At the Table With Nfocus: Alex Vaughan and Quinn Kiesow

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? On the winter solstice, we like to take a walk outside right before sunset and gather up evergreen foliage and use it to decorate. It’s our way of honoring the change of season and shifting into the Christmas spirit. Our daughter loves this tradition!

What’s a must-have dish on your Thanksgiving table? We have a bit of an odd Thanksgiving. Our very good friends from NYC come down every year, and we make nachos. It started way back in LA, when Alex was out of town for Thanksgiving, and Quinn and our friend Nikolai made nachos together and had a lot of margaritas.

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving Day? The days before Thanksgiving are quite busy, and the days after are a whirlwind of Christmas décor, so the best thing for us is just that it all pauses for a moment and we’re able to spend time together.

At the Table With Nfocus: Alex Vaughan and Quinn Kiesow

With everyone spending so much more time at home this year, what’s your best advice for making the house feel special for the holidays? Turn off all the overhead lights, turn on the lamps, light lots of candles and light the fireplace. Bake some easy cookies, or make a big pot of spiced tea, even if you don’t drink it, just to smell up the house. I find those things work better than most “holiday” candles, which can be a little sickly sweet. And, of course, get lots of flowers!

What’s your best advice for entertaining or celebrating the holidays in a safe way? Get tested! Our drive-thru testing sites around town are super quick and easy, and the results are coming back within 24 hours these days. So, no reason to risk it. Get a test, and know for sure that you’re safe to be around before heading indoors and hugging on grandma.

What are your favorite seasonal flowers for holiday decorating? For holiday decorating, we’re all about the foliage. The fall foliage for Thanksgiving adds such beauty to every arrangement. For Christmas and Hanukkah, we love using multiple types of evergreen foliage together. Juniper, cypress, blue spruce, redwood, etc., are great greens; they create such wonderful texture when mixed together, and they can make a whole room smell so lovely.

What’s your best tip for holiday centerpieces? Keep them low so you don’t have to take them off the table to eat. Don’t use super-scented flowers, like lilies or paperwhites; you want to smell your food. Keep those for the living room and powder room. And normally, I would say to have all your house flowers correspond to the room that they are in, rather than each other, but for holidays, I like to make all the pieces correspond with each other to really help bring in the holiday spirit throughout the house.

Are there any new trends for holiday tables this year? We think the new trend should be calm and respectful conversations about our differences, with an emphasis on listening as a means to help bring us back together. The key here is calm, respectful and listening, rather than shouting or avoiding important topics. But aside from that, it seems dried flowers are huge right now. Adding them into fall flower arrangements creates wonderful texture. Some people are even opting for fully dried arrangements that they can hang onto long after Thanksgiving.

How do you typically dress up your Thanksgiving table? To be totally honest, this is the first year we will have a Thanksgiving table! We used to share our home with the shop, so our Thanksgiving table was the work table downstairs. So, picture leftover flowers, clippers and lots of leaves and stems on the ground. This year, since the tornado took down that house, we have a home that we do not share with the shop, so we are very grateful to have a legitimate Thanksgiving table, which will most likely feature a centerpiece of steamy, cheesy nachos and a pitcher of margaritas.

How will your holidays be different this year? It’s looking like this may be the first year in a long time that we won’t get to spend it with our NYC friends. But we will be in our cozy historic house, away from the stress of work, exploring all the ways we would like to create new traditions in this new home. We could not be more grateful for that!