We did it. We celebrated another Thanksgiving at our house, and we survived!
I think I might have actually even liked it.
Our dinner table was a bit more casual this year than the last time we hosted Thanksgiving, and I think that made all the difference. I focused on creating casual yet elegant Thanksgiving decor, inspired by the colors of fall leaves. And I love how it all came together!
Keeping it casual
Typically, Thanksgiving dinner is a formal event. And though our table seems formal at first glance, it really is fairly casual. I think that made all the difference this time. I felt more relaxed when decorating, and even relaxed a bit more during the meal.
Here’s how we relaxed our formal table:
- Skip the tablecloth. If you have a nice looking table, show it off! Tablecloths can feel stuffy and ultra-formal.
- Use white ceramic instead of china. We don’t have formal china, but my MIL has plenty that she would let me borrow. All I need to do is ask. That said, white ceramic in mixed patterns is a great way to let other decor elements pop.
- Use food for creative displays. For our centerpieces, I used hominy and mini apples in a few clear apothecary jars. Believe it or not, the hominy has a slight sheen to it, that made it a beautiful vase filler. The baby apples were a fun pop of color, and made great placecard holders too.
- Include printables in your decor. You can find tons of free holiday printables, many of which are fairly casual in style. (We used Thanksgiving printables from Pizzazzerie)
- Incorporate rustic textiles. Burlap is perfect for Thanksgiving, and is naturally very casual. Warning: A little bit goes a long way. The more burlap you incorporate, the more casual the look.
- Don’t be afraid to use something unusual. The turkey cut-outs underneath the place cards are actually glittered foam from the Target dollar spot. They’re a little silly, but I love how they look with the apples and the striped cards.
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Mixing in some Elegance
Even with a more relaxed style, Thanksgiving isn’t your typical weeknight dinner. I still like it to feel special and out-of-the-ordinary. Here are a few ways to make your casual table feel a bit more elegant:
- Add just a touch of sparkle. Gold chargers, glitter, glass candlesticks. Small amounts of these elements sprinkled throughout the decor make a casual design feel more formal.
- Use nice flatware. We used real silver, but you can easily use nice looking flatware collected from thrift stores. The point is to use something that isn’t your every day plain flatware.
- Use cloth napkins. Even if it’s just plain white linen, cloth napkins instantly take dinner to the next level.
- Layer, layer, layer. If you’re like us, your average meal doesn’t include layers of chargers, and the like. Each place setting at our Thanksgiving table has multiple layers, from the chargers to the place cards. Layering several elements on the table runner also shows that this just isn’t any old Thursday.
Incorporating Sentimental Pieces.
My absolute favorite element from this fall leaf inspired Thanksgiving decor is the table runner. There’s a story behind almost every piece. The lace was handed down from my mother-in-law. The yellow table runner is actually a provencal style tablecloth that reminds me of the tablecloths I saw on my honeymoon in France. The faux fall leaves were collected over the years from other parties. And the candlesticks were a wedding gift from a family member.
Individually these pieces are nice, but put together in the right way created a lovely centerpiece. Best of all, incorporating sentimental pieces provides instant conversation starters and makes your decor more personal.
With my newfound love of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing more casual yet elegant Thanksgiving decor from us in years to come. But what do you like?
Do you like formal or casual Thanksgiving dinners?
Tell me about a sentimental piece you would incorporate into your tablescape.