The holiday season is a time to spend with friends and family, but November also brings the hustle and bustle of holiday parties, buying gifts, and preparing meals along with running your business as you plan ahead for next year.
This issue of American Lifestyle is here to help make this season a little easier with tips for hosting an environmentally friendly Thanksgiving, delicious desserts perfect for your holiday gatherings, subscription gift boxes you can give to anyone on your list, and a look at design trends for 2023.
Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to practice gratitude and give back to the environment. The enclosed guide offers ten practical steps for reducing your carbon footprint this holiday.
This time of year calls for warm, chocolatey treats to be enjoyed with your loved ones. Inside you’ll find two delicious recipes from Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes that offer unique takes on classic treats perfect for the cooler weather.
Gift shopping can often be challenging, especially when you have a long list of people to buy for or are shopping for someone who’s a bit picky. Check out this list of subscription box gifts that will help take the hassle out of gift giving. With just a few clicks, you can check everyone off your list.
2022 is soon coming to an end, which means it’s out with the old and in with the new in interior design. Get ready to say hello to 2023 with these fun design trends that are sure to impress in the new year.
Here’s to a relaxing and festive holiday season ahead!
Make today what you want tomorrow to be,
Thanksgiving is all about having family get-togethers, savoring culinary favorites, and kicking off the holiday season. And because it is the season of giving, it’s also an opportune time to give back to Mother Nature by reducing your carbon footprint and creating an environmentally friendly celebration.
You can begin creating an eco-friendly holiday by visiting your local farmers market or signing up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, through which you can buy seasonal and locally sourced produce directly from farmers. When shopping locally, you not only consume fresher, more flavorful fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and dairy products but also contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions because fewer trucks need to travel long distances for food delivery.
Meat products are known to release greenhouse gasses and have a larger carbon footprint per calorie than grains or vegetables. Adding some plant-based side dishes to your Thanksgiving Day menu is a way you can help support this effort to reduce dangerous emissions. For example, when assembling your stuffing, use vegetable stock rather than chicken stock; trade out the sausage for an all-veggie stuffing consisting of carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, and chestnuts; substitute olive oil for butter; and use nondairy milk for your mashed potatoes.
The holidays are often a time of excess, especially with food. As a result, an estimated five million pounds of food is wasted annually between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in the United States. However, you can help limit food waste by carefully planning how much food you prepare. If you’re not sure how to determine this, websites like Save the Food can help you gauge the appropriate amount. If you do have leftovers, create a new recipe with them, freeze them for future consumption, or send some home with your guests in biodegradable food containers.
Be conscientious about the number of paper towels you use, and consider substituting them for cloth dish towels that can be washed and reused. Set your table with cloth napkins instead of paper ones; limit the use of disposable plastics such as plates, glasses, cutlery, and other serving dishes; store leftovers in reusable glass or plastic food containers rather than plastic bags; and use foil when wrapping food instead of plastic wrap since it may be recyclable if it’s clean. Finally, when purchasing beverages for your Thanksgiving dinner, such as soda, seltzer, iced tea, and the like, opt for recyclable aluminum cans or glass bottles.
The most resourceful way of doing your dishes is to put them in the dishwasher (if you have one) rather than filling your sink up with water. You can also conserve energy by cooking and baking in glassware or ceramic ware—both are energy-efficient and retain heat better than metal cookware, so the oven doesn’t need to stay on as long.
Simplify the recycling process for your guests by clearly labeling the trash and recycling bins and keeping them separated from each other to prevent confusion. Also, periodically check each bin to ensure that cans and bottles are ending up in the right place.
Be resourceful by decorating with recycled materials, if possible. Make festive centerpieces with seasonal items such as gourds, colorful dried flowers, and berries, and, depending on where you live, twigs, leaves, and acorns. Also consider using LED lights, renting chairs and tables instead of purchasing new ones, and using linen tablecloths instead of disposables.
It’s fun to send paper invitations for a holiday dinner party or a family reunion, but you can reduce paper waste by using a digital invite, which can be just as festive and creative as a paper version. Websites like evite.com, greenvelope.com, and paperlesspost.com offer great design templates, some of which are even free to use.
If you plan on giving a hostess gift, think about giving something that is ethically sourced, such as a 100 percent natural wood cutting board, undyed natural cotton napkins, or fair-trade picture frames made from sustainable wood. You can even make your own gift by giving a basket with home-baked goods and your favorite recipe cards finished off with a nice bouquet of flowers.
Be creative and environmentally savvy when wrapping your hostess gifts—and continue this new tradition throughout the holiday season. For example, instead of using nonrecyclable shiny wrapping paper and ribbons, cover your gifts with colorful shopping bags, old maps, recyclable paper, cloth ribbons, or other attractive fabrics. You can also reuse ribbons and bows from past gifts you have received. According to Stanford University, if every American family opted to wrap three gifts in reusable materials, the amount of saved paper would cover the equivalent of 45,000 football fields.
Whether you are hosting a Thanksgiving Day meal or are a contributing guest, there are plenty of ways to easily reduce your impact on the environment this season. No matter what small changes you make to your traditions, they’re worth it.
There’s nothing sweeter than baking together during the holidays. It’s the perfect time to decorate cookies, sit around the fire, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Emma Duckworth captures this sentiment perfectly with her unique takes on classic recipes in her cookbook Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes.
With a caffeinated twist, this caramel-filled, chocolate-covered dessert is sure to be a hit at your next holiday party.
This decadent recipe brings together peanut butter and chocolate for one delicious dessert. Offering a new approach to a classic treat, these molten lava cakes will quickly become a new favorite.
Reprinted with permission from Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes by Emma Duckworth, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. Photo credit: Emma Duckworth
recipe by emma duckworth
photos by emma duckworth
Yield: 16 bars
Tip: This makes an extra-thick layer of caramel. If you prefer a thinner layer, halve the caramel ingredients.
recipe by emma duckworth
photos by emma duckworth
Notes: Each oven is different, and whether you use metal dariole molds or ceramic ramekins will alter the cook time. Cook times can vary between 9 to 13 minutes. I suggest testing one lava cake to get the perfect timing that suits your oven.
Alternative fillings to peanut butter can be caramel sauce, chocolate hazelnut spread or jam.
Finding the perfect gift for those on your list can be difficult, but you can make your holiday shopping easier by gifting subscription boxes. These packages of hand-selected goodies can be arranged and mailed for you, and if you choose a several-week or several-month subscription for your recipient, it can be a gift that literally keeps on giving. Consider these subscription boxes for your gifting needs this season.
Treat the coffee lover in your life to a Bean Box Coffee Sampler, which includes 1.8-ounce samples of four roasts and an artisan treat, or a Coffee of the Month subscription, which offers 12 ounces of a selected coffee for that month. Options for the coffee sampler range from a single coffee sampler for $24 or one year of monthly samplers for $244, and Coffee of the Month subscriptions are available between three months ($69) and one year ($248). You can also choose either whole-bean or ground coffee with brewing suggestions for either subscription plan, and each one includes tasting notes.
You can give the taste of Japan with Bokksu, a monthly snack subscription-box service with at least twenty tasty goodies and teas. Prices are $49.99 for a month-to-month subscription and as low as $39.99 a month for a yearly subscription. You can skip certain shipments if you’d like, change the frequency of your subscription plan, and choose between several themed subscription boxes after the first box has shipped. Each box also includes a cultural magazine about how to best enjoy the snacks.
Surprise your special someone with monthly bouquets of sustainably grown fresh flowers from The Bouqs Co. Subscriptions start at $40 a month for a bouquet with ten to sixteen stems and with schedules ranging from weekly to monthly. With a Bouqs subscription, you can change your recipient, bouquet size, and delivery date with every order, preview your bouquets online before they ship, and snooze your subscription for up to three deliveries without canceling.
Cheese connoisseurs will savor Curdbox, a subscription box filled with three artisan cheeses, three foods to pair with your cheeses, and wine suggestions; specialty wines are even included in some boxes. Each box also has its own podcast and themed Spotify playlist. This delectable subscription-box option can be gifted for one months, six months, or a year, with prices starting at $49.95 for a monthly subscription, or $248.31 if you’d like to add wine to your subscription boxes.
Fashion and beauty aficionados on your gift list may appreciate a FabFitFun subscription box, which offers a selection of as many as eight discounted personal-care products, makeup, home decor, and accessories. You can send a quarterly box for $59.99 each or four quarterly boxes for $219.99. Recipients of a quarterly box can preselect four of the items in each box, while recipients of four boxes can choose all their items before they are shipped via the FabFitFun app or website.
Delight the home cook on your list with either a quarterly Special Delivery from Taste of Home subscription for $44.95 per box or a Plus Quarterly subscription for $99 per box, which will then automatically renew until canceled. Each quarterly subscription box will include a Taste of Home cookbook and six to seven test-kitchen-approved products, such as spice mixes and cooking gadgets, while the Plus Quarterly subscription box includes an additional two to four products.
Wine lovers are sure to enjoy the International Wine of the Month Club subscription box, which includes two bottles of wine from two different award-winning international wineries every month. There are four unique subscriptions available, which you can select based on the quality or type of wine, with prices ranging from $41.95 a month to $74.95 a month (plus shipping and handling). You can select between two and twelve shipments for your recipient with no auto-renewal or pick a monthly subscription that will ship until you cancel. Except for the Bold Reds Wine Club, you can choose to include either white wines, red wines, or both, and every subscription box includes winemaker profiles and tasting notes.
There is also a design-your-own club option where you can mix this club with a combination of other clubs through MonthlyClubs.com, including subscription boxes for beer, cheese, chocolate, cigars, and flowers. For instance, you could send your recipient a cheese subscription box one month and a chocolate subscription box the next and combine multiple shipments in one month if you’d like, or you can skip months for a completely custom subscription-box gifting schedule.
Every year, new concepts take the interior design world by storm, with design experts conjuring approaches and fresh new ways to design a home. As we say goodbye to trends like macramé, decorative crystals, and mass-produced “multicultural” knickknacks, look and plan ahead with this design outlook for 2023.
Leave the stresses of the world behind in a home optimized for maximum relaxation. You can start by investing in soothing materials that are expected to take center stage, such as travertine. Architectural Digest has described travertine, an earthy yet elegant limestone that’s subdued with a soothing texture, as the epitome of “material-forward zen decorating where visual calm is the holy grail.” You can also add soft, hand-woven rugs in just about every room to bring a soft touch to hard surfaces.
In addition, as people prioritize comfort, stuffy, reserved, and “staged” interiors are phasing out. Imbue a little more life, personality, and beloved objects into rooms that, until recently, limited your decorative choices to anonymous trends. Remember when you could only decorate your living room with ceramic jars, unread coffee table books, fiddle leaf figs, and woven baskets? That trend is no more.
The color experts at Coloro and the trendwatchers at WGSN have named Digital Lavender 2023’s Color of the Year. While this color may appear in product packaging, fashion, and electronics, it will also make waves in 2023 interiors. A slightly neon version of traditional lavender, this color inspires wellness, calm, and recuperation. “Already embedded in digital culture, we expect this imaginative colour to converge across virtual and physical worlds,” says WGSN.
Why use this specific color in your home? It helps you achieve the calming effect detailed above, without the need to solely rely on neutrals. In recent years, house plants have been integral components of relaxing interior design, and Digital Lavender adds an exciting contrast color that pairs nicely with potted greenery.
Introduce Digital Lavender for a touch of comfort in neutral rooms primarily decorated in white, tan, natural wood tones, earth tones, gray, or black. You can also add it as a pop of color in rooms that primarily consist of hard surface materials, such as kitchens. To refresh your home with stylish calm, seek out throw pillows, original wall art, or area rugs with Digital Lavender as well.
Inspired by celebrity culture, younger generations have spurred a fascination with glitz and glamour—including interiors that, as with ’80s high design, prize conspicuous consumption. Spare no expense, and leave your reservations at the front door; 2023 interiors may be delightfully gaudy, even imbuing laundry rooms, playrooms, and media rooms with high-end elements.
Keep an eye out for palatial aesthetics, including Corinthian columns and busts, as well as statement art that screams wealth. Glimmering metals will be in, and ornate antiques may come out of storage. Homebuyers may seek out classically high-end designs like Tuscan and Colonial and then update them with new materials for a 2023 refresh.
Make a regal statement with matching bouquets of fresh flowers, and set out your most impressive travel acquisitions on full display. Whether you’re continuing to work from a home office next year or your home is your end-of-day refuge, fill your space with features that make you feel relaxed and refined at the same time.
Walls should be more than the blank space between frames. 2023 will see the bourgeoning popularity of the statement wall. This style is similar to the popular accent walls of the early aughts but with much more texture and artistic flair.
Perfect for Instagram selfies and Zoom backgrounds, statement walls with dynamic wallpaper or oversized art will liven up any room. Also consider eccentric features like oversized bookshelves, painted murals, or unexpected materials like checkered wood paneling. The recent trend of gallery walls fits comfortably into this category as well, and they’re unlikely to go away soon.
You may even see biophilic walls become popular in 2023. Devoted to all things flora, biophilia includes vertical planters, shelves of small potted plants, and walls lined in tropical greenery. These statement walls maximize visual appeal without wasting precious square footage.
These designs may sound quirky, but planning your own statement walls will be a fun way to greet 2023. Plus, you can knock out the statement walls and overstated glamour trend listed above in one go.
In contrast to Nordic Minimalism, which adores clean, straight lines, 2023 will welcome a penchant for soothing curvature. You might find rounded archways, railings, or bathroom and kitchen countertops in new home builds next year.
Why are design experts softening lines for 2023? Curvature is naturally pleasing to the eye and inspires comfort, whereas straight, right angles have a more formal feel.
According to the interior design blog ITALIANBARK, searches for curved walls, countertops, and furniture have been increasing in 2022 and will likely lead to a noticeable trend in 2023. In other words, what people research now will be implemented by early next year. One subset of this trend is the spread of mushroom-like lamps and end tables like this product from AllModern. Find your own way to bring home curved, calming decor or architecture.
2023 is going to be a year of marked cultural shifts with home design changes to match. Consider this your guide to get current and lead the way into a new era of alluring design—an era centered on your own whims and what makes you calm and happy.