It seems the worst has come to pass; the very last episode of Fixer Upper has been put to bed. While fans will have plenty of opportunities to get their shiplap fix at Target with Joanna Gaines' new Hearth and Hand line, there's no denying things are going to be different. I mean, Chip and Joanna Gaines are in Italy as I type this, guys, so what does that mean for the Gaines' Thanksgiving traditions? Will they forego the quintessential American holiday in favor of tiny cups of espresso and ancient ruins? How can this be?
Let's face it, Chip and Joanna Gaines have come to sort of embody all sorts of great American-ish things. Like that modern farmhouse aesthetic Joanna is always going on about. So it seems weird to find out that the couple took off right after they finished filming their last episode of Fixer Upper for a romantic holiday in Florence, rather than staying in their hometown of Waco, Texas to cook up a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Maybe not weird, just not what I was picturing. And that's important.
Although to be perfectly fair, I really don't know much about what a traditional Gaines family Thanksgiving would look like... so let's delve together, shall we?
Joanna is all about hosting, and Thanksgiving seems to be one of her favorite holidays to host. In 2014, she hosted a Magnolia Fall Gathering where she shared some of her best ideas on how to host a memorable Thanksgiving, according to her blog:
Several ideas for the evening were simple clipboards ($1 each) with a “give thanks” message on it. These are great party favors for your guests. We also gave attendees a simple “Give Thanks” banner that they could string on their mantle and let the family write what they are thankful for. I am all about designing with meaning and these banners are a great reminder for us all.
It's no secret that Joanna is also a big fan of baking. As a mom of four, she shares some of her favorite recipes for things like banana bread, homemade churros, and pecan pie in her quarterly magazine, Magnolia Journal. She also wrote in a blog post that she's a fan of giving food items for hostess gifts, like this slow-cooker apple butter I am definitely going to try and probably not give away to anyone.
Just because Chip and Joanna are willing to host (and have hosted Thanksgiving in a barn on their farmhouse property more than once, apparently) doesn't mean they're planning on doing all the work. While Joanna likes to make sure there are lots of personal touches — like using flowers and little berries to create natural napkin rings — once it's time for the feast she likes to keep things simple, according to an article in the autumn 2016 edition of Magnolia Journal:
Start by declaring that dinner is a potluck — it takes some of the pressure off of you and allows your friends to contribute their own culinary talents to the feast.
She also noted that she likes to serve the food "buffet-style" to allow for more guests, mixing and matching linens, chairs, and china for an informal look that obviously still looks amazing.
As happy as I am for the Gaineses to be getting a little down time over the holidays in Italy, I wonder if they aren't missing the big turkey fest just a little. Especially now that their Hearth and Hand line is bankrupting pretty much everyone I know, despite the very reasonable prices.
But, perhaps they'll come home in time to celebrate the holidays in true Gaines fashion; in a barn decked out better than any house I've ever seen, with piles of food, perfect little details, and a laid-back attitude. It warms the cockles of my heart to imagine it.
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