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Setting a Table for Thanksgiving

Updated: 2022-09-30

It’s amazing how fast each year passes. Thanksgiving is almost here, and it will be time for gathering around the table. The family dining room table has been a gathering space for hundreds of years. It is where instruction, conversation, learning, serving, and celebrating take place. And it is through these actions that we connect with one another and build and strengthen our most important relationships.

Thanksgiving brings to mind food, laughter, and family. This article addresses all of the best tips you can use when you're setting a table for Thanksgiving. We all want to re-create this idyllic scene in our own family homes. The good news is that it’s easier than you think.

Setting the Table for Thanksgiving Dinner

Before the food shopping, meal prep, and putting the bird in the oven, you may want to devote time to planning your Thanksgiving feast. How many people will you be serving? Will there be children in attendance? Will there be guests floating in and out during different times?

The first consideration when you're setting a table for Thanksgiving is to plan for enough seating. Determine how many seats can comfortably fit around your table. Whether your table is round, square, or rectangular, you may be able to push tables together to provide more seating for your guests. In addition, pull out those table leaves and drop them in. Generally, table leaves will add one seat to each of the longer sides of your table. Most traditional and modern dining tables come with one leaf, but some may come with two or three table leaves. (Adding table leaves can be done with one person, but it’s much easier with two.)

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Making the Dining Room the Focus of Your Holiday

Feast. Family. Friends.

Where food is served, people will surely gather. That’s why kitchens and their varied seating areas are often at the top of the list for entertaining spaces. For Thanksgiving, you may want to make your dining room the focus of your holiday for a change. You can create the perfect Thanksgiving presentation by using functional furniture and providing a warm, inviting environment to gather and celebrate.

Think Comfortable… Comfort and safety are the underlying psychological needs when you're setting a table for Thanksgiving. You can provide these two basic needs in many ways. Comfort starts with seating that will invite your guests to linger at the table and not escape as soon as they finish their meal. Start by creating comfort with seating.

  • Provide each person with appropriate space.
  • Seat left-handers on the left side of right-handers. (Otherwise, they’ll spend the meal knocking their hands together.)
  • Add cushions to your dining chairs for softer seating.
  • Underline your Thanksgiving meal with an autumn-colored tablecloth.
  • Add festive décor, napkins, napkin rings, dinnerware, and glasses for a themed look.

Think Convenient… Now that your table is set, you don’t want to overcrowd it with loads of serving bowls and platters.

  • Leave enough room for your guests to sit and eat comfortably and engage in conversation.
  • Use a buffet table or server to set out your holiday food, and they’ll be just steps away for second servings.
  • Use an etagere as a plate station: dinner plates, dessert plates, and coffee cups and saucers live here until they’re needed. That way, your table is filled only with what is needed at the time—nothing extra.

Think Clean… When it comes to a successful Thanksgiving holiday dinner, no one likes to stare at a stack of dirty dishes.

  • Start with an empty dishwasher and a sink filled with warm, soapy water. As you are prepping, cooking, and serving, clean as you go.
  • Wash as many dishes as possible before your guests arrive.
  • Quickly rinse dishes and place them in the dishwasher. If anything needs to be soaked, slip it into your warm, soapy water and let it do the work for you. In a matter of minutes, they’ll only need a quick rinse before you put them in the dishwasher.
  • When possible, hand wash other dishes as you go. But don’t forget to focus on your guests. If you have to leave a few dishes to clean after your guests leave, that’s OK.

Holiday Dinner Traditions

Finally, add some special holiday dinner traditions to your planning. Traditions can be as individual and unique as you want. Traditions are what people look forward to each year, what keeps them coming back, and what your children will want to pass on to their children in the years to come.

Here is a list of traditions you can choose from or use as an idea to spark your own unique customs.

  • Make breakfast special.
  • Cook a special family recipe. Homemade cranberry sauce, apple pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes?
  • Take turns expressing what you are thankful for this year. Or have everyone write their thoughts on a piece of paper to share later.
  • Remember loved ones who have passed away.
  • Arrange for a special toast.
  • Create a crazy, fun dessert for kids.
  • Connect with family not able to attend.
  • Take a long walk after dinner.
  • Put up the Christmas tree, lights, or a few decorations.

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving holiday! Gather around your Thanksgiving table with heirloom furniture from Bassett! Call us today for your one-on-one consultation!

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