When I’m thinking about Thanksgiving, three things come to my mind: being thankful, family, and the autumn season.
Keep these three words in mind while setting your table, and create a homey and elegant atmosphere with the following tips.
Invest in elegant white napkins that have each family member’s name embroidered on them – or better yet, make your own! Attach a note under each person’s napkin that states why you are thankful for them. This not only makes you feel good, but each family member will be thankful that you put the extra effort in your messages.
If you have a large enough table, create a centerpiece using ears of dried Indian corn, along with a couple of miniature pumpkins or gourds. Include a couple of unscented candles, and you have a simple yet elegant table.
Just in case you’re reading this at the wrong time of year and you’re looking for a different type of inspiration, head on over to this post to read our top tips for table setting in the springtime!
If you like a lot of fall color, skip the basic white and go for reds, oranges, and gold. Do the same with the napkins (change the color, of course), and for a centerpiece, carve out a pumpkin.
Rather than making a jack-o-lantern, fill the pumpkin with fake swags of berries and foliage. Bittersweet and cranberries are ideal, but keep it plastic. Bittersweet is poisonous, and you don’t want that at your table.
Choose foliage in warm reds and oranges. Add the candles, and you have a table that screams autumn.
If you’re a crafty person and have the time, sew an elegant table runner. You can choose your own fabric and decorative techniques, with colors that are on theme. Personalize it by adding your family members’ names and words of thanks, and you’ll have a family heirloom to decorate every year, and pass down to future hosts of Thanksgiving dinner.
For a special touch, you can also mark the year in the corner of your runner. This would make a great tradition to carry on. Make a new one each year or add a little something to it with the date, and display the old ones so relatives can see how the family has grown.
Choose an attractive centerpiece, such as a combination of dried flowers, berries, gourds, or pumpkins, with unscented candle. A tealight in a decorative votive holder at each place makes a nice touch, whereas tall tapers in elaborate candle holders make more of a statement.
Just remember to stick with the unscented variety. A bit of color is fine, but all of those fall scents tend to interfere with experiencing the flavors of the holiday meal – save those for the living room or bathroom instead.
Don’t forget to add a piece (or pieces) of family history to your celebration. Create a photo display, maybe on a side table. This is also a nice way to honor or remember relatives who can’t be with you for the holiday.
This is a great time of year to reminisce about old family times, and to teach the young ones about your family’s history. Tell old childhood stories and tales about growing up, and serve old family recipes. You can guarantee having lots of laughs (and maybe even a few tears) if you do this, and it makes a nice tradition.
No matter how you set your table, the most important thing to remember is to give thanks for your family, and all the blessings we all have in our lives.
Decorations not an issue? Here are some other ideas to help you survive your Thanksgiving dinner in fashion.
For more tips, check out Foodal’s Guide to a Southern style Thanksgiving, and to make your holiday dinner go the extra mile, explore Foodal’s tips on how to stretch out Thanksgiving dinner to the max!
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!