Thanksgiving - The Simple Table

Fretting about Thanksgiving?  The people, the food, the table....you're not alone.  Most of us tend to start fretting early and fret all the way until the last slice of turkey and pie have been devoured.  For years the table or should I say, how I would set the table, would be all consuming.  After 44 years of marriage and a lifetime of table setting, guess what....the simple table wins every time!

This is our family table.  The history of it - it was originally a door!  It had lots of scuffs, dents, broken glass, and splinters.  Able craftsmen were able to turn it on its side, restore its finish, fill the window area with wood, add legs...and voila - the family table! I do love wondering who has been welcomed through it when it was a door.  This old table has persevered through time, had some restoration work, and now fulfills it's true purpose to be a gathering place of welcoming spirit to all who grace beside it....not too different from some of us! Ooops...I've digressed from the simple table talk...back to some ideas on keeping it simple.

I start with a simple runner...this takes care of lamenting over a tablecloth...which I do love tablecloths....but they don't conjure up simple.  Burlap runners abound at local craft stores, or in this instance I had a few short pieces and have overlapped them end to end to run the length of our table. You could also use a length of fabric...just have it cut longer than the table, fold it lengthwise with the raw edges becoming the under side, and let the ends hang off the table edge.  You can tie the hanging ends into a knot to cover the raw edges.  No one will ever know not a stitch was sown!

Napkins....another controversy.  At the heart of it I am an advocate of cloth napkins...so many times, in fact "many" means just about every meal at our table....we will use inexpensive kitchen towels.  Give them a roll up, tie with twine and tuck in some foraged greenery - this happens to be rosemary from my herb garden...and you will be the hero when the first spill occurs...and yes, the spill will indeed happen and everyone will have a "napkin towel" in hand to quickly soak up the spill! Oh...and NO ironing needed!

And, you can use a length of burlap or fabric to run not just the length of the table, but the width which will take care of place settings down the sides of your table.

So, you don't have a candle holder for your table...no need to fret....just place votives directly on your runner and sprinkle sprigs of rosemary, boxwood, laurel leaves....you get the idea...

For sure, think outside the floral box.  These big green textural spheres are "horse apples."  I'm sure there's some horticulturally correct name for them...but I know them as horse apples....and Thanksgiving is the time they abound in nature. No horse apples in your neck of the woods? You could use apples, or how about mini gourds...you know the ones that look like mini pumpkins.  Get outside the floral box frame of mind and I know you'll come up with someting fabulous for your table.

No candleholder to put your foraged items onto....well, find a simple dish and pile them into it.  Add a few sprigs of nature, a few votives, and you have a beautiful table. 

A few more ideas...try using a cheese board as the table feature...looks good....tastes better!  Or will you be  having Thanksgiving on your porch....this one pictured here is at one of our local organic farms....those folks never fret....they just grab a handful of whatever is growing in the field and place them into random glass vessels on the center of the table.  Chairs don't match, flatware doesn't match..plates don't match...but what does work...no one is fretting, and everyone feels welcomed!

Another idea is to fill the table with votives...it makes a statement for sure...and look - there are no candles in the candle holder....just sunflowers cut short and tucked into short jars.  Fret not!

Do gather.  Do create a beautiful table from what you have on hand. Do savor the relationships. Thanksgiving will never be the same!

from my table to yours,

helen