Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Thanksgiving Table

Well, even though Thanksgiving has come and gone, I want to write a brief post concerning my Thanksgiving table -- mainly so I don't forget what I did. (Usually, the less said about my table, the better. We usually have about 25 people. We borrow tables from the church and seat everyone in the living room. We use fall-themed vinyl tablecloths from Walmart and try to put some sort of cute centerpiece and/or candles on each one. We always use Chinet or foam plates, and plastic cups -- often plastic flatware, too. We put all of the food on the dining room table and serve it buffet style. I usually put either a vinyl or a paper tablecloth on this table too, which is a good thing, since it is always trashed by the time the main course is over, never mind dessert.)

Since we had a small group for Thanksgiving dinner this year, I was able to be much more creative with my table setting -- a fact that was pretty much lost on me until the last moment. Hence, I did not plan my table arrangements ahead of time. All I had decided was that I would use "real" plates and "real" glassware. I should say up front that I don't own any crystal, fine china, or good silverware. My only complete set of anything is a set of Christmas dishes which we bought at Walmart after Christmas probably 4 or 5 years ago. Our dining room table is 7 feet long and I don't even own a tablecloth that fits it well. So I decided I would just have to get creative with what I could find around the house.

I had read somewhere that if your table-setting budget is small, you can make your table look nice just by layering things on it. So that's what I decided to do. I had a nice sort of antique-white tablecloth from either my mother or mother-in-law, I forget which. That was the bottom layer. Down the center of this I placed a runner I'd made a couple of years ago from an opulent-looking fall print fabric -- lots of colorful leaves, fruits, etc. In the center of the runner I placed an ecru doily -- and on it, a round green enamel dish -- old and chipped -- filled with a baby pumpkin, some leaves, faux gourds, and sprigs of bittersweet. Now remember the tablecloth does not cover the table completely -- there were bare spaces at each end, and I had people sitting at the ends. So I took some rectangular paper lace doilies and put one at each place setting -- a third layer! My plates were a mixture of Olde Curiosity Shoppe and Old Colonial Homestead, all in a green/antique white color scheme. I had 5 green glass tumblers that matched and one that didn't, but when they were all carefully arranged everything looked quite nice. For place markers, we had paper squirrels sitting on hollow logs (adapted from a Martha Stewart idea), and I rolled up a pretty Thanksgiving-themed paper napkin inside each one. At the last minute I realized the table needed candles. I had some cute candle holders in the form of resin pine cones, and found some swirled metallic gold candles to put in them. This using what I had on hand was great fun! I got several nice comments on the table setting, and I had such a good time putting it all together.

This could be habit forming... I sure wouldn't mind a small group for Thanksgiving anytime!

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