We’ve all seen gorgeous tablescapes in magazines, catalogs, and on Pinterest, and Instagram. While we do love to set a pretty table, we also don’t want anything complicated, or expensive. Hosting a holiday meal like Thanksgiving can be time consuming enough! Setting the table should be easy!
With that in mind, we wanted to share a few ideas to set a beautiful table this Thanksgiving that are easy to pull together! The following tablescapes were pulled together mostly using things we already had around the house! We are also sharing a few tips to make hosting a holiday meal a little easier!
This is a long standing tradition in my family, mainly due to space constraints, but it really is loved by all! Adults can eat their meal in relative peace, and kids are free to be kids! For this table setting, it’s all about the children being able to interact with what’s in front of them. Busy minds are less likely to get into mischief! We started with an inexpensive party tablecloth, and topped it with craft paper (sold by the roll at IKEA). The centerpiece consists of a few pails (found at the Target Dollar Spot) dressed up with paper turey feathers, and containing crayons, colored pencils, and stickers. We decided to avoid markers so there are no mishaps with clothing! The place settings are very simple, no need to fuss! We found these pretty paper plates and napkins and color your own placemates (all from Target) which make for easy clean up, and no stress that anything will be broken! The kids can feel free to be creative while everyone enjoys their meal!
This is an idea which is high impact, looks amazing, but in reality is very easy to put together. Each guest will have at their place setting a leaf to write on (we found these wood cut out leaves at the Target Dollar Spot). The branches were cut from trees in the yard. When selecting a vase or container for the branches, make sure it’s on the taller side, and you will need to put some stones or something with weight in the bottom so that it doesn’t tip. As guests come and sit, they can write what they are thankful for on their leaf and add it to the centerpiece! The centerpiece display is rounded out with a few candles and decorative objects, be creative! This is appropriate for a more casual table, but could also work with a more formal Thanksgiving table!
Want to get a little more Fancy?
If you are setting a formal table this Thanksgiving, the centerpiece can be easy. Time to get out all of those wedding gifts and garage sale finds! Most of us have fancy dishes or china, platters, and candlesticks. Time to dust them off! For this table, we used candlesticks and votives of various shapes and sizes. They are unified with simple white or ivory candles. Intersperse some bud vases with wheat, and you have a gorgeous but simple centerpiece for your table!
You will notice that even though these table settings have a very different look, we have reused some of the accessories in different ways. The sprigs of wheat, for example, are utilized in a different fashion in this tablescape compared to the more formal setting. We also tied a sprig of wheat with each napkin, which is a very easy way to dress up any place setting! This table is rounded out with a chunky burlap runner, and chicken wire votives. Look at places like Hoodgoods, thriftstores, dollar bins, and even the sale shelves of some of the higher end stores (especially on the off seasons) to find great classic pieces.
If you have a little extra time, you can create custom napkins as well. This is an easy weeknight project, and requires only fabric paint, a paintbrush, and a stencil (all of these can be found at Michaels Crafts). Wash and dry the napkins first. Simply lay the napkin out, place the stencil on a corner, use a little masking tape to hold it in place, and blot with the fabric paint. Voila! They will need to dry overnight.
Tips for lower stress Holiday entertaining:
- Prepare things ahead of time. Many of the dishes for holiday meals can be prepped ahead. Chop veggies and store them in Ziplocs. Put casseroles together the night before. Set your table a few days in advance. The more you do ahead of time, the more you will able to enjoy yourself that day!
- Have activities prepared for children. No one wants to hear whining! Weather permitting have a few outdoor games ready to go. A family football game is a great way to get some energy out! We also love watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and for the post-turkey coma the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie is a winner!
- Have lots of wine and beer ready to go! We all love our families, but at times with big family holidays comes stress and drama! A little wine goes a long way towards making everyone happier!
- Have some items ready to go for last minute overnight guests. We keep a basket stocked with travel size shampoo, toothbrushes, soap, etc. Make sure that you have some sheets and blankets at the ready just in case!
- Don’t forget our furry friends! Dogs in particular can become stressed with change in routines, noise, and houseguests! Have a nice bone or bully stick at the ready for distraction (and less begging at the table!)
Do you have any other amazing Holiday entertaining ideas and timesavers? A pretty tablescape or centerpiece? Fun family tradition? Please share with us in comments below or tag us on social media!
–Cara and Monica