Next Issue Guest Curator Bonnie MccarthyAs I write, there’s leftover Halloween candy in the pantry and holiday catalogs lining the mailbox—this can only mean one thing: it’s almost Thanksgiving. We need these kinds of clues in Southern California.

This year, I’m hosting family and friends for turkey day and I’ve been scouting Next Issue for inspiration. Our fondest memories are of the special moments and the winning AFV videos made during the holidays, but we can’t forget the fun that goes into planning.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about how to design a gorgeous table, give a great toast, jazz up a menu and create a thoughtfully-appointed guest room—and then, make it your own. Whether hosting your first Thanksgiving or your fiftieth, I believe it’s personal style—not the weight of tradition or passing trends—that carry the day.

My younger sister (a former hotel exec) once reassured me as I panicked in preparation for a party, “It’s not the house guests will remember, it’s the way you made them feel.” Bottom line: if you have to choose between vacuuming behind the couch or picking the perfect playlist, go for the tunes and serve dinner by candlelight.

Bonnie McCarthy, style anthropologist and writer at This American Home.

Connect with me:

@ThsAmericanHome

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The Feast Itself

Singular Style: A Proper Harlem Thanksgiving

Food & Wine

Swedish Chef Marcus Samuelsson allows a peek into his art-filled Brownstone and his eclectic Thanksgiving traditions. He says, “I’m all about the sides.” (Recipes included!) Don’t miss the “30-Second Holiday Wine Guide” in the same issue to help you pick the perfect pairing. Cheers!

The Crowdsourced Thanksgiving

Sunset

Sounds infinitely cooler than a potluck, doesn’t it? Feast your eyes on Amy Machnak’s updated side dishes just begging for delegation. Afterwards, check out “Walk This Way” for west coast hikes and trails to work off that second/third slice of pie.

Thankgiving, Any Way You Wish!

Country Living

Three feasts, three ways. In addition to menus and recipes, I loved the ideas for creating new holiday traditions (create a wine capsule!), giving elegant toasts, and mixing up cocktails. In a word: Inspiring. Don’t miss the darling pie-shaped to-go boxes on page six.

An Almost Effortless Feast

Parents

Kid-friendly advice for a Thanksgiving everyone will enjoy. Simple cheats for chic family style. Hints include: utilize the slow cooker, and never turn down a clean-up crew!

The Holiday Spirit

25 Unexpected Things to Be Grateful for Right Now

O, The Oprah Magazine

Ready to get your grateful on? Oprah’s got it covered. A few of my personal faves: “It may be possible to lose weight while you sleep, and “Bushy eyebrows are in.”

The Guide/Home: The Ultimate Guest Room

Real Simple

If guests are coming over the river and through the woods to stay at your house this Thanksgiving, this checklist may come in handy. Think motion sensor night-light and providing a Wi-Fi password on a laminated note card.

Etiquette: Giving & Thanking

Bon Appétit

In an issue devoted to the year’s biggest food fest, it was tough to choose just one article. The winner was Ben Schott’s turkey day game plan, covering everything from the timing of cocktail hour to dress code, etiquette, seating plans, playlists, kitchen-cabinet policies and kick off times.

The Ultimate Toy Guide Holiday 2014

Today's Parent

Black Friday doorbusters and cyber sales are slowly taking a bite out of Thanksgiving Eve. For those skipping dessert and hitting the stores early, these editors have kid-tested some of 2014’s hottest toys. Let the games begin!