A Small, Stylish Gathering

November 2020 | by carolee mccall smith

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love getting the whole family together. Kids run rampant through the house while the adults practically have to yell to be heard over the chaos.

The feel of Thanksgiving has changed from year to year. Some years we all feel like relaxing and keeping it casual. We sit around the table in comfy clothes and eat off paper plates to simplify the cleanup. Other years feel fancy with sparkly wine glasses and antique china. 

But this year will be unique. To keep the group numbers down, Thanksgiving will be an intimate event this year. I want to embrace those things that make the day feel special. Since that can’t be a large group, this year will be traditional, full of fall feels, and not a paper plate in sight.

To create the environment I’m envisioning; I set the table. 

I’ve never learned to cook. I know my mom is disappointed in me too, (hi Mom!). So really, making the place pretty is all I’ve got to contribute when it comes to Thanksgiving. Well, that, and I’m really good at eating the food. 

Table Settings

Oranges and golds adorn the table and complement the deep blue-gray walls (Sherwin Williams Peppercorn). Branches and candles bring height to the table without being difficult to see around. Of course, by the time you’re reading this, my six-year-old artist will have painted or colored all of those pumpkins, so who knows what color they’ll be by Thanksgiving. 

A side table creates a great place for a drink dispenser and a place to set food once it has gone around the table. 

I ran a roll of black paper under the table runner this year as a fun way to mark the seating arrangement. My kids like to see their names in fancy letters. And then I can make sure to sit my two youngest on opposite sides of the table to minimize the screaming.  

Why, yes, I did hide extra napkins in that bowl, within easy reach of the table. I’m impressed you noticed! We all have that messy one in the family who needs more than one napkin. I won’t tell you who our messy one is, but he’s really cute and thin because he gets more food on his napkin(s) than he gets into his stomach. 

Thanksgiving will feel different this year, and while I’ll miss the big gathering, I know we still have a lot to be thankful for. And to make your home festive in a different way, you can start by setting the table. 

Originally printed in the November 2020 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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