With the state of things in the world today, many people (myself included) missed out on going to our local Renaissance Festival Celebrations. It was a real bummer to be sure! The smell of turkey legs, the taste of sweet mead on my lips, the roar of the crowd at the end of a joust… so many memories of laughter and merriment.
This unconventional year also means that our Thanksgiving celebrations may look a little different than pre-covid. Many families are planning smaller, more intimate parties to help with social distancing. Some are even taking advantage of FaceTime or Zoom to connect with others.
In line with our “Don’t make the holidays ‘normal’, make them epic” series here at Dice Mom, lets look at one HUGE advantage of having a smaller gathering.
In Thanksgivings past, I have cleaned my house top to bottom. I’ve had to make gallons of mashed potatoes, multiple pans of stove top stuffing, and towers of rolls to feed a small army of extended family members. I’m so focused on having enough food for everyone, that there isn’t much time to worry about anything else. I’m a sweaty mess, my hair smells like turkey grease, and the clean up… oh Lord the cleanup…
This year is different.
This year, I’m only cooking for a few people, which means I can really plan something memorable, something special, and something unique!
The wheels started turning, and that is where Ren Faire came into the picture. It is one of our favorite fall activities… and, best of all, there is already turkey! Ren Faire and Thanksgiving are a match made in heaven!
So, without further ado, here are 5 ways to bring Ren Faire home this holiday season for an Epic Thanksgiving that no one will soon forget!
1. The Feast
I mean, when you boil it all down, the feast is the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving festivities. If you want a celebration to remember, you have to have amazing food.
For truly unique dishes, I recommend HEROES’ FEAST: The Official Dungeons and Dragons Cookbook. There are so many Medieval/Renaissance era inspired dishes to chose from. Need a turkey recipe to “Wow” the crowd? Heroes’ Feast even features a Roasted Turkey recipe with Sausage Stuffing and Drippings. Why not make biscuits from scratch this year using the Yawning Portal Buttermilk Biscuits recipe? Why not a Wood Elf Forest Salad? My stomach is growling already!
For anyone interested in Alchoholic Beverages that will really impress your guests, check out the EverMead or the Dwarven Mulled wine!
Not only are the recipes mouth watering, but the art inside is absolutely stunning! Check it out by clicking the link below!
2. The Decor
If the meal is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration, then the table setting and decor are the flair that lets everyone know that THIS is a special occasion. Check out the links below for some of my favorites!
If you don’t want to go out and buy fancy china, and you hate doing the dishes as much as I do, check out these beautiful white and gold plastic plates and cutlery sets. Everything is disposable/recyclable, making clean up a breeze!
What is a medieval feast without a ridiculous amount of candles?? As a mom, I love these flameless options. They still give you that beautiful candle lit ambiance without the fire hazard. I especially like the different heights to give the table a sense of dimension and randomness which I think adds to the overall look.
Finally, and most importantly, the proper drink ware is essential to really get into the Ren Faire spirit! Goblets are always a great choice if your party is more into mead and mulled wine.
There are simple options:
Or you could chose something more ornate:
If you are part of the dark ale or apple cider sort of crowd, a set of beautiful steins can make that Thanksgiving toast really special!
3. The Music
Music is one of the most overlooked elements of a dinner party, but it is one of the most important things to think about when setting the “mood” or “theme” of your event. Music relaxes your guests, and acts as a filler for lulls in conversation. It is an element of party planning you never want to skimp on.
If you don’t already, make sure you have some way of playing music in your dining space. An easy and affordable option is an Echo Dot, like this one on Amazon:
Once you are set up for sound, I would like to humbly introduce you to a genre of music called Bard Core. There are plenty of Bard Core options on YouTube so it is easy to set up a channel to play throughout the night.
If you haven’t heard of it before, Bard Core is basically modern music reimagined by a Medieval minstrel. Not only is it calming and relaxing music for a dinner party, but it is one heck of a conversation starter!
Check out a couple of my favorites!
Hildegard Von Blingin’:
One Hour of Medieval Hip Hop Classics by Beedle the Bardcore:
I especially like this second one because it’s all instrumental, which is perfect background music for when you are enjoying your meal.
4. The Costumes
This one might be a reach for some of you, and that’s okay! But, if you have that Ren Faire outfit in storage, why not dust it off for a night of merriment? Or if dressing up for the first time sounds like fun, there are plenty of fun options to chose from! Check out these links below!
For the Maidens…
and the Squires.
Even young Knights and Princesses.
Remember, it’s 2020. There are no rules. Maybe this is the year to let go and do something really fun!
5. The Games
Everyone knows that Ren Faire is all about entertainment! From jousting matches, to fire jugglers, there is something interesting going on around every corner.
Obviously, if you and your guests are into Dungeons and Dragons, now is a great time for that special One Shot you’ve been wanting to try. Just make sure to have premade characters and maps ready to go ahead of time.
If DnD isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for something a little less mentally taxing when that turkey drowsiness sets in, there are some great Medieval themed board games you can try!
One of our favorites is called Kingsburg. It is a game of bribery and strategy where you are trying to win the favor of members of the royal court to build your town and your army.
If you are looking for something a little simpler, something to play with older kids perhaps, a rousing game of Carcassonne is always a winner. My 6 year old can play this game, so it is easy to get the whole family involved!
And if the kids eat way too much sugar and need to get some energy out, a foam sword fight is always a great way to have some wild fun!
Thanksgiving is about being grateful. I’m wrestling with that concept this year more than I have in recent memory. So much of what we have had to endure has not made me feel very thankful. However, when I stop looking at the macro (the big things going on in the world) and start looking at the micro (the little things around me), I find so many small things every day that I can feel thankful for. I am thankful for my family, my friends, my home, my work and, more than ever, my health.
So lets lace up our corsets, sharpen our swords, and head out on our Epic Holiday Season Adventure!