Thanksgiving Tablescape & Gratitude Tree
Celebrating fall with a Thanksgiving Tablescape & Gratitude Tree.
Hello all, if you saw my DIY post on Rustic Holiday Ornaments last week I had them featured on my Simple Gifts Tree of Gratitude. This week I wanted to give you a full tour of the dining room with my Thanksgiving Tablescape & Gratitude Tree. Along with my Top 10 Tablescape ideas for planning a successful holiday dinner.
As you may notice this season, I continued with a simple casual table theme. This can work perfectly for a small group or a large party whatever your holiday roll call looks like. I will say I did not opt for paper plates or plastic dinnerware, but I did go with the dishwasher safe variety verses my formal china to save on double duty in the kitchen. I do not think there is anything worse than cooking all day, and then having to hand wash your dishes after the meal is over. I also used my recently found crocks as risers for the buffet area. I love that my burlap changers fit perfectly on top of them. The varying heights also create a visual display in addition to giving you more space for items by raising them up. When I used to work for a catering company we use boxes as risers under tablecloths to create this same look. In this scenario I love that it features one of my antiquing finds. Of course we added a few whimsical things to capture our personalities. We say “oh good gravy” all the time so when I saw this cute little gravy boat I knew it had to be mine. Since it says good gravy there will be a double entendre with which gravy I put inside too, the non-giblet gravy or the good gravy. Yes I have to make two kinds at my house, a traditional giblet gravy which my husband and sister both love and a non giblet variety for myself because after dicing up the parts. I just can not bear to eat them. However as a kid that did not cook or know better, I loved my mom’s giblet gravy, go figure.
10 Great Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner
- Bring a Bench to the TableNormally I have single chairs that go around my dining room table. However, when you are expecting a crowd, one of the simplest ways to add space is to bring a bench to the table. Normally this bench lives in great room area as extra seating facing our kitchen area, so people can chat with the cook, but today we have brought it into the dining room to add much needed additional seating.
- Assigned Seating Sometimes you may have guests that are not familiar with each other or have nothing in common. Remember just because you love all of them does not mean that they will love each other. Take care of the social awkwardness by assigning seats. Not only will it make their seat decision easy, but you can take into account if one of your guests is a lefty or prefers not to be boxed in with people, which will help ease any social anxiety they may have on the day. Plus if you can keep people with common interests grouped together the conversation will not lag either.
- Layout Your Buffet Areas In Advance This is a secret straight from event caterers. If you pre layout severing areas then the food just goes directly from the oven into the serving platters or bowls. This will save you on time of thinking about which severing pieces you will need, it also allocates your serving utensils. So you are not searching for the one the day of in front of your guests.
- Silverware & Napkins Speaking of serving pieces, unless you are going super casual and plan on using disposable flatware and plates. Make sure to include all the parts of a proper place setting at the guests seats. This cuts down on running back to the kitchen for forgotten napkins or silverware.
- Create Cozy I like to add cozy blankets and throws to the table. Especially since I have metal chairs which can be a hard surface. For example, my father- in- law can not sit on metal surfaces or hard chairs for long periods of time. Thus enter the super soft padded blanket we brought back from England. In past visits I noticed he would sit on this very blanket to avoid sitting on the hard metal surface. I think this is a much cuter option than tie around chair pads which add a bit of a dated feel, or could look like lawn furniture brought inside.
- Keep Your Centerpiece in Check Remember that Thanksgiving is all about the food. While I will be first to say I love to build fun and whimsical centerpieces, the amount of food that will make its way to the table on this holiday may leave very little room for a centerpiece. Also for conservation purposes you want to make sure the centerpiece is not obstructing eye contact for people across the table. I recommend nothing above 10-12″ from the table top. Unless they are candles or tapers, as you can see above I have assembled a high low method to keep from creating visual blocks.
- Nix the Tablecloths Growing up my mother had a tablecloth for every season and then would use a hand made lace cloth to cover the seasonal one. She also kept her dining room table covered daily to protect her table from us kids. While I completely understand why she did this, it kind of turned me off on tablecloths in general. I personally find myself using runners to add color and texture, but never a full size tablecloth. Above I have used two flannel blankets which give almost a picnic vibe to the table and adds a ton of color and texture. So unless you have a really ugly table you are trying to cover up, I say enjoy the beauty of your dining room table and any spills or mishaps become part of the charm.
- Add Visual Interest I like to add unexpected items to the table as seen above with the tree ring chargers. These were actually hand cut by Ron from our yard, and then dried and pest treated to prevent bugs, to create these fun outdoor chargers. Not only will this set your table apart, but your guest will want to know all about the item and how it was cultivated.
- Cutsey Accent Pieces Again, I will admittedly be the first to tell you that I love a cute cocktail napkin. When I saw these I knew they would be perfect for our Thanksgiving feast since we always save the wishbone to see who will get their wish for the next year. I have begun to realize that my family traditions always surrounded luck and wishes. Birthday wishes when you blown out all the candles, and the lucky dime in the black eyed peas on New Year’s Day, now the Turkey Day wishbone. Also it is a bit of a inside family joke as well, a few years back I shattered my ankle the Saturday before Thanksgiving, leaving with a permanent metal plate and deck screws. Just kidding, they are titanium but still the whole “snap thing” is kind a joke for me since I spent that Thanksgiving in a cast up to knee in a wheelchair trying to roast a 15 lb turkey, for 10.
- Offer A Signature Cocktail Signature cocktails do not have to be just for weddings or large events. I love the idea of giving your guest a fun unexpected treat created especially for your gathering. If you are looking for some fun unexpected inspiration check out my recipe for Homemade Blackberry Sage Moscow Mules. The flavors pair so nicely with a traditional turkey day menu. However, I think the most important thing to remember this holiday season is not the things at all, but to enjoy the time spent with those you love. Be grateful for all the simple gifts that you have in your daily life and take the time to enjoy them. This is the entire purpose of our gratitude tree, to take the time and be thankful for all the things we just take for granted.
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving, and a safe and happy holiday season. If you loved this post check out some of our other great Thanksgiving Day Tablescapes and Traditions: