In the interest of sitting down to partake of a wonderfully cooked dinner on Thanksgiving, I think it's well worth the effort to take a moment to set a nice table. Having a festive table setting for our guests is a part of the ritual of entertaining on this joyous holiday and it is one that I thoroughly enjoy putting together. As I've said before, one can set the tone of the dinner based on what we place on the table. It's up to the host to determine whether an informal or formal table is appropriate for one's household and guests. To make the holiday table special, in my opinion, your decorations should reflect your personal tastes.
My Thanksgiving Table Setting
It's fun setting a different table year after year by combining several patterns of china, glassware and silverware, but it's also nice to pay homage to tradition by using a certain beloved china set each year and perhaps some heirloom silver that's been handed down. However you decide to enhance your dining experience this Thanksgiving, the one thing I must stress is for everything to be absolutely clean and spotless on the table.
Maple trees on the eastern side of our home.
My table was inspired by the numerous yellow-hued leaves on our maple trees which currently surround our house. Knowing that I didn't want any flower arrangements this year I began to collect many maple leaves to use on top of a complementary tablecloth. With just the right shade of red & yellow, the leaves instantly picked up the tones of the cloth. It wasn't until I made my final decision on what china to use that I began to formulate ways of arranging my table. As much as I wanted to create a long runner of leaves, I stopped short of that and placed them in the center, along with the rest of my very pared down accessories. Go through my Thanksgiving table setting and get some ideas on how to create a simple table that is formal enough to be elegant. I think the thing I love most about my table this year is that I didn't have to spend any money putting it together. I used what I had on hand.
After setting the table with my freshly-pressed French tablecloth, I began clustering the leaves down the middle. I started at the end of the table and fanned out the leaves toward the middle.
The overview shows you that I treated them in the same manner from both ends of the table. I left an open circle in the middle for a bowl.
A mix of cream Wedgwood Queen's Ware and brown ironstone transferware became the china pattern of choice.
A dinner plate is provided, along with a salad plate (a shaved fennel & clementine salad would be nice) and a rimmed soup bowl. The soup will be my Acorn Squash Soup. The napkins are rolled up and placed atop the soup bowl. I found no need for napkin rings because they look nice plain.
The silverware is a combination of American silverplate and mother of pearl silver.
The glassware is mismatched. Both patterns of etched goblets are antique, but the water glass is contemporary. The red wine glass is sitting directly an inch or so from the tip of the dinner knife (the knife should sit blade-side inward). The white wine goblet is to the right of the red on a diagonal. The water glass is the the left of the red wine glass.
A glimpse of the simple centerpiece arrangement.
I'm using my Italian silver salt & pepper mills by Chiarugi instead of the usual salt cellars. Small bowls are filled with dried fruits and nuts. Very modest in nature, the dried fruits and nuts centerpiece invites guests to taste a variety of them in between courses. Filberts are toasted and piled high and a mix of dried cranberries, blueberries, Mission figs and dates are placed in the other bowls. Any number of dried fruits and nuts can be used with great success. Apricots, pecans, black walnuts (if you can get them), pumpkin seeds or pistachios would all be wonderful on a Thanksgiving table.
Since I did not have 6 matching dinner napkins, I used 2 red ones on either end and the 4 matching ones for guests.
Setting the table, as you can see, is very personal and one should always approach it with bravado. Don't be afraid to try something new and unexpected. I know people who are wonderful crafters and I envy their talents & abilities to create all sorts of beautiful things. As long as your decorations look unified and organized, with colors complementing one another, the table setting will be a success.
From my home to yours, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!