Monday, November 1, 2010

Table Top Tips for Turkey Day

Looking out my window and taking in all this gorgeous fall color reminds me that the holidays are coming fast, so I'm taking a break from watching design shows to focus on some quick tips for setting a pretty table for Thanksgiving and any other events you are having this fall.

New England Autumn

According to my father in law, "If you can't eat it, it doesn't belong on the table."  Ok, Dad, how about we compromise and combine the edible with the inedible??

One idea I have used for different holidays - I have a pair of tall candle holders with glass bowls on top.  The glass is lovely, but with just a small candle inside - its lacking.  I fill the bottom of the bowl with something in the colors of the season and nestle the candles inside. A regular glass bowl will work just as well.  Assorted nuts or multicolor color beans they sell for soups make a great base that you can use with an orange or rust colored candle for the fall.  For Christmastime holidays, I have used fresh cranberries,  red or green jelly beans or mini pine cones.  Just remember to use tea lights or small candles that have some kind of enclosed bottom so you don't end up with a waxy mess to clean up.  And make sure that whatever you use will not catch fire or melt!  (The M & M idea didn't work out so well!)

Candlesticks with some fresh oregano sprigs!

Berry sprigs and candles

 Waxed gourds in a pretty, low basket will look very festive when flanked by several brass candlesticks.  Add some mini dried corn cobs or leaves from the backyard as an accent!  Or how about a brass bowl filled with fruit and nuts?  Oranges, apples, pomegranates, pears - sit them on a bed of walnuts or chestnuts and you have a display that is not only beautiful, but will serve as one of the courses of your dinner!

Fake leaves don't make a mess and never turn brown!

Or you can read my first post, entitled "Lighten Up!" where I talk about using herbs as centerpieces.

The centerpiece is only half the battle!  I like to try to mix it up with my table linens.  I like a solid color tablecloth with pretty patterned napkins. Or coordinate different patterns - florals and stripes go well together.  I even have napkins that are floral on one side and stripe on the other! Roll 'em up, fold 'em up!  Use napkin rings! Use old bracelets or jewelery to adorn them! Use your imagination!

If you have good china that justs sits in the cabinet - use it!  It's just as easy to set a table with the good stuff, as it is with the everyday ware.  There are just too many pretty pieces of china out there sitting imprisoned behind glass doors because we are afraid that if we use them, one of them may break.  So what?  Once they break, you can add in other pieces that coordinate. The best looking tables are ones that aren't so "matchy-matchy".

And don't forget to dress up the food!  I sometimes dip grapes in raw sugar and put those around the turkey platter.  Maybe its a little too "Martha Stewart", but everyone oohs and aahs and the grapes get eaten! 

Remember that the best things about your holiday table is not what's on it, its the people around it.  They add the spice, color and flavor to your life!

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."  Frederick Keonig

Amen to that!!

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