Thanksgiving for me is all about bringing people whom I love together. Setting a beautiful table sets the mood of the gathering and makes guests feel welcomed. But with all the cooking going on, the Thanksgiving table is often overlooked. This tablescape is totally make ahead, a bonus for all of us entertaining this busy holiday season. With its gold and red color scheme, it can transition easily into Christmas. It’s got warmth, bounty, glitter and shine! The inspiration starting point was a pair of golden papier mâché pheasants.
This table is a blend of modern and traditional. Elements of the abundance of the holiday blend seamlessly with casual(dishwasher safe!!!) dishes to keep the table fresh and modern. Here are some guidelines for setting a similar table:
1- Use placemats or chargers for a less fussy look. Place these on a table draped with a colorful textured throw, quilt or even a scarf, set on an angle or use a center runner. I chose square rattan placemats for their texture, fun shape and fall appeal. A gold wire mesh ribbon was turned into a “runner”, cut from a roll bought on clearance last holiday season. A length of burlap would work beautifully here also.
2- Bring color with beautiful napkins. Mine were scored for $1.00 at Wegman’s Supermarket and are of double thickness with complementary fabric patterns on each side. You could achieve a similar look using 2 napkins. The autumnal color spectrum in the fabric guides the other accents.
3- Stack it! Layer mismatched place settings to get a lot of vertical drama and incorporate textures and colors. I repurposed red Christmas chargers with casual white plates, patterned salad plates in fall colors and finally a soup bowl. Even if you won’t need all the pieces, you can remove them as the dinner progresses. Along with the chargers, that is 5 luxurious layers of interest at each place setting on the table.
4- Create a dramatic centerpiece but bear in mind conversation ease across the table. I am the queen of using unconventional things as centerpieces, which keeps my tables interesting. The inspiration piece for this table was a pair of golden pheasants. I loved the touch of red on their heads and they set the gold and red theme for this table. The pheasants flank a sheaf of wheat for Thanksgiving symbolism and to provide table height. I scrounged around the house to find things in red, burnt orange and gold I could add. Gilded fruit in reds and oranges were borrowed from a living room display. A gilded apple was placed in every soup bowl for a shot of color. They can be added to the runner by each guest once dinner starts. The gold runner, red beaded napkin rings and red chargers all came from the Christmas closet. The centerpiece could be a basket of interesting gourds or fresh fruit, a decorative soup tureen, a basket of mums or fresh flowers.
4- Provide a lot of candlelight for ambiance. I used 2 gold glass hurricanes with cascading bead detailing and several smaller mercury glass votives. Bring in candlelight at different heights across the table.
5- Step back, assess the table then add finishing touches: I cut bittersweet vine with yellow and red berries and snaked them across the table. This natural element complimented the wheat, rattan and leaves. I scattered more of the gilded fruit across the table and wove in some natural pheasant feathers. This is Thanksgiving after all and all about abundance!
6- Go all out and make name placecards. I know, I know. You’ve got more than enough to do! This can go a long way in making your guests feel special and doesn’t need to be fussy. I picked some red sweet gum leaves in the back yard and inscribed guests’ names on them with a gold glitter pen. Total time: 5 minutes. Cost: 0.
7- Add glistening mismatched glassware. These amber goblets(Homegoods) are rustic, reflect the candlelight and are loved by everyone. Dishwasher safe too for easy clean up!
To transition this tablescape into Christmas, remove the sheaf of wheat and replace it with a mini Christmas tree/santa figure/sleigh, switch the fruit for ornaments, swap the fall-themed salad plate for a holiday one and switch the fall napkins for Christmassy ones. The gold, red and white colors will transition perfectly into the holidays.
I hope to have inspired you to create a special table for your holiday entertaining. Happy Thanksgiving!
“A circle of friends is a blessed thing. Sweet is the breaking of bread with friends. For the honor of their presence at our board we are deeply grateful, Lord.” Nineteenth-century blessing