This year, Thanksgiving will likely look a little different. Big feasts will be replaced with intimate gatherings — and if we’re being honest, we’re excited. It will be nice to remove some of the pressure of a big holiday event, especially if you’re the host, and just enjoy the cherished time with your family. Isn’t that what the holidays should be about anyway?
Vancouver’s Sophie Collins works in tech by day, but has a passion for good food, great wine, and beautiful events. Case in point: her recent Covid-friendly Thanksgiving dinner. (Canadian Thanksgiving is about a month and a half before ours!) Her cozy dinner for four is exactly what we’ll be trying to replicate in two weeks time, so we snagged a few tips from Sophie to make it all happen. Read on for her advice + don’t miss the recipes at the end!
- Be OK to outsource ingredients and dishes. This was the first year we have hosted Thanksgiving and wanted to make sure our focus was on the main elements: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Decor. I bought the Cranberries, Gravy and Pie Crust from incredible local vendors which made prep so much easier!
- There are no rules when it comes to putting together your Thanksgiving feast. Over brussels sprouts? Swap in a seasonal salad. Mom likes pumpkin pie and husband likes apple? Make both and keep the other sides minimal. Make this dinner YOURS and forget the rest!
- Pick a few key elements that speak to you to make the table beautiful. For me, that was the Black U Candle from Glaze Studio (also so cute on a shelf), incredible ceramic plates and servingware, unique rose petal votives, and a small flower arrangement (outsourced this as well!) Not oversetting the table allowed for me to plate every dish and bring it to the table.
- Put together a fall playlist that speaks to you. My go to fall songs make you feel cozy, like you want to curl up by the fire. ‘Tis the season after all!
- Put the phone away. As much I love sharing everything to Instagram, since becoming a mom and knowing I’d be cooking all day, I took snaps and videos throughout the day and posted the next day. It allowed me to be present with my family, soak in the smells and feelings of the season. In fact, I take one day off per week from Instagram, completely deleting the app! This allows me to reset and check in with how much I’m mindlessly scrolling.
Simple Apple Cider Cocktail
Unfortunately I didn’t get to indulge in this step given that I’m pregnant with baby boy #2 but this is an insane mocktail too!
Fill a glass with ice and pour 1 oz of Bourbon into the glass, stirring (this unlocks the aromas).
Fill a glass with half apple cider and half sparkling water (my Soda Stream is such a good investment and cuts down on one time use drink vessels)
Top with cranberries (you can also add apple slices, cinnamon sticks, or even orange slices)
Mixed Greens with Roasted Squash and Sliced Pears
This is a lighter alternative which is a fun palette cleanser after filling your plate with turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing.
2 handles mixed farm greens
1 delicata squash, deseeded (save the seeds), cut in half and sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey
Salt & pepper
Roast the delicata squash with olive oil, honey, salt and pepper at 375F for 12 min/side.
At the same time, rinse the seeds and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 15 mins or until slightly brown.
Once the squash has cooled, assemble the salad, topping with sliced pear, chopped sage and dressing (below).
1 tbsp jalapeno, diced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper
Melt all ingredients in a small saucepan. When cool, add 2 tbsp olive oil and whisk.
For a breakdown of my small Thanksgiving, feel free to check out the Thanksgiving highlights on my Instagram, where I share my family’s secret mashed potato recipe.
Photos: Christie Graham Photography // Flowers: Flower Factory // Hair: Chris Funk // Rose Petal Votives: Monika Hibbs Home // Ceramics: Janaki Larsen // Groceries: Legends Haul (Vancouver and Whistler locals can use SC10 for 10% off) // Wine: Spade & Sparrows // Black U Candle: Glaze Studio