When people talk of Thanksgiving, you might hear different responses of what it means to them. Personally, I think of cooking, preparations and beautiful table settings, great food, spending time with family and friends, the Cowboys football game always, parades, prayer, and moments of gratitude.
Whoo…that’s a full day in one long sentence. I’m tired already. Just kidding….we’re really excited for it!
To help us get into the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to get a learn a little more about this day we love so well, so here goes.
Many countries celebrate Thanksgiving around the world and each one has a slightly different twist to it.
Here in America, the first humble feast was held in 1621 after a drought ended. Pilgrims and Indians came together for a 3-day celebration that included eating, hunting and entertainment. The menu consisted of what they caught and grew; venison, Indian corn, barley and fowl.
A turkey was never in sight.
After the festival ended, Thanksgiving didn’t occur again until George Washington recognized the holiday in 1789.
Once again, the celebration was short lived until Sara Jospha Hale, the American writer famous for “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, read a book about pilgrim life. She was so inspired by their history that she waged a campaign to have Thanksgiving recognized nationally. After nearly 30 years of consisent effort, it paid off.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced that America would celebrate Thanksgiving every year. At that time, Sarah Hale published some of her recipes which included pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, turkey and other dishes we associate holiday with.
Isn’t it amazing what someone can accomplish with a little inspiration and determination?
With the holiday just a few weeks away, I’d like to share my gratitude to Sara Josepha Hale…without her perseverance we may not have this fabulous tradition and celebration to look forward to.
Today’s celebration typically does not last for three days, although the preparations can stretch into a couple of weeks depending on how involved you get with planning your feast. If you add in Black Friday for some, we’re talking about a multi-day marathon. That is one marathon I like to avoid.
According to my friend Erma Bombeck, “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” For all you football fans, I wonder, do you eat that fast or do you plan your lunch/dinner around the game? We do the latter.
However you choose to celebrate, I think it’s a sign of great love and gratitude when you honor your guests by setting a beautiful table. Breaking bread together around a single table allows for beautiful memories to be made and lots of great stories to share.
To help you get your guests talking and enjoying the experience you create, I found some great inspiration for your tables. I can’t wait to hear which one inspires you the most.
While this spread won’t be on your dining table, you could definitely arrange something similar on a buffet or a bar/counter during your “pre dinner time”. It would also work nicely for an informal gathering with family and friends. Everyone loves a good wine & cheese party!
TIP: “Arrange food so that no same color is touching and use different serving containers –
this will give lots of visual interest and let your eye move around the table.” That’s So Yummy
I love the earthy tones here. Simple and very straitght forward.
To create this centerpiece, buy large grapes and arrange them in a bowl. Sam’s carries a large grape and they are typically very flavorful.
Elevate the grapes placing a a small stand within the larger bowl before you add the grapes. Add in some leaves from your bushes/trees to give it extra interest. Mix pillar candles along the table in varying shades and you’re done.
The beauty of using real grapes vs fake ones is that your guests can enjoy an extra treat while sitting around talking. Sweet treat.
Lindsay, at The White Buffalo Styling Co, had a big bonus from the trees that fell on her parents property. She was able to cut and create the these fabulous wood round chargers, place-card holders, and pillar candle holders from material that was free for the taking; it just required a little physical labor and a chainsaw.
TIP: Mix in upholstered chairs when dining outdoors for an added level of cozyness and sophistication.
Casa de Perrin, owned by Diana and Josh, has a gorgeous collection of curated styles including vintage china, flatware, and glassware, along with exclusively designed table adornments that are sourced locally and abroad.
Here they mix blue and white china with Danish Flatware in Teak and black goblets. A very unique and gorgeous table.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to mix patterns.
Farm To Table Fruit Runner
Who needs flowers when you can showcase something like this!
I love the color combinations and the ease of how you can assemble a swoon-worthy center piece. The one challenge I see with this arrangment is that people might not resist the urge to pick out a pomegranate seed while dining. If you think it’ll be too tempting, leave them uncut.
For the greenery, look to the trees and bushes on your property and pick only the green leaves. You can also find “fresh greens” in your local floral shop. They sell them separately as “filler” for arrangements.
Weddings are a great source of inspiration for your table. Take this one for example from OnceWed in Australia. The color palette they used came from nature as all the colors were transisitoning from summer to fall. The table itself is classic black and white allowing the florals to shine. This is a beautiful option for those that want something different.
The white palette of this table is so crisp and simple. Browns are brought in through the plates, the urn and the gorgeous pheasant feathers.
Feathers can be found in nature of course, but your easier solution will be someplace like Hobby Lobby, Etsy or Moonlight Feather which has really good pricing. Click here for info. I personally also use feathers in my Christmas decor by adding them to my tree. They are very versitile in decor.
If you’re lucky enought to find a log on your property that you can hollow out and paint, go for it! If not, here’s a great source for one at Pier 1 and it’s on clearance!
If you’ve got acorns, you can easily pull this off!
Gather what you need and wash them. Allow them to air dry on the counter. When completely dried place them in glass hurricanes and/or vases. Add a candle to each one and you’ve got a gorgeous display or centerpiece.
TIP: Use different shapes and sizes of glass huricanes for greater interest.
Amy, of Eat Sleep Decorate, used burlap for the runner and napkin rings. She also layered magnolia leaves (picked off her parents tree) around the candle. The color palette is very neutural but it makes for a simplified and beautiful table.
One of my neighbors has a HUGE magnolia tree in their yard. If I hide on one side if it, I might be able to get a handful. Shhhh…that will be our potential little secret.
Now, if you’re into color, you have a lot of fun options with this idea. The table here is layered with gold tones, blues and oranges. Natural accents of feathers and flowers added in give this table a lot of fun textures to look at.
For this idea, again go outside to find and cut some small branches. Strip all the leaves off the branches and place them in a large glass vase.
Cut a pile of paper leaves in different colors. Have each guest write 2-3 things they are grateful for and attach each leaf to the branches with string. Having the branches high enough off the table allows for great conversation to be shared without them getting in the way…visually.
It drives me crazy when I can’t see the person I’m talking to because something blocks our view.
TIP: Make sure your gorgeous table setting doesn’t get in the way of conversations.
Another fun idea…cut some branches (with leaves) off your trees. Spray paint them gold and assemble them in a glass vase. Again, watch the height of them so you can talk thru them with your guests.
Simple yet elegant.
Many of these ideas can be done very inexpensively. You can literally find so many great items around your home or in nature.
If a neighbor has a tree you can borrow from, just ask. Take them a baked good; they might share their magnolia leaves. wink wink
With a little planning and forethought, and maybe a can of spray paint, you can knock off a few of these designs beautifully.
Remember to take joy in setting a gorgeous table. Your table should be a fun and memorable experience. It’s said that memories are made around the table so give your guests ones they’ll never forget!
If you’d like one more idea…check out the $3 centerpiece I made after a trip to WalMart. It’s getting rave reviews…because it’s so stinkin simple. Click here to catch my short video located at the bottom of the post.
What are some elements you like to decorate your table with?
What table inspires you most from this post? Please comment below.
Also, please share this post with others via social media or by email. Your kindnes will help us grow and we thank you!
Cheers to you and your home!