While this site is primarily about the outdoors, it’s also about gathering around the table to savor good food and spend time with others. Today, I’m discussing what makes a great table setting and why it’s meaningful. I’d love to hear about your thoughts and traditions as well.
What does a table setting mean to you, or does it matter?
Many anticipate the fun of gathering with family and friends to indulge in the feast of Thanksgiving, football and card games. Undoubtedly, the day’s star is delicious food, which may include wild turkey or other harvests, but the table setting adds warmth, charm, and a bit of nostalgia to the festivities.
My grandmothers taught me about setting tables, and they all had their idea of what the scene should look like. There is an art to it. While I’m not the world’s foremost authority, I’ll still share what makes a beautiful table setting.
I received a precious gift to add to the Thanksgiving table this year. I’ve had my table set up for many years, and adding an item means more than one thing must be adjusted.
I like autumn colors for the fall season but was recently gifted a set of vintage cobalt blue Queen’s Thanksgiving dinnerware. While blue isn’t the color I prefer for fall events, I feel blessed to have received such a precious gift. I also don’t save many things for special occasions, and these are branded with a turkey, so they’ll now adorn the Thanksgiving table!
In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
Setting the Table
Start by laying the foundation with a beautiful tablecloth. I added a solid blue topped by a white lace cloth to tie the blue from the plates. Whether you opt for classic white linen for a timeless look or choose a fall-themed pattern that complements the season, the tablecloth sets the tone for the entire table.
I like to add layers and dimension, plus protection for my tablecloth, to the table setting by laying out placemats and placing chargers at each seat. I usually use chargers with fall leaves for fall, but the new plates. . . I’ve pulled out silver chargers to dampen the blue against the fall colors.
I also add table runners, which ground the table and add depth and visual interest to the overall aesthetic. My aunt used to bead beautiful barrettes, bolos, jackets and more. In honor of her, I now have beaded table runners to ground my table settings.
Next, I build on that foundation with my set of dinnerware. I generally use traditional white plates, but as I said, it will be the new blue color this year. You, too, can mix in seasonal or patterned dishes for a touch of personality. Since I’m a wildlife lover, I’ve admired the Spode pheasant-themed dinnerware; You may like it also.
Arrange your flatware precisely, placing forks to the left, knives and spoons to the right, and dessert utensils above the plate.
Napkin folding is an art that can add a touch of sophistication to your table. However, I regularly save time by securing them with seasonal napkin rings. You can also fold them flat and lay them atop the plates.
The centerpiece is where you can bring nature to the table. I generally incorporate faux pumpkins, gourds, and autumn leaves, but have also been known to add feathers or antlers as they are available. I’ll also add candles for height dimension and a warm, inviting glow.
I have my silver canoe as a seasonal centerpiece, but you might consider creating a rustic floral arrangement using flowers in warm hues, cattails, or pinecones. I’ve added blue and white pumpkins to the scene this year, again to tie in with the new plates. Remember to keep the centerpiece low enough so it doesn’t obstruct conversation across the table.
Complete your Thanksgiving table by selecting glassware and utensils. I have a collection of Fostoria American glassware for everyday use, but it’s also nice enough for special occasions. Ensure that the wine and water glasses are appropriately placed to the upper right of the place setting. If you want to avoid buying Thanksgiving-specific glasses, add a festive touch by tying ribbon or twine around the stem of each glass.
Setting the perfect Thanksgiving table combines tradition with personal style. Pay attention to details such as the tablecloth, dinnerware, centerpiece, and personal touches to create a warm and inviting atmosphere that enhances the joy of sharing a delicious meal with loved ones.
As you prepare for the day of thanks, remember that the most important element is the love and gratitude that fills the space. Cheers to a beautiful and memorable Thanksgiving celebration!
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