decorations down from—’décor from kitchen,’ or ‘from mantel in living room’—so that next year, all you have to do is bring the bin to the right area to make decorating less time consuming.”
Boudreaux also swears by the fail-safe features of a good list.
“It can be a grocery list or a guest list, or a list of who’s bringing what food and drinks to a gathering, but it should help you wrap your head around what needs to be done in terms of priorities,” she says. “When it comes to platters or dinnerware, get your servingware out the day before and start labeling them with sticky notes mentioning which food is going where. Then on the day of Thanksgiving, you know exactly where everything needs to be and you don’t forget what you have.”
View this post on Instagram
However, while Boudreaux’s tips focus on the intricacies of large-scale Thanksgiving celebrations, according to her, even an event-planning newbie without many holiday accessories on hand can turn a simple table into an elegant vignette.
“I would focus on flowers and candles,” says Boudreaux. “Even getting little votive candles or little battery-operated tea lights can spruce up an area of the house, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Running greenery down a table and scattering candles throughout it can be really pretty, and you can add little pumpkins in seasonal colors like yellow or orange. Guests will think you put in a lot of effort, even though it’s one of the simplest things you can do.”
Regardless of how much work goes into the big day, there’s also relief in the hope that by the end of the evening, the next big task—cleaning up—can be more of a group project.