The Thanksgiving Table

This year, Thanksgiving was hosted at my Mom & Dad's house. They provided the space, the turkey, the seats and the silverware and we provided the rest of the food and the decor. Because I can be intense, I decided to 'design' Thanksgiving. I wanted to share with you what I did.

Thanksgiving Menu IdeaFirst, here's our menu. Everything was made from scratch, even the "Herbed Compound Butters."

By the way, it takes longer to say that than to actually make it. Just bring your butter up to room temperature, mix stuff in, roll it up in parchment until you get a tube and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. Bingo.

Everything on the menu was prepared the day of in about 5 hours. I did not really help basically at all. The food was brought to us by Victor, the person I am married to, who is Italian by blood and into good food by nature.

In all, we had ~15 adults and 6 kids.

Thanksgiving Name TagsI then got out my trusty Prosperity Pens Antique Flex Nib Fountain Pen and wrote out everyone's names. The little pine branches you see above I did with watercolor and a touch of glitter. When you use a just a little bit of glitter that makes it classy, right? Thought so!

And this is what each person had on their plate at the table. I made the little clothespin bird thing. Want to know how to make that? Here is a link to the wonderful blog that told me how to do it. The reason I took the time to make the clothespin amazingness is because I had visions of my guests taking them home and putting them on their Christmas trees and feeling nostalgic for Thanksgiving throughout the entire holiday season, and years to come, too. I had that vision in my mind and I was like, "YES! I WILL SPEND THREE HOURS DOING THIS!" I ended up making ~30 of these suckers.

My Mom put three on her tree. I am pretty sure at least she was into it.

Thanksgiving Place SettingHere is what the place settings looked like:

Thanksgiving Place SettingThat's my Mom's China. I love, love, love the pattern. I love it more than my own china pattern. I think it's called Savannah.

Here's what guests would see after they picked up their menu and name card:

Thanksgiving Place SettingA pop of red! My favorite color experience. And my Great Aunt Aggie's silverware.

Here are the food labels. I also tucked live pine branches between all the dishes laid out buffet-style in the kitchen. I was getting so intense with the vision I had for Thanksgiving. I did not restrain myself basically at all.

SE-Thanksgiving-2012-jAnd here are my centerpieces for the table. Victor and I went and cut some baby pine branches literally on the way over to my parent's house so they were very fresh. My Mom kept them out through New Year's and let me tell you, best item to use to decorate your tables through the holidays. It's free, and fabulous.

SE-Thanksgiving-2012-eI tucked copies of vintage family photographs into the pine branches I had going down the center of the tables. I bunched branches together until I formed a 'snake' the length of each table using jute. I then layered over vintage sequin trimming, tucked in baby's breath and placed some battery-powered tealights throughout. It was dreamy looking and I will replicate this in the future sometime when I entertain.

It's kind of magic, sitting there, with greenery in front of you all candlelit, seeing pictures of your relatives at a table surrounded by their descendents...like I said, 'designing' Thanksgiving brought out something intense in me.

Those are my Mom's parents in the photos, by the way. They had 6 kids!

The below is a more accurate depiction of the 'vibe' in terms of lighting. As it got darker and darker outside, the table just got prettier and prettier.

Thanksgiving CenterpieceI am a fan of my own tablescaping skills. Look at that vintage sequin trim!

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

There's still more. I got really into the kid's table. I had a bunch of extra mustaches and colorful indian hats leftover from a birthday party (OK, it was my birthday party) this summer and so I went with that.

I'd love to have a discussion about cultural appropriation here, but we should probably start at the schools the kids all go to that had had them cranking out indian hats for WEEKS leading up to Thanksgiving.

Here's what their table looked like:

SE-Thanksgiving-2012-h

I printed out a bunch of 'activity' sheets for them. I also happened to have around 11 dozen small plastic magnifying glasses laying around (also from my birthday party this summer) so I made a game and hid them around the house. First kid to find one of each color got a prize. The prize was a wedding decoration I swiped from a cousin's wedding three weeks prior. It was a huge hit!

I only managed to use 18 of those mini-magnifying glasses. So, I've got about 9 dozen left, still.

Thanksgiving Name TagsThat was how I designed Thanksgiving this year. Will I do it again? Probably. I will also probably do the same thing with the centerpieces because you can use them through the entire holiday season....no need to water them or anything.

Hope you like!

Questions I got: 

  • Typefaces on the menu are Lelet Script and Gotham.
  • Photos I printed in my office using photo paper. I just color copied them onto photo paper basically and they turned out great. Guests took them home when they left so it was perfect!
  • Ink for the names I wrote out is Diamine Damson