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Thanksgiving: Tabletop

November 22, 2020

THANKSGIVING: TABLETOP TREATS

Laying the table is one of my favorite rituals, whether it’s for a regular Tuesday evening with the family or welcoming friends and family for the holidays (sadly not this year). To me, a beautiful table is about thoughtful layers. More than anything decorative, a sparkly clean, neatly pressed and polished table will always shine and make every person who sits at it feel loved and welcome. When in doubt, add candlelight. Candlelight transforms a space, creating instant romance and atmosphere.

In simple terms, my basic philosophies for laying the table are as follows:

Use your beautiful things but care for them well.

Sparkly clean and pressed triumphs over design and investment (as in: don’t feel obliged to rush out and buy everything in sight, you can always work with what you have on hand to create something celebratory and beautiful). Prepare your table by: ironing your linens, polishing your glasses and flatware, cleaning wax of candlesticks, votives and using fresh tapers and tealights. Yes, it is work but not only will your favorite things last longer, your table will sparkle!

It should be fun! Collect beautiful things that make your heart sing but don’t buy something that is so precious it will stress you out. Yes, we all have sentimental pieces we hate to see broken but, the point of sitting down at the table is to relax and enjoy, not to hold your breath as the person next to you gestures too enthusiastically with his red wine glass in hand. We want you as the host to feel present, chill and happy.

Candlelight is more important than flowers for an evening setting. Flowers might be tricker this year anyway (pandemic) so be creative about your centerpiece. You could use bowls of fruit (citrus, pears), some pretty sculptural piece or extra candles. If you’re really keen on flowers but can’t find a source, try trimmings from around the neighborhood.

TABLE BASICS

A holiday setting calls for a tablecloth. A plain white and ironed linen is a wonderful base — we all associate white linen with fine dining so it’s a natural fit for a formal occasion. We have a thick, heavy linen, extra large Matouk tablecloth which is my favorite for holidays. If white linen feels too stuffy, here are three fabulous patterns which would work well for your Thanksgiving table AND in all seasons:

I love stars. This Zara Home piece great.
I love this India Amory red pattern. Not only would it work well for holiday but it also would suit in the summer with chunky ceramics.
A fab all-season green print which looks easy to look after and can be dressed up or down. What more could we wish for? Oh right, a vaccine.

Placemats

Without a tablecloth, I always use a placemat. Often I use both. A rattan charger is an everyday essential whether you are entertaining at breakfast, lunch or having a casual family dinner. From my personal collection, I have these dainty Juliska (surprisingly durable) placemats for winter holidays and adore them, I also really like all the colorways: green, silver, pink.

I particularly favor oval rattan and this gray is perfection.
Struggling to think of something I find more beautiful than these placemats.
This is when I really wish I had a fairy godmother*.
Influenced by the divine yellows above, this placemat and napkin set is fab.
These are ideal in all respsects, a must.
Wow, Amazon really does own the world! These could arrive in time for T-day!

Plates

Special plates are the most fun and add magic to any table but don’t be afraid to use your regular white everyday pieces. If you layer on a pretty, patterned napkin, tealights and tapers will take you a long way. Either way, no stress. Here are some pretties I have my eye on now, even if just for inspiration:

The ARK elements is a beautiful set of hard to find collectables. These come in many color ways, all of which are lovely.
Also from the ARK and perfect for the holidays with this beautiful, creamy brown.
The inverse plates – they look wonderful layered or even as every other plate. Just heavenly!
I really, really love this collection from Williams-Sonoma. I think it’s useful everyday stuff with a special “edge” and thereby walks that fun but not exceedingly precious line which makes for the perfect collectable.
I think these are really fun, sporty and a welcome break from floral everything. French café updated.
My favorite colorway of the Juliska country collection. Petal, so pretty!

Flatware

More than anything, it just matters that your flatware is neat and tidy (polished). We use our silver everyday, it requires upkeep but its worth it to me. Here are my current favorites:

YUM. #favorite.
The cheaper chicken and totes fab. Nice that it’s complete line up!
Would be totally happy with these!

Glassware, my favorite!

Water, wine, champagne, bar glasses! All necessities for the holidays but no one is going to scoff if you serve champagne in your wine glass or water in your highball, as long as everything sparkly clean and the drink is fun and festive (alcoholic or not), no one minds. The first ones here are my favorite etched glassware from Williams-Sonoma. I have the coups, the small wine and the tall wine and I think they add nicely to every table.

Much of my grandmother’s FABULOUS etched glassware that I covet is 90’s Anthropologie. When she liked something she bought it in bulk. She was smart, they have lasted 30 years and through countless family dinners, wild parties and late nights. Antrho has not been the same since their heyday was no doubt in the 90s but, I think this year they have a few pieces which are comparable and I am excited about it. The amber and smoke glassware above is what I am referring to!

Napkins

Make sure to iron ahead of time and spot treat afterwards. I get YEARS out of my napkins which I use every. single. day. (If you know me, I really dislike paper napkins, it’s one of those “weird things” but they really bother me I cannot touch them. Charming, I know!). OxiClean, spot treatment, a great soak and press are your friends here. I love my products from the Laundress which are environmentally friendly and very effective. Back to napkins, my current favorites are:

Twinkly and fun.
One of each, pls. The best formalware.

No fail classics that don’t break the bank. My favorites are white, bluebell and olive.

Candlesticks, Tealights, Votives, Tapers, Vases & Bud Vases

Drooling.
I just bought these and I adore them.
One of my happiest purchases of this fall!

Now for actually laying the table. I’ll walk through this on stories this week. If you can go ahead and set aside the silverware, napkins, placemat or tablecloth you’d like to use, we can do it together.

To get your glassware extra clean, you can run it through the dishwasher solo and then make sure to dry it right away. You can also boil the kettle, expose it to some steam and dry right away with a clean dishtowel.

If you’re interested in some of the items above but feel lost as to which to decide on — send me a DM, or an e-mail! I’ll help you based on what you already have in house.