Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you are one of the brave souls who volunteered to host a holiday dinner this season, it’s time to start planning! As someone who loves to host and throw dinner parties, I get excited thinking about how I can create a magical experience for my guests at the table. Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your dinner table this year.

1. Light it up – with candles.

If there’s one thing that kills the ambiance it’s bright light. Turn off the overhead lights and sprinkle the table with delicate votives mixed with taller candlesticks to create texture and warm light that gives everyone a glow.

2. Mix and Match

If you’re like most of us, you don’t own a matching dinner set for 16 people. Create an eclectic experience by pulling together some different plates that accent each other.

3. Skip the Flowers

Play off the season’s harvest using pumpkins and natural greenery like eucalyptus.

4. Leave Space

Often we focus all the energy on making sure every detail is in place on the table and we forget to think about where food will sit. Leave plenty of space for the day’s most esteemed guest, the Thanksgiving spread!

5. Opt Outside (if you can)

If you live in a warm area and can handle being outside, creating a backyard dinner can be intimate and bring a unique element to the night. Pull people away from the kitchen and enjoy a dinner under the stars.

When it comes to planning a big event for family and friends, we always recommend divvying up tasks in the kitchen and asking guests to bring a bottle of wine or dessert. Spend less time stressing about everything being perfect and take the time to sit down and enjoy the company. You deserve it!