The first time I heard about a white elephant gift exchange (sometimes called Yankee Swap), I thought it sounded crazy. "Wait, you open a gift and then someone can take it from you?" I've always felt that the "winner" wasn't the person who went home with the most sought after gift, but the person who brought the gift that everyone was vying for. And what's the perfect white elephant gift? Something goofy or wacky, possibly tacky, yet still, somehow, highly desirable.
Waking up to the smell of that delicious beast cooking in the kitchen, canned cranberry sauce, watching movies late into the night while grazing on leftovers, too much family time... these are all the makings of a great Thanksgiving. While it still might be too early for some, Thanksgiving evening can be the perfect time to ease your way into the holiday spirit by watching a few favorite movies. Whether you prefer the classics you grew up with or newer flicks, we've got you covered.
It's Thanksgiving morning, the turkey's in the oven and, after getting yourself and your family ready, you only have about an hour to pull together a great looking tablescape. Don't panic! There's a lot you can do with the things you have–plus maybe a quick run to the store or scavenging trip in the backyard.
As home gawkers here at Apartment Therapy, we're pretty obsessed with the idea of staying in someone's home and seeing how they live. Having stayed as guests recently in a few Airbnb homes across the country (hello, perfect cottage in Santa Barbara – miss you already!) we've come to recognize that becoming an Airbnb host may not seem as easy as being an Airbnb guest. If you're like us, then you have some questions. What's it like to be a host? What are the tricks and tips to being successful? What do we really need to know to get started? To get some real answers to our questions, we reached out to a few local LA hosts to get the inside scoop on how to host on Airbnb.
Name: Francis Location: Hell's Kitchen; New York, NY Size: 560 square feet Years lived in: 4 years; rented Time Hosting on Airbnb: 3 Months
As a youngster growing up in Greece, Francis says that he was enchanted by Liza Minnelli's classic "New York, New York" - and always dreamed of living there. True to his dream, he became a professional ballet dancer, studied in Europe, and then finally packed two suitcases and a few thousand dollars and set out across the ocean.
Francis now lives in a dream apartment just a few blocks from Times Square, complete with a backyard barbecue and cozy outdoor breakfast nook draped in ivy. He's made some nuanced but jaw-dropping renovations to his rental home, and the effect is modern, expansive, and cozy.
I've been a houseguest before, and there are plenty of things I have wanted to ask of my host that went unspoken in the spirit of gratefulness and generally trying not to be a pain in the chateau. I do want to get invited back, after all. But I've also been on the other side of the coin, and I know that any generous host wants their visitors to be happy and comfortable. Here's the most important thing your guests won't tell you.
Name: Michael Location: Bed-Stuy; Brooklyn, NY Size: 630 square feet (1400 square feet with backyard) Years lived in: 1 years in apartment; 4 years in the same building; rented Years Hosting on Airbnb: 1 Year
Michael is an architect and a designer, and you can tell the minute you walk in the door. Down to the hidden stitching on his collaboratively designed couch, everything in his Brooklyn apartment is hand-sewn, stylish and welcoming.
Ikea stylists are good at showing us common folk how to style our homes in inspirational ways for the holidays. You don’t need to shop at the Swedish giant in order to have a festive and fun household this season. Follow these tips, tricks, and suggestions to do it yourself.
Name: Joey, aka "Joey the Cat" Location: Mission District of San Francisco, CA Size: 747 square feet Years lived in: 4 years; owned Years hosting on Airbnb: Over 5 years
The moment you walk into "Joey the Cat's" Mission District loft, you feel like you were just granted access to a secret world where you're allowed to have fun, even though you are a fully grown adult. It's sophisticated, it's modern, it's bold, and right in front of the big beautiful front windows is a giant skeeball machine right out of your childhood.
Name: Alex Location: Noe Valley, San Francisco Size: 1,738 square feet Years lived in: 17 years; owned Years hosting on Airbnb: 2 1/2 years
Alex's two-story home is situated on a quiet, tree-lined street in Noe Valley. From his upper balcony you can see a stunning view of the city, and on a clear day you can spy both the Bay Bridge and Twin Peaks. With a hot tub on the lower deck off the master bedroom, and a hammock off the upper deck opening off of the dining area, it's an ideal spot and an oasis for any traveler looking to retreat from the bustle of the city.