Don’t let Christmas recipes or decorations take over your Thanksgiving. Keep the focus on fall with these treats and tricks. We’ve all noticed it – the Christmas Creep. September 21 rolls around and the stores start selling winter holiday decor. It’s as if we jump out of the pool and into our parkas! Don’t let the commercial trends take away your Autumn. Thanksgiving is the culmination of this wonderful time of year. Celebrate with the tastes and colors of fallen leaves and crisp blue skies.
Deep oranges, maroons, golden yellows and forest greens are the colors of fall. Even if your indoor decor isn’t in this color scheme, you can still bring the outdoors in with some interior design tricks. The key is to group display items together, creating what are called “vignettes.” A vignette can be created with any items that share a common trait. Differently-sized items of the same color make an area of interest. Likewise, same-sized items of different colors also make great vignettes.
An odd number of items is the best choice. Psychologists tell us our brains are trained to look for the middle point in any scene. Check out any interior design site and count the items on display on a side table or mantle. More often than not, there will be an odd number of items in each vignette. Place three fall decor items of similar colors but varying sizes and heights together on a side table or mantle. Top a table runner with three baskets of flowers. Have the kids collect leaves (or cut out from paper) and string them along a length of yarn to make a natural garland. An odd number of leaves helps but isn’t as necessary. This project is more for fun and to keep the kids occupied with some fun fall crafts.
These rules also apply to your outdoor decor. Avoid framing the front door in a symmetrical way. We are all tempted to get two potted plants or corn stalks and place them on either side of the front entrance. Stick a wreath on the door and we’re done, right? While this is perfectly acceptable, it falls short of creating a designer look. Be brave and group the corn stalks to one side, or line the potted plants up one side of the steps. Better yet, group the pots together at the base of the steps (always keeping the steps clear for safety, of course). It may go against our strong ‘everything must match’ instincts for symmetry, but good decor is an art. Take a risk and create some fall vignettes around your landscape and your home. Your guests will feel the luxury of a well-appointed space.
Decor definitely is a victim of Christmas Creep, but another area it invades is food. We all have our family traditions around the holidays, but lately it seems the winter holidays are stuffing our fall with their rich, sugary foods. Resist the urge to jump ahead. Plenty of scrumptious fall harvest desserts are waiting for their turn to shine.
Hershey Kiss and Nutter Butter acorns are a bite-sized dessert you can recruit the kids to make. And what shape says “fall” more than an acorn? Here’s what you do: paint the bottom of Hershey Kiss with a tiny bit of creamy peanut butter. Top with a mini Nutter Butter cookie (either whole or twisted apart with the cream side down). Dab the bottom of a semi-sweet chocolate chip with peanut butter and place in the middle of the cookie. The kids can assemble these while their parents are preparing dinner.
The chocolate acorns notwithstanding, for fall desserts we want to avoid overly sweet tastes. Sweetness is tied to winter holidays. Autumn is for deeper colors, aromas and tastes. Sweet potato pie need not be too sugary. Oatmeal cookies can rely on raisins for the right amount of sweetness. Bakers know the amounts of sugar in most recipes can be halved without losing the delicious qualities of the desserts. Think caramel, apples, and cranberries for autumn colors and tastes. Try a version of your favorite dishes without as much sugar. Cut the sugar amount down by ⅓ or ½. The natural flavors of the ingredients have a chance to shine when less sugar is added. And after such a heavy harvest meal, a little bit of sweetness goes a very long way.
Resist the creep
There will be plenty of time to deck the halls. Keep the autumn in the season. It may remind you to slow down and soak up the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.