How to: Holiday , The season for celebrations big and small

By Janelle Erlichman Diamond

Styled by Marlo and Laurie Atkinson with [Fab-Ri-Kāt]

Photographs by Justin Tsucalas / Plaid photo

November 2021

How to Holiday

’Tis the season for celebrations big and small.

November 2021

We’ve made it to another holiday season. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Okay, it’s been a rough year and a half but at least it feels good to be together—safely and smartly—and toasting better things to come. There are so many ways to commemorate this year, whether it’s a buffet with friends, a plated dinner with family, or a potluck with neighbors, and we are celebrating them all here. Here’s to heath, happiness, and leftovers.

ON THE TABLE: Grilled lamb chops with bourbon cherries, roasted autumn root vegetables including delicata squash, carrots, red onions, and radish, and broccoli rabe with garlic chives from Bowl of Cherries Catering & Events. Greenery and mushroom arrangement from Spore and Seed. Plates: Good Neighbor. Napkins: Becket Hitch. Flatware: [fab-ri-kāt] Glassware: White Glove Rentals. Wood bowl, ceramic flower, and vintage rug/table runner: Domain.


We Can Be Together Even If We Can’t Be Together

“I know we’re all tired of virtual celebrations,” says Jess Rutherford, founder of Sentimental Fools Events, “but there are cool ways to do it now.” Families can watch a movie interactively or play a group game online. “If you are going back to the kind of celebrations you had before [the pandemic], don’t forget about the people who aren’t,” says Rutherford. You don’t have to hang out all evening on Zoom—that’s so 2020—but “bring them in for the toast or dessert,” she says. You can start the night with some virtual small talk and a drink before you part ways for dinner. But Rutherford suggests ending the night with one more check-in. Pour a cup of coffee, open the laptop, and “have a slice of pie together.”

“We immediately thought of garnishing the table with elements that represent gathering, foraging, and the bounty of the harvest season.”


Forest Walk napkins ($15 each) at Becket Hitch.

Decorative mushrooms ($16.99 each) at Domain.

Reclaimed Wood Chain ($42) at Ruxton Mercantile.

Floral resin tray ($58) at Wren & Olivia.

Citrine candle holder ($52) and Mo & Co. dipped beeswax tapers ($18 set of two) at Tortuga.



  • 1.5 ounces Baltamaro Vol 1: Fernet
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 ounces simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and three fresh basil leaves. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a stem of fresh basil. Serves one.

ON THE TABLE: A gluten-free meal of pan-seared spiced duck breast with raspberry port sauce and watercress oil, with a quinoa salad, carrot cream, and green onion from Cielo Verde at the Visionary. Floral centerpiece from Pomona Floral. Linens, napkins, plates, and wood vessel centerpiece: Hedgerow. Flatware and salt cellar: Ruxton Mercantile. Gold artichoke: Domain. Champagne flute: Becket Hitch. Champagne: French Paradox. Chocolate: Dayna Palmer. Bell and crystal glassware: [fab-ri-kāt]


Holiday Parties Are Getting The Shelter Treatment.

Outdoor entertaining feels like an extra safe way to celebrate the holidays—even in the winter—and requests for backyard tents are spiking. “Everyone is in a celebratory mood, with the effectiveness of vaccines and the easing of restrictions,” says Tim Sperry, President of Sperry Tents, known for its signature sailcloth rental tents. “Clients are making up for lost time by planning celebrations that have been on hold, or they’re increasing the size of their usual family traditions. Everyone has a newfound appreciation for celebrating outdoors, and with the help of tent heaters, there’s no reason to stop just because summer ends.” One thing to keep in mind: Heaters can warm a tent by roughly 25 degrees higher than the outside temperature, says Sperry. So, if it’s a 35- or 40-degree night, you can expect 60- to 65-degree temps inside your tent. Make sure your guests are dressed appropriately. Maybe place a cozy blanket on the back of each seat. And says Sperry, “Opting for a full floor underneath your tent will keep guests’ feet off the chilly ground.”

“An extremely unique centerpiece can be a great conversation starter and don’t be afraid to fill your table—keep adding in small elements and trust your gut. You’ll know when it’s too much.”


Be Home forged gold serving set ($40) at Ruxton Mercantile.

Golden Object grid bottle ($72) at Good Neighbor.

Sophie stemless glass ($15), wine glass ($19.50), and Champagne flute ($17) at Becket Hitch.

Magnifying glass ($32) at Domain.

Horn speckled bowl ($12) at Ruxton Mercantile.

Juliska Berry & Thread silver and gold tone napkin rings ($25 each) at Becket Hitch.



  • 2 ounces Baltimore Spirits Company Shot Tower Sunshine and Flowers Liqueur
  • 2 ounces ginger beer
  • 1 ounce soda water

Pour ingredients over ice in a tall glass and garnish with a mix of cucumber slices, lemon wheels, berries, and any other seasonal fruit you’d like. Serves one.

ON THE TABLE: Braised greens with peppers and onions, sorghum-glazed wedged sweet potatoes, smoked sage “potlikker” cornbread stuffing, Maldon-salted raisin pumpernickel biscuits with cranberry hibiscus preserves, brown sugar sauerkraut with smoked turkey, and black-eyed pea miso seared duck breast from H3irloom Food Group. Floral decor from Helen’s Garden. Ceramic plates: The Broken Plate Co. Serveware: H3irloom Food Group. Candle: Hon’s Honey. Bead garland: Domain. Hexagon ceramic cup: Taken. Silverware, pewter charger: [fab-ri-kāt]


Yes, Fermented Tea Can Be A Cause For Celebration.

It’s always a good idea to have a booze-free option at a holiday party—that isn’t just a dusty case of Diet Coke. “Kombucha is a solid alternative to both soda and alcohol,” says Davon Pulliam, owner of Tortuga Kombucha. “It can have the effervescence similar to Champagne and sparkling wine or can be carbonated like a soda.” It has a slightly tangy, tart flavor and depending on the ingredients can be floral, fruity, herbaceous, or even spicy. Pulliam loves it because the bubbles act like a palate cleanser and the acidity “helps stimulate the palate when served with food.” And sure, kombucha can party—but through flavor, not alcohol content. “There are multiple methods to serve kombucha; bottled, kegged, or canned,” says Pulliam. One less common way is in a carafe—known as the continuous fermentation method. Pulliam recommends creating a “spiced” or “mulled” version for the ultimate Christmas kombucha.

“It’s important to pre-plan a potluck menu with your guests so you have a variety of dishes.”


Hon’s Honey beeswax candle ($14-22) at Taken.

Tramake bamboo plate set ($38 for four) at Tortuga.

Flower ($20) and oval ($24) felt trivets at Homebody General Store.

Party Food book ($12.95) at Ruxton Mercantile.

Pineapple West Co. square coaster set ($18) at Taken.

Game On pad ($14) and pencils ($9.50) at Becket Hitch.

Share the Love Platter ($34) at Becket Hitch.

Baker with lid ($12) at Ruxton Mercantile.



  • 1 ounce Fumus Pumila Smoked Apple Spirit
  • 1 ounce Baltamaro Szechuan Amaro
  • .5 ounces honey syrup (one-part honey, one-part water)

Add all ingredients to a teacup with a bag of Earl Grey tea and top with hot water. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a star anise pod. Serves one.

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