By Kelly MontgomeryProvided by
It's that time of year again. We're just a few days away from the holiday where you give thanks, cook up a storm, stuff yourself with all your favorite foods, and enjoy a day or two off from work. It's not just a great holiday in itself, but it starts off the holiday season with festive cheer, good food, and a note to be grateful for what you have. Oh, and that Black Friday thing. Everyone's traditions are different, but we've taken it upon ourselves to give you a little guide to some things that you might need come Thursday. Whether you're heading to your mom's house or doing Thanksgiving on your own, we have no doubt that at least a few of these items will come in handy.
Your nicest winter outfit
In our experience, Thanksgivings tend to end up on the more casual side of the holiday spectrum, but that doesn't mean you get to wear jeans and a t-shirt to your gathering. Put on your winter best with the J.Crew V-Neck Cashmere Sweater ($200) and a pair of corduroy's like the Polo Ralph Lauren Wide Weave Corduroy Trousers ($165) from Mr. Porter. Throw on a plain or plaid shirt under your sweater and add some Suede Wingtip Brogues ($510) and you're all set to look nice and be comfortable.
It may not be obligatory until Christmas rolls around, but documenting the memories of family and friends while you spend the holiday eating, drinking, and laughing will leave you with great photos of loved ones to go in that (Facebook) album. For a great camera to carry around to almost any event, we like the Canon Powershot S100 ($428), which has 12.1 megapixels and features a 3-inch screen, 5x optical zoom, HD movie mode, and face-detection technology.
You might have a trustworthy roasting pan already in your cupboards that's been in use for years, but if it's your first Thanksgiving on your own or as a new family, it's probably the most important thing to make sure you have. Cooking a turkey to perfection is an art and requires the right tools, like this Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack ($160) from Williams-Sonoma. This roasting pan will get the job done and can even be monogrammed with your initials.
Part of cooking a perfect turkey is making sure that it reaches the exact right temperature before you take it out of the oven: not higher, and not lower. The only way to ensure success is with a thermometer. You can use an old-fashioned kind, but you'll be opening the oven to check it every half hour. Instead, try something like the OXO Digital Leave-in Thermometer ($40), which has a separate probe and display so that you can see the turkey's current temperature on the counter instead. The thermometer also gives you warning when the turkey is 10-degrees below desired temperature, and when it has reached that temperature.
Whether you're curling up by the fire or settling in to watch a few movies, you'll need at least a few cozy blankets lying around. We're a fan of the classic tartan patterns of this Pendleton Merino Throw ($108), which will keep you warm and add a little festive winter style to your house.
If you're cooking up a storm, you'll want to make sure that you don't get your holiday outfit covered in sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Throw on a classic red apron like this monogrammed version ($20) and you won't miss a beat in the kitchen. It's got pockets for all the necessary cooking tools and everyone will know who's boss.
Although retail stores seem to be getting in the spirit early this year, it's tradition for many to start thinking about Christmas as soon as the Thanksgiving meal is finished. We personally like throwing on the Frank Sinatra Christmas playlist as we cook, but watching a few lovable Christmas-themed movies is another good way to go. Get in the holiday spirit with films like Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, and Love Actually.
Wine or other beverages
This one is particularly important if you aren't doing the cooking, or are a guest at someone's house. Bringing a bottle of wine will not only make you a considerate guest, but everyone will get to enjoy whatever you choose to bring. Both red and white can go well with a Thanksgiving meal, but it might be best to ask your grocer what might pair well with a festive turkey dinner. Other beverages to bring if you're a guest might include a seasonal beer, hard cider, or fresh apple cider.
You don't need a whole table-scape to wow your guests or family when it's time to sit down for your Thanksgiving meal. Simply lighting some candles will signal the special occasion without going overboard. We like these Beeswax Candles ($29 to $59) because they have a simple neutral color and they are non-scented, meaning that they won't interfere with the delicious smells already coming from the kitchen.
This applies to iPhones as well, but iPads themselves have become helpful tools at home for a multitude of reasons. Set up an iPad dock like the iHome iD9 ($100) while you cook your meal and play some holiday tunes and check recipes on your iPad at the same time. When it's time to sit down or relax after dinner, just take the dock with you and you'll have holiday music throughout the house.