Thanksgiving table settings, in my experience has been a more formal occasion from other meals and family gatherings. However, I was raised in a rural community so the standard of living was not a five star hotel quality experience by any means. My mother had formal training and a life in the city before she fell in love with her country boy husband, my father. She was bound and determined that her children would not grow up uneducated on proper etiquette. Yes ma’am, we had formal meals with chargers and goblets. However, we didn’t have three course meals. There was dinner and then there was desert, if we were lucky.
Despite my mother’s efforts, the different sizes of forks didn’t take on any more meaning than the smaller one fits in my mouth better and the bigger one has more shoveling capacity. In fact I don’t know that we ever had enough matching utensil sets to ever really set a perfect formal table. We had nice dishes, but with so many kids and a father who ran-off with the the spoons for lunch at work, it was tough to keep a full set around. Looking back, I suppose we looked kinda cute trying so hard to set a nice table with mismatched dishes. But I loved it. Setting the table was my favorite job for family gatherings.
In our small home, especially with all the extended family and the extensive table decorations, buffet style was usually the way the meal was served. This may have also had something to do with the sheer amount of food. There was simply not enough room for Aunt Lou’s gluten-free stuffing, Grandma’s whole wheat stuffing, and mom’s cornbread stuffing. For everything to fit, and everyone to get a fair shake at at least a little taste of everything — if you like celery in your stuffing — it had to be a buffet. This eliminated the need for salad plates or soup bowls at the table. Actually, salad plates, in my childhood view were actually just plates made for small people such as my younger siblings.
The good news, from our hodgepodge efforts at a formal Thanksgiving dinner, I was not completely lost when I found myself seated at a formal meal in a fancy hotel. I was not taunted by three plates, three forks, two goblets and a coffee cup. Nervous, but not overwhelmed as I could have been, if not for my mother. By that time I knew what a salad fork looked like and to start from the outside and work inward. Thank heaven’s! That was not the time to be asking for instructions.
The point I am trying to make is this. A homemade Thanksgiving dinner is exhausting effort. Formal table settings may seem like overkill and create an seemingly unnecessary amount of dishes to clean. Please remember to look past the extra work and recognize the opportunity this is to prepare your kids for life one day. The cooking can be a bonding experience with your child. Trust him or her enough to let them help prepare the turkey and bake pies. The formal table setting is a teaching opportunity. Trust your son or daughter to set the table with the fine china. Broken dishes, if something does break, can be replaced and aren’t worth getting angry about. These moments may never come again, don’t lose them.
Make Thanksgiving a time to remember how to be refined. Stop and actually taste your food, be grateful for the good things in your life and reflect on how you have changed over the past year. Despite everything life continues to throw at us almost daily, we have so much to be thankful for.
I have included a diagram of a formal table setting and a video to help you set your Thanksgiving table, in case you are completely lost.
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Here at Five Star Holiday Decor, we know what light can do to set the mood and tone for your space. We especially encourage the use of lighting for your holiday displays. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we thought we’d share a few ideas we found that are sure to brighten up your dinner table this year:
1) Candles and Greenery: This display of white candles garnished with natural elements (pine branches, Oranges and pinecones) creates a simple table setting with an element of delicate contrast.
2) Tree Lanterns: If you live in an area where it’s warm enough to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner outside, these lanterns interspersed in the limbs of a sprawling tree create a fun, yet beautiful environment for your family feast.
3) Votives in a Mason Jar: Votive candles placed in Mason Jars are a popular way to create a beautiful runner of elegant lighting for your Thanksgiving table this year.
4) Message in a Bottle: If you want to enhance the Mason Jar idea and get even more creative, table candles in long-neck bottles are a unique variation of the illuminated jar concept.
5) Under Glow: Running low on table surface area? You can still bring illuminate your table by simply running Christmas lights underneath the table cloth and placing small candles between each place setting.
6) Halloween Leftovers: Unsure how to use those small pumpkins leftover from your Halloween decorations? Use them along with other fall decor (leaves, berries, twigs, etc.) and add candles to create a lovely light display for the center of your table.
7) Frosted Pumpkins: If the above suggestion proved just too simple, feel free to frost the small pumpkins with glitter, empty out their insides and add a candle to the centers for a more complicated, yet equally as beautiful centerpiece.
Happy Thanksgiving from Five Star Holiday Decor!
14 Fun Thanksgiving Centerpieces
Now that Halloween has come and gone, we focus our attention on the next holiday ahead – Thanksgiving. Just as no Thanksgiving feast is complete without a turkey, no Thanksgiving table is complete without a centerpiece. As you start to prepare for our next fall holiday, check out these elegant Thanksgiving centerpieces that’ll bring even more flavor to your table this November:
1) Wheat by the Bundles
2) Illuminated Thanks
3) Orange you glad it’s November?
4) Pretty in White
5) Tiers of Joy
6) Wheat Wisps
7) A Scoop of Thanks
8) Pumpkins and Blooms
9) Thanksgiving Turkey
10) Horn of Plenty
11) Knots on a Log
12) Fall Foilage
13) Stuffed Pumpkin
14) Head of the Table
When decorating for the holidays, the smallest details often provide the greatest impact. You don’t need an inflatable pilgrim in your front yard to celebrate the festivities. Thanksgiving wreaths incorporate the colors and textures of the season in a simple, rustic, tasteful way. Materials from which you can make wreaths can be found in craft stores, at farmer’s markets, the grocery store, or even on a nature walk.
Better Homes and Gardens has many wonderful ideas that you can use to make your Thanksgiving wreath. Wreaths can be hung on your front or back door or on any wall. They create an aesthetically pleasing focal point and, when used for interior decorating, can complement other decorations such as garlands and candles.
This wreath incorporates various aspects of fall by using gourds, raffia, berries, and leaves.
You can make this wreath using hot glue, moss, and acorns.
This wreath has two layers, one that you create yourself by gluing the materials onto a cardboard ring. The other is a twig wreath than is attached to the back using wire.
This wreath truly embodies the harvest with its abundance of apples.
Woman’s Day Magazine has an elegant wreath that combines clean modern lines and shape with traditional stalks of wheat. You’ll be surprised by what it’s made from.
Here are some video tutorials you can watch for more ideas.