Monday, November 6, 2017

Setting the Thanksgiving table

Let's talk about the Thanksgiving table, shall we? 
I love Thanksgiving so much and always look forward to it. We have spent many Thanksgivings either with troops and families overseas, or sharing with neighbors in our community who were in need, and I have always found it to be an inclusive and unifying holiday regardless of how or where I spent it. 

Now that we are settled here, I always host and love the chance to set a pretty table. I really think you can use just about anything -- from the good china and sterling to the everyday stoneware or whatever you use for everyday.
Just don't use paper plates, if possible, which are so wasteful and will end up in a landfill. However, I do realize there are situations where that is the best option and it will be just as special as anything else.
In any case, mix and match what you have, whatever that is, and you can make it special. 

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I started using the box at Thanksgiving several years ago and still think it makes a fabulous centerpiece. However, one of the things I see people constantly ask on pinterest, etc., is "where do you set the food?" 

Well, I *always* serve buffet style, so for me that is not an issue. Since the kids were little, I always hated passing food around the table and still feel like passing food impedes conversation and makes it hard for the little ones and the adults trying to get them settled. I get in line with my little ones and fill their plates as we go around the buffet, and if anyone wants more, it's so easy to just get up and get it without having to ask someone to pass something. So that is always my preference. 
But, because this centerpiece is all contained in the box, you can easily remove it if you really want to set your food on the table. 

As for china,  there really aren't any limitations. Here, I used my everyday Mikasa Italian Countryside and added Myott Thanksgiving turkey salad plates, which we used for dessert.  I fancied up the napkins with raffia bows and a little bit of greenery tucked in the bamboo napkin rings. 

If you are in a warmer climate, outside is a great place for the Thanksgiving dinner. Again, nature was my guide as I added gourds, nuts, etc., to my everyday dinnerware. 

Dried hydrangeas fill the box in this setting along with faux gourds and pumpkins that I painted. Wooden chargers add dimension to the Wedgewood Queen's Plain/Shape creamware. 

I went all out on this table with Mikasa Floral Elegance bone china, Wallace heirloom sterling flatware, Louvre, and Cristal D'Arques-Durand, Longchamp crystal. The vintage linen napkins were passed down from a relative, but the silver and mother of pearl napkin rings came from Walmart. An old board holds a simple centerpiece of white milk glass and ironstone pieces. 

One of my favorite tables ever was this one I set with thrifted and found items.

Silver-plated trays served as chargers for the ironstone thrift store plates. My everyday stainless flatware was simply set, and vintage Indiana Glass Whitehall glasses added some sparkle.

In this setting, I used inherited Noritake Chandova with painted chargers, Wallace Louvre sterling flatware and gifted Fostoria Argus. I assembled some organic elements and placed the bunches in Argus cordial glasses with a homemade name tag. 

This centerpiece was simply layered leaves and greenery on an old board with vintage brass candlesticks.

I borrowed my mother's Johnson Brothers Friendly Village for this setting, and again used an old board with dried hydrangeas, pine cones and candles set in a variety of old silver plated pieces.

Vintage silver punch cups were used to hold place cards.

For a more casual setting, I combined Mikasa Italian Countryside with vintage Fondeville NY fruit plates. Placemats were sheets of music pulled from an old book.

A wood board is so versatile, and as with the box, can be moved off if you want to put food on the table. 

Think outside the box with dinnerware instead of sticking with traditional Thanksgiving colors. This Franciscan Ivy setting would be wonderful indoors or out. 

If you like traditional, Blue Willow is a perfect pattern for Thanksgiving and goes nicely with traditional colors. Here, the green woven placemats and floral napkins add a touch of whimsy to the pattern. 

Hot pink is a wonderful and unique accent color for Thanksgiving, and paired with cream Italian Countryside in the square pattern, lends a modern feel. 

These are some of my own unique and varied ideas for table settings, and there are so many other great options just using what you have. 

For me, setting a pretty table is simply about making my guests, including friends and family, feel special, and that can be done with whatever you have on hand. I think it provides a great background for the sweet fellowship and feelings of gratitude that we can all share on Thanksgiving. 

I'll also be sharing some of my favorite recipes as well as my Thanksgiving setting for this year over the next few days, so please come back by.

What are your favorite tips for setting a pretty Thanksgiving table?

I'll be joining:

Metamorphosis Monday
Inspire Me Tuesday
Wow us Wednesdays


  1. They are all beautiful and full of inspiration. Thanks for sharing. I love Friendly Village. So pretty.

    1. Thanks so much Katie! I forget about the Friendly Village since it belongs to my mother, but sure love getting to borrow it. I love it as well.

  • Thank you for reminding people that paper plates just contribute to our already overflowing landfills!!!!!! I understand that some people want to “make cleanup easier”, but what about the cleanliness of our precious land, waters and air??!?!!?!? So thank you for that. Your tablescapes are always exceptionally beautiful and thoughtfully conceived. I really enjoyed scrolling through these various examples from years past. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you Alycia!! I was hoping I wouldn't make anyone mad or upset with that, but I feel so strongly about the disposability we are too content with these days and worry about the future:-) Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  • Pinky at Designs by PinkyNovember 7, 2017 at 5:56 PM

    Oh Anita, I can't pick a favorite table! They are all gorgeous!!!! I love that box! Your tables are always beautiful, you have a very special touch. Have a great week!

    1. Thank you so much Pinky!! I just have to get my dishes out and play more. It seems like I don't do it anymore.

  • So much beauty! I'm not sure if I've told you before how much I love your home. I tend to lurk more than comment, but occasionally am moved to comment and come out of hiding. I was motivated by your expressing yourself regarding paper plates. I love when bloggers can insert just a little bit of realities of life in the midst of so much beauty. It is so important! I love the ritual of washing dishes anyway, so paper plates just go against every grain for me. I feel like I have expressed to you before how much I love the history of your home, and your ability to weave together your history and your present in such a beautiful way. It can't hurt to say it again, just in case I've only thought it before. I particularly love the box, the pine cones hanging from ribbons and the Ivy and Johnson Brothers. But I love it all.

    1. Oh my goodness, that made my day:-) Thank you so much for your encouragement, and I'm so happy you came out of hiding, lol!

  • Anita, these are all beautiful but I just want to give an enthusiastic acknowledgement about the Whitehall glassware by Indiana Glass! I love these tumblers and have collected them in several colors because they not only sparkle - but they also leave plenty of room for your actual beverage even after you put ice in the glass! :) Such a simple thing, but I love them for that very reason and use them daily! The wooden box of course is beautiful but I also love the idea of using an old weathered board as a backdrop for the natural items used in the centerpiece. Again, all of these are really beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much! Yes we love those, and I also have the peach/pink color that are my favorite:-)