The Thanksgiving Table

A beautifully set table makes any meal a special occasion — and what dinner could be more important than Thanksgiving? 

Where did November go? It was just Halloween a day ago, I swear. But today the calendar is saying it is mid-November and I haven’t even considered my Thanksgiving gathering. Normally, because I like to host dinner parties, and I am alittle obsessive about order and lists, I love lists. At this point, I would already have a detailed list of what to do and when along with a detailed menu written out and ready to go. This year I have none of that. Instead, my obsessive focus has been on reorganizing my home. After a long summer of markets and events I have gotten behind on the home front.

This hasn’t been all bad. Organizing had me pulling out seasonal boxes filled with fall décor and holiday plating that inspired me to start thinking about the Thanksgiving table. Thanksgiving may be all about the food, but that doesn’t mean your space can’t look good too. A well-decorated table will convey a message of gratitude, peace, and togetherness—everything that Thanksgiving represents.

Keep It Simple

This year, instead of overwhelming the table with large, colorful gourds, I’ve decided to scale it down by layering fall branches over a neutral, woven table runner that adds interesting textures. A variety of candles, both large and small, in jars, glasses, and tapers bring in different heights for the eye to draw to. I also put away the pumpkin plates this year and stayed with my everyday neutral. I am really into earth tones and wood lately and in creating a cozy, homey atmosphere.

Play Up the Plaid

Just because plaid is often associated with fall doesn’t mean you should avoid it. If you still like the look of plaid, but do not want to barf plaid all over the table tuck your plaid napkins around the dinner plate and place the salad plate on the top. This setup takes a subtle approach and adds a nice pop of fall color. The speckled texture on the plates plays off the plaid nicely.

Personalize the Space

In lieu of place cards, I am gently guiding guests to their seats with a charcuterie board catered to their tastes. This allows me to strategically place guests the way a place card would, but without the normal eye rolls. Placing guests is a great way to build family connection to the past and present. I am confidant that by the end of the meal Granny will be amusing Junior with tales of her youth and Junior will have Granny eager to pick up the Nintendo with the whole table laughing and enjoying their time together.

I love how this table came together. It’s simple yet sophisticated. A layer of textures that include leather, wood, textiles, and crystal all come together as a reminder that mixing tones and textures often works well. I hope this gives you some inspiration for your Thanksgiving table and a few ideas about how to create a beautiful setting for your friends and family.

But always remember, in the end there is only one fool-proof secret for a successful family gathering. Always have alcohol on hand!

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