Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Thankful Table

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! It's a day to celebrate harvest, bounty, friendships, success, blessings and, well… Eating! 

Aside from the food, which is pretty amazing, I always love decorating and making a bit of a fuss around Thanksgiving. It seems to make the holiday season last longer and Thanksgiving serves as a worthy buffer between Halloween and Christmas. Living in England, Thanksgiving decorations are few and far between, so a gal has to be resourceful and creative. After months of hoarding nearly everything I could find in Autumn colors, I've managed to put together three different Thanksgiving table options using, for the most part, every day items that can be found just about anywhere.

Autumn Harvest

No table cloth required for this casual Autumn themed Thanksgiving table using seasonal elements that can be bought just about anywhere this time of year. Pumpkins, mulberry colored candles and votive holders in gold and hunter green bring together the color palette and provide a little ambiance. When Thanksgiving isn't a formal affair, a simple table like this is fun, colorful and festive, lending itself to good conversation, delicious food and a wonderful day of giving thanks.

Luckily, my mother sent me some Autumn placemats from the USA, however any placemats in Autumn colors would work just fine. Look for patterns or solids in gold, yellow, orange, red, maroon brown or even Autumnal green shades.

There's nothing quite like cinnamon at the holidays and I love using cinnamon sticks as decoration - they're so festive! Using gold houndstooth paper napkins I found online adds a bit of contrast to the table and it looks lovely with an orange ribbon wrapped cinnamon stick on top. I know, paper napkins aren't exactly the most glamorous thing, however they cut down on the post-dinner laundry and these days, they can be found in beautiful colors, patterns and even different shapes. I use them regularly and hoard a stash of all different kinds I buy from everywhere, even on my travels.

Bijoux Bistro

Flipping through magazines, I've noticed that most decor options lend themselves to large tables, massive Christmas trees and overall, huge homes. I realize there's an aspirational element to magazines and that's why we love them, but I couldn't help thinking about the people for whom Thanksgiving is just as essential a celebration without the massive guest list. Sometimes it's just two or four people at the table, but it's no less important a feast and should be treated with the same level of respect. I love the idea of a seasonally colored bistro style table for two or four. Serve dinner plated or buffet style and enjoy the company of your guests at a comfortably close table setting that channels the cute little tables at cafes on the streets of Paris. Start with a checkered tablecloth and if you fancy, add a contrasting table runner.

A few yellow, orange, red or brown accents are all you need to give it a Thanksgiving vibe… Yellow checkered straws in mason jar glasses added to the cafe feel of the table and orange daisies brighten up the palette. Of course any flowers in seasonal colors would do here and roses would be a lovely alternative. In keeping with the theme carafes, bottles or jars for water can be found in suitable colors however the clear options work too for creating that bistro vibe.

Folding a flower into each napkin adds a sense of occasion as do a few candles. I've chosen tea lights in plain glass holders… They're a bit grubby from getting lots of use, but I love the rustic look of the wax from previous candles.

Mixing Patterns

For a more formal affair, you'll want a longer table and candlelight is essential. It's no difficult task to find a nice brown tablecloth in virtually any price range, however the end result can be a bit drab without a little creativity. Pattern mixing isn't just for fashion and can be a really cute way of using things you already have, but have never paired together before to bring life to a solid table covering. Here I opted for a taupe gingham napkin secured by a dark brown gingham ribbon with a white stitched border orange ribbon on top. I love the way these three colors go together, complimenting each other and adding a bit of depth to my plain white plates.

Taking this idea a bit further, I took some plain gold votive holders that I've had for years and gave them a Thanksgiving makeover using leftover ribbons. These ribbons are just tied on and will slip right off when the feast is over to return them to their golden status in time for Christmas. When these votives aren't on my Thanksgiving table, they're on my mantle for a festive Autumn touch to our everyday decor.

Alongside the votive holders, I think pillar candles are the perfect accent to a long table as long as they're not too tall. These days, pillar candles can be found just about anywhere in a huge variety of colors and very reasonable prices. For me, these candles typically sit in my fireplace and they're not always orange… I change colors with the seasons, but for a more formal dinner, I think they look beautiful on the table.

What are you planning for your Thanksgiving table this year?


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