Looking for a great (and free) way to get a few extra design tips? I always am as I’m still learning how to style our house to match our personalities and still trying become a wonderful hostess like my mother. I’m not hosting the holidays this year, but that didn’t stop me from attending Pottery Barn’s How to Entertain with Style class with my mom yesterday. It was a fun weekend activity, and it gave my mom (who does host large Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter gatherings) and myself some new ideas for entertaining on Thanksgiving.
Pottery Barn offers complimentary decorating classes and events throughout the year, which I learned from finally reading one of the emails I regularly get from them. They also offer an additional 10% off to class attendees, which applies to items already on sale as well as regular priced items. It sounded like a good mother/daughter activity so my mom and I headed to my local Pottery Barn to check it out.
It was on Sunday at 10, an hour before the store officially opens. Our class had a focus on entertaining for Thanksgiving, but a lot of the tips are transferable to any occasion. They started with the ever important centerpiece, and then they moved on to place settings. They suggest never using more than five elements for a centerpiece, and they also shared the idea to put a wreath on the table with candles in the middle of it. While discussing the table setting, they gave a refresher on how to set a place setting so that was nice for those of us who rarely set a formal table like myself.
They finished with how to set up a buffet for Thanksgiving. The advice from the pros was to have the food at different heights throughout the table to make it more visually stimulating. They had a lot of great serving pieces out, but there is no way all of our food on an average holiday would fit on a table this size since we typically have a very large gathering. But they stressed that you should do the same thing for a large group as you would for a dinner for six. One of my favorite ideas from the class was to hollow out a large pumpkin to use as an ice bucket for white wine.
At the end of about an hour long class, they handed out a pamphlet with some of the highlights from the class and a few additional ideas.
And I snagged the Fall/Winter 2011 paint deck too since it might come in handy with our upcoming guest bedroom redo.
After the class, we wandered around the store to see if there was anything we couldn’t live without. I picked up two boxes of flameless tealights (at $6.00 each before the discount) to use in our sun room lanterns.
My mom did a little more shopping in anticipation for the upcoming holiday season. She picked up these three vertical iron candle holders (not the wide one), and I thought for a minute we were going to get into a fight over one of them as we watched a lady walk behind the counter and take it from our pile of merchandise that we started while we were still looking. That had my mom’s name on it even. Lucky for us, we happened to be there, or our Thanksgiving might not be quite as beautiful with only two of the candle holders. Ballsy shoppers at Pottery Barn so stay alert if you’re heading there this holiday season.
She also grabbed a bunch of pillar candles that were on sale to stock up because Pottery Barn truly has the best candles around. They don’t drip all over your house because they are made to burn down in a tunnel fashion. My mom also grabbed some faux acorns to adorn either the table or a hurricane vase perhaps and a few decorative candles that I’m sure she will never bring herself to burn (like the hedgehog here and a few quails that all sold out online). Because who could burn that cute face?
Even if we aren’t sporting the featured ideas from the class on our tablescapes this year, it was a fun day of shopping, eating (gotta love P.F. Chang’s), and chatting (since we basically have to be alone so that others don’t judge the length and/or content of our conversations.) If you need a few tips for hosting a holiday or just looking for an enjoyable and free activity, check out the Pottery Barn events. On November 13 they are hosting a How to Decorate for the Holidays class that will be sure to have lots of good ideas for bringing holidays into your home.