Big gathering, small get together, slouch casuals, to the nines, paper tablecloths, formal place settings with linens and chargers: there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Thanksgiving. From casual to fancy, we have you covered with some really great tips.
If simple and understated is what you’re going for, you don’t need much.
Keep it Casual
Make your way to the nearest craft store and browse the paper aisles for disposable decorative plates, napkins, plastic ware, cups, and tablecloths.
Lay your tablecloth out and create a natural centerpiece using pumpkins and gourds in various sizes and a fall floral or two. You can extend decor into other rooms (like the living room where the game is on) by placing additional flowers, candles, and gourds on end tables and other flat surfaces.
Ask everyone to come comfortable—stretchy pants, cozy sweaters…whatever they’re comfortable in.
Prepare all dishes family style on a buffet. Stack all dinnerware at the start of the line, and have everyone fill their plates and sit where they’re comfortable.
If the Thanksgiving of your dreams is more formal, it’s totally doable and will simply require a bit more planning.
Invite only the number of people you can comfortably seat in your home. Ask for confirmed attendance by a specified date and provide a dress code.
Start planning your menu. If you can work with a chef or caterer, that will make things a bit easier. If not, gather all the recipes you plan to use, make a list of the ingredients, serving dishes, and utensils you will need, and make a timeline of the work you’ll do to prepare the meal. You could also assign different side courses to your guests and tell them when to arrive to keep things organized and the appropriate temperature for serving.
Once you know how many people are coming, begin designing your tablescapes. Be sure to think about centerpieces and table runners, placemats, silverware, wine and water glasses, chargers and dining plates, napkin holders, and place cards. We recommend setting your table a day or two in advance if you can. Start with the base layer, then centerpieces, then build out from there.
Take time to think about how the seating arrangement will impact conversation. Do you have a single friend coming to eat with a bunch of couples? Will partners sit side-by-side or across from one another? Does everyone get along? Do you have two left handed guests? These things may seem small, but the easiest way to elevate a dining experience is to ensure everyone feels comfortable and included.
When it’s clear everyone is finished, suggest moving away from the table to another area of the house for continued conversation.
We’d love to hear what kind of Thanksgiving you have planned. Share with us in the comments how you make it the most comfortable or elevate the environment.