This Years’ Thanksgiving Dining Table

This year was a departure from my traditional squashes, gourds and pheasants. I typically have a more fall themed table, but this year I was inspired by the beautiful elk antlers that were given to me by a Vermont friend. I went for a “mountain chic” look by pairing them with glamorous silver and etched crystal.

A harvest theme table setting idea

Just a little table setting inspiration for Thanksgiving. This china, from Johnson Brothers is my traditional favorite and I always use my stag-horn cutlery for Thanksgiving, I just feel it looks very “harvest-y”. Both the china and the cutlery are on The Hive Shop under Autumn and Holiday.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas


Here are some table setting ideas using dishes in different settings, colors, etc.  Some are a bit more formal, others more casual.  I like mixing different patterns and colors for visual appeal.  I use some elements from nature as well.  The oak leaves are fresh.  They are great to work with since they stay vibrant for days!  Below are some links for similar dishes and items that I have used here.

Nautical Themed Table Setting

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For a dinner at the lake house, I pulled out my fun nautically inspired dishes.  These actually came from my parents’ boat a number of years ago.  Mixed with the red, white and blue colors, they really pop.  I added silver shells and other seaside inspired accessories to add to the “beachy” feel.  I personally picked the items below to create a similar look.  Especially love the square nautical flag appetizer plates!

Inspired Christmas Table Settings

Not everyone has a multitude of dishes for every occasion, however with a change of accessories, glassware, chargers and colors you can create endless combinations.  The examples here show a change of theme with just a change of the accessories.

The above show pretty much the same dishes.  In the first, I’ve changed out the flatware for a woodland motif.  The others have some glamour appeal and the last is dressed down for a more casual and whimsical look, note the ‘snow globe’ ornament.  Using decorations at your dinner table adds interest and visual appeal.

Even though I have place card holders, sometimes I like to use gift tags adorned with stickers tied to napkins or a small ornament at each place setting.  The idea is to think beyond an items ‘designated’ use.  If it appeals to you, try to use it at the table.  Just be sure to coordinate colors and theme.  Have fun!


It’s Party Season – tips for successful entertaining

In my blog entry “Make Thanksgiving Stress Free”, I give many of my tried and true entertaining tips that bear repeating. Basically, as with everything, pre-planning is everything.   If you are having a holiday party, large or small, any or all of these tips will be beneficial for having your party run smoothly.

Have a designated closet or space for coats.  Preferably not right at your entrance, so as to avoid a cluttered look.  Rent or purchase a rolling coat rack, or clear out your hall closet of your own coats, so as to provide ample space for your guests.  Be sure to add hangers.

Clear out your refrigerator of any excess food, condiments, etc., so as to make room for large platters (that you have made in advance) and also for the leftovers that will be going in after the party.

Prepare as much of your food as you can in advance.  Have it ready to be placed in the oven or on the buffet in it’s serving container.

Empty the dishwasher so it is on the ready for loading day/night of your event

Look around, do you have enough seating?  This depends on the type of event you are throwing, naturally if it is a dinner you need chairs for your guests.  If you are throwing a cocktail party, I have found the majority of people stand or walk around having conversations.  Still, have seating in conversational groupings.  Many people make the mistake of removing too much furniture, you will need small tables here and there as a landing place for a drink or small plate.  If you must, re-arrange your living room furniture to accomodate.

If you have a fireplace, make sure the wood bins are full.  Have the logs stacked and ready to light.  You don’t want to be running around looking for newspaper minutes before your guests arrive.  Light the fireplace at least 1/2 hour prior to your event.  It could be just that night that the flue decides not to draft!  At least you can resolve that before anyone shows up!

Lighting is everything.  Lamps and candles help to set the mood.  Avoid bright overhead lighting unless it is a chandelier with a dimmer.  I always like to have a candle in the powder room, but avoid having them close to the bar or at the buffet.  And try not to have scented candles close to your food.

Be sure that there are ample hand towels in the powder room.  I like to use decorative paper hand towels, that way each guest has a clean dry towel. Always have at least an extra roll of toilet paper in a container or under the vanity.  Place a fresh new bar of soap in the soap dish or use a pump dispenser but again, make sure it is new and full.

Set the mood with music, but keep the volume from becoming overwhelming.

Have your entrances well lit and be prepared for winter weather by keeping shovels and salt handy if needed.

My children love to help at parties, and truthfully, they are quite good at it.  My son usually helps to direct with parking, shoveling walks and hanging coats.  My daughters clear away plates and work the buffet and loading dishwashers.  If you can’t hire a caterer, I suggest hiring a freind’s son or daughter for help – I have found that they are always more than happy to help out, plus they earn a little spending money!

And finally, always, always greet your guests.  Do not be upstairs fixing your hair as your guests show up.  You want to exude effortlessness and hospitality.  This instantly makes your guests feel welcome.   Let the festivities begin!


Make Thanksgiving stress free – some of my tips!

Whether this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving or your 20th, there are always ways to make your entertaining easier and stress free.  You want your guests to feel relaxed and comfortable – and you should convey that as well – or at least look that way!  Since I am always the host, here are a few of my tips that have always proven successful to the point that Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday.

Always set the table a few days out, this way if you are short on utensils, place settings or anything for that matter, there is time to get it.  Make place cards – if using – and go over the seating. Custom creations for place cards are always a nice addition to the table.  Try tying an attractive piece of paper to a pear or small pumpkin and place on each plate.  I have also used small acorn ornaments tied around the napkins with a place card attached.

I like to give my guests something to take home as well, I have used beautiful foil wrapped chocolate turkeys at childrens place settings.

Make a list of everything you are serving.  Take that to the grocer as well, just to be sure you don’t forget anything.

Plan a beautiful centerpiece, but keep the height at a level where people can look over at each other.  Use tea lights here and there to create a glow among the glassware and dishes.  I prefer them to tapers because there is less risk of drips and falling tapers!

The day before thanksgiving, refer to your menu.  Place on the buffet or where ever you will be serving, the serving dishes you intend to use.  Take a sticky note and write on it what you are serving in that particular dish and label it.  Place the serving utensils in or next to the dish as well.  This way you avoid that last minute scramble looking for that casserole that is at the bottom of that large pile in the back of the cupboard!

Clear your refrigerator of any extraneous food.  Get rid of old left-overs, condiments, anything that is taking up too much space.  You want your refrigerator to be ready to take on the leftovers, so your not left shuffling things around to make room after dinner.

Put the butter out the day before (covered) so it has time to soften.  Do not fill your salt shakers if they are silver until the morning of.  Salt is corrosive to silver, I learned this the hard way!

If you are serving hors d’oeuvres, take out cheeses that need to soften early in the day.  Again, have plates, napkins and service ware out where it is to be presented.  Make your cheese platters, vegetable platters early in day and store covered in refrigerator ready to take out at the last minute.

Keep your menu list next to where you are cooking.  When it starts to get busy, it can be easy to forget something you planned to serve, like leaving the applesauce in the fridge.  I will admit, I have been known to find roasted potatoes in the oven………….after dinner!

Make sure your dishwasher is emptied and ready to whisk away any dishes that begin to pile up as the day progresses.  However, avoid disappearing to the kitchen to clean while your guests are still at the table.

Have all candles lit 1/2 hour prior to guests arriving.  Keep scented candles away from the food.

The motto here is, the more you can do ahead the better. This way you too will be able to relax and enjoy the day with your guests.

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!