A Table to be Thankful for

o you’ve spent days, possibly weeks, planning a menu, shopping, baking, and decorating your home for holiday guests. You’re on the home stretch, the big day has almost arrived… have you forgotten anything? What about the table? The spirit of the season shouldn’t stop at the entrance to your dining room. Polished silver and the “good” china may be fine for the occasional dinner party or birthday bash, but Thanksgiving calls for a little more showmanship. Luckily, we’ve got a few festive tricks to make your holiday table a hit!

Beautiful Bowls
Halloween may be over, but the pumpkins haven’t left yet! Gather up the stragglers from the local market or farm, hollow them out and fill them with cranberry sauce, dip, soup, dessert, or whatever you like. Squashes work just as well! Remember to slice a thin layer off the bottom of the bowl to help it rest level and firm.

If you’re itching for something a bit more creative, buy a block of polymer clay. Follow the package directions to sculpt and bake the clay into novel trays and bowls. Get children involved and try molding a miniature Mayflower. Poke a toothpick into a ball of clay at the bottom of the ship for a mast. Once the baked clay has cooled, add a square cut from a paper plate, a piece of paper, or even a swatch of cloth for your sail. How about a teepee toothpick holder, appetizer dishes shaped like Indian feathers – let your children’s and your imagination run wild!

Nature’s Napkin Rings
Spruce up everyday napkin rings with a sprig of autumn wheat or a real or silk fall leaf placed between the top of your napkin and the ring. Add ribbon or raffia for more polish. Or, create your own napkin rings! Glue acorns together to form a circle, or recycle cardboard tubing from used gift wrap or paper towel rolls. When using the latter, make sure to glue your fall leaves and wheat to the outside of the tube section. You might also try gluing colorful bits of Indian corn or fall flowers to the cardboard. Teach kids about early American fashion and holiday crafting by fashioning tiny pilgrim and Indian hatband rings. All you’ll need is the same cardboard tubing, tape, more glue, colorful construction paper or paint, and your memories of elementary school American history!

Place Cards with Pizazz
Make every guest at your table feel special with personalized place cards. Try sawing a ½ inch vertical slit in the top of a mini pumpkin and fit a place card in the opening. Enlist the kids to put their art skills to the test and draw or cut out cards shaped like turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, or teepees. For more formal flair, tie the name card to a miniature ear of Indian corn with ribbon or raffia.

Pretty Plates
Food doesn’t always look quite as lovely as it tastes. But you can brighten a pale broth or accent fresh greens with an arrangement of fall leaves or flowers under and around a salad plate or soup bowl. With clear plastic or glass plates try layering leaves between two plates, or a larger dish and a salad plate.

Finishing Touches
Top everything off with a few final embellishments. Scatter real or silk leaves and autumn blossoms along a runner or beneath wine glasses, serving dishes, and bowls. Set miniature vases filled with cheerful fall flora next to each guest’s seat.

Recipes
Plates this lovely should only serve the most delicious holiday dishes. Here are a few deserving Thanksgiving favorites to get you started. Once you’ve prepared your feast and set your table, internet search provide the perfect wine for your holiday toast!