The downtime between hanging Halloween decor and turning your home into a winter wonderland does not have to be devoid of creative bliss. Thanksgiving offers a perfect opportunity to channel your inner designer onto a single but well-loved spot, the dining area. Whether your Thanksgiving Day plans include a house full of guests or a small soiree, turn your table into a charming spot to offer thanks.
While not all celebrate Thanksgiving in November, it is a holiday observed worldwide. The origins stem from the annual blessing of the harvest and giving thanks for the abundance of the previous year. Thanksgiving does have religious roots but has long since switched to a secular holiday. While football and shopping are synonymous with “Thanksgiving,” don’t forget to take a moment to celebrate your own good fortune.
Setting the table for Thanksgiving can be as simple as a fall-colored runner or as elaborate as a total room overhaul. The endless serving dishes can be staged at the table or, to create more room, from the kitchen or a side buffet. Keeping the food in one spot makes for easier cleanup and fewer spills. Without the juggling of passing plates, guests will be able to enjoy chatting without interruption. A side buffet may sound extravagant, but with a nice tablecloth, it is easy to turn something you already own into a serving center.
What are must-haves for your table? The theme for Thanksgiving is food, food, food. Make sure your guests have ample space and include:
- Plates: A smaller plate for bread, a large plate for “mains,” and a bowl for salads.
- Utensils: Place utensils at each place setting regardless of where food is being served to eliminate forgotten necessities. Don’t be afraid to use disposable utensils to cut down on clean-up afterward!
- Napkins: Cloth napkins are a great option and are easier to incorporate into decor. Plus, they are reusable! If buying new, go with a neutral color that can be used for multiple holidays.
- Glasses: What will be served? Water glasses are a must and, if wine will be served, be sure to include appropriate glasses.
- Placemats or Chargers: Another great way to ease cleanup is to lay out each place setting on a placemat or charger. These can even be custom-made with cardstock - easy to create and also biodegradable.
Now, make it fabulous! Take the above accessories and make your Thanksgiving amazing!
- Roll silverware into cloth napkins and tie it all together with a beautiful bow, placed on the dinner plate before guests arrive. Not only will this look pretty, but it will eliminate the confusion over which utensil goes where for those little hands that may help set the table.
- Make guests feel special by adding place cards to each seat. To personalize, write guests’ names on one side of the place card and a special note on the other. Another great use for cardstock!
- Chargers and placemats can really be made of anything - as long as it’s flat. Head to the craft store and pick up wood grain poster board, white wash wall hangings, or picture frames.
- Bring the outdoors in! Create a row of pumpkins or gourds down the middle of your table in lieu of a runner. If you have well-loved craft pumpkins, spruce them up with paint or bling. Borrow the wreath from your front door to create a unique centerpiece.
- Of course, lean into the turkeys! At this time of year, turkeys can be found in all shapes and sizes. Start a collection or suggest “Stock the Turkeys” when guests ask what they can bring. Create a display in your dining room or use them as a group in the middle of the table.
To prolong time with those you love, provide a few activities as a side dish. This is a terrific way to turn a traditional meal into a lifelong memory.
- Head back to the past! Add some history to your table by providing a unique notecard for each place setting with fun facts. Guests can take turns reading these tidbits throughout the meal, creating both a learning moment and a time for reflection.
- Assign guests a country and ask them to bring stories of how that country celebrates its own Thanksgiving. For those local attendees, suggest bringing a side dish reflective of the country they are assigned.
- Reflect, reflect, reflect. Rather than putting guests on the spot, jot down a few conversation starters rather than the generic question of, “What are you thankful for?” Fill a Pilgrim hat with those notes and pass it around for guests to pull from. A few ideas: What are you most thankful for about your partner? What do your children do that you love the most? When you think of your home, what makes you most happy?
Thanksgiving is often overlooked as a bridge between the October and December holidays but it can easily become a favorite in your beautiful Herring Home. Celebrate with those you love in a wonderful setting created especially for your guests and create memories that will last a lifetime.