how to get ready for the entertaining season & some tablescape ideas

Do you like to host gatherings in your home? Oh good! Then this post is for you. As we travel into the fall season we are heading into the most social part of the year, full of holidays and gatherings. Here are some tips and ideas to help you navigate the entertaining season.

As hosts, there are things we can do now to be prepared and ready for mixing and mingling in our homes. If the host is relaxed and comfortable, she will put her guests at ease and provide a festive environment.

things to do now to relieve stress for the entertaining season

  1. Clean table linens
  2. Polish silver
  3. Organize and stock pantry and bar
  4. Sharpen kitchen knives and scissors
  5. Make sure all kitchen appliances and tools are functioning properly
  6. Prep tabletop dishes, glassware, etc.
  7. Access and dust off large platters and serverware
  8. Stock up on candles for ambience (votives, tapers, pillars, scented, seasonal, etc.)
  9. Create playlists to have ready to set the tone at gatherings
  10. Plan menus and recipes
  11. Declutter areas where you will be gathering in your home
  12. Decorate and create a welcoming atmosphere
metals II – sterling silver

This seems like a long and maybe complex list, but I bet some of you do these tasks regularly. On that note, make lists of everything you need to do. Make the lists and double check the lists. There’s nothing better than crossing something off the list. Am I right?

Having all your ducks in a row will help you be present for your guests, rather than scattered and stressed. Not only do you want to be present, but you also want to be intentional. Planning your tables cape and the background music and the scent of the candles in the air are all the details that help create that festive and comfortable setting for our guests.

thanksgiving prep

This is how I break down the next few months as far as entertaining themes. I hope this gives you some ideas of what you would like to do in your own home (or maybe do not want to do). You have to do you. Your gatherings should reflect how you like to live, eat, drink, etc. Your guests are there to share with you in your home.

table scape ideas for the entertaining season

This is how the next few months have looked like in our home in the past. I am guessing they will play out very similarly, which always helps to plan the current year.

If you click on the links below the pictures it will take you to the original post with more pictures and details.

September – early fall celebrations

a farewell fall tablescape
a farewell fall tablescape

Our children are college age now, so this time of year is always a time of farewell celebrations, enjoying our last meals and gatherings together until they come home on breaks.

fall tablescape
a farewell fall tablescape

It’s the prefect excuse for me to set a festive and special table, including seasonal details.

early fall tablescape inspiration
fall tablescape inspiration

October – Halloween celebrations

halloween tablescape
halloween tablescape

Halloween is always a super fun holiday to channel your inner child. At least it is for me. 😉 I have always enjoyed a good suspenseful mystery and a touch of the macabre. Queue in Vincent Price.

macabre halloween tablescape
green & black halloween tablescape

When our kids were littles, I had to tone down the spooky and macabre. Even though this is a whimsical table in my book, it still has a bit of edginess. lol. I can’t help myself.

halloween tablescape fun
halloween tablescape fun

There are some fun Halloween projects planned for the blog this season. I cannot wait to get them done and share with you here!

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November – Thanksgiving celebrations

Thanksgiving tablescape

Thanksgiving is the quintessential fall holiday that brings us all together regardless of race, religion, culture etc. As a naturalized US citizen, having been born in Uruguay, I fully appreciate this holiday and everything it symbolizes.

rustic thanksgiving tablescape

I love hosting Thanksgiving in our home and cooking together as a family. From a young age, I have always loved the colors, flavors and scents of the season, but as an adult I fully embrace the meaning behind the holiday.

thanksgiving tablescape with mixed metals

I also love that Friendsgiving has become a thing. Although many of us include friends at our Thanksgiving tables, there are still many friends who spend it with their own families. This is a great excuse to gather together again with friends we consider family.

mercury glass Friendsgiving tablescape

December – Christmas celebrations

sentiment Christmas tablescape

We celebrate Christmas, and our big celebration is on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day tends to be an intimate affair with just our immediate family.

We are a small enough group that all of us fit at the dining room table on Christmas Eve. If you have a larger crowd and include a children’s table, make sure to make it fun and festive for the little ones.

farmhouse truck | woodie tabbescape

During the month of December, we entertain more than usual so sometimes a festive table that doesn’t necessarily scream”Christmas” table is the right thing.

winter greens tablescape

Remember if you click on the links below the pictures it will take you to the original post with more pictures and details.

closing thoughts on the entertaining season

While researching the topic for this post, I read about a couple who 1/2 hour before their guests arrive share a cocktail together to start the festivities. I love this! It’s a great idea. I love the sentiment. Unfortunately, it would never work in our home. Do what works for you.

Mister M is running the vacuum literally 5 minutes before the guests arrive, and I am always putting the last minute touches on the appetizers or lighting candles or touching up my make-up. That’s why it’s so important to have as much of the things you can do ahead of time, done and crossed off the list! Remember, be intentional and be present. It puts your guests at ease as they feel welcome. This way everyone enjoys the festivities and all your hard work is rewarded.

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

Mark Twain

sharing @ between naps on the porch


  1. Carol Benton says:

    Making lists well in advance is such a smart tip for time-saving organization. I find that I’m less stressed if I start to prepare well in advance of any special occasionl The holiday tablescapes are so pretty!

    1. yes Carol! Even when I simply start my day with a list of tasks & projects I want to accomplish it’s super helpful for my productivity. Thanks for the visit. XO- MJ

  2. Kathy says:

    Hi MaryJo,
    You have set so many pretty tablescapes. I think the December ones are favorites with the pretty shades of green and natural elements. Even though I start early, I am like you and your husband and am doing so many things at the last minute!

    1. Yup, it doesn’t matter how early I start or how many lists I make there’s always last minute stuff. But imagine if I don’t prep?!? I’d be so stressed. No bueno. XO- MJ

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