# Home and Garden # Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving Table 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! In this week's video I show you our Thanksgiving table for this year. This video really encourages you to use whatever you have on hand to set a beautiful table. On our table this year we use my great-grandmother's beautiful china along with our everyday glasses and silverware.

I have layered the table linens to create a more elegant effect, using a table cloth, a table runner and square rattan place mats.

I referenced Charles Macpherson's The Butler Speaks (I love this book!) to make sure the place setting is on track and I adjusted it to fit our table.

The most important thing to remember if you are hosting Thanksgiving is to make the best use of what you have. No need to go out and purchase expensive table dressings to impress. Get creative with your table and you can create a beautiful table scape.

There is so much more I'd like to share with you! I hope you check out this week's video for a detailed talk-through of our Thanksgiving table.

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Check out my timely interview with Chico's clothing brand on their blog, Inside Chic: Madame Chic's 4 Ways to Be A Relaxed Hostess.

Over 50 Feeling 40 is experimenting with the concepts in Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic by dressing well for working at home.

Heather from Cedar and Bloom blogs about her daughter's ten-item wardrobe.

Comment of the Week

Amber S writes:

When I was young and still in college I often would "crash" at a friends apartment when we would stay up late studying or have an exam in the morning as she lived 5 minutes from school and I lived 45 by car. As I said we were young and far from having homes with special guest rooms or fancy china, I think I usually slept on the couch. My friend however is one of those hosts who have the ability to make you feel so at home. I think the thing that I remember most is that there was always soap and a washcloth and towel setting on the bathroom counter for me and coffee set to brew with a mug out when I woke up. It was small things but she knew I liked to have a shower first thing and a cup of coffee and I got up early. It's the little things that make a host. I was more comfortable staying on her couch in her little apartment than I have been at houses with designated guest rooms and fancy linens. it goes to show that you can be a marvelous host in whatever living circumstances you have it's about making the people feel loved and being proud of your home!

You are so right, Amber, it's the little things that make a host. Thanks for sharing this with us!

This week I would love to know... what are your plans for Thanksgiving? What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? How do you plan to set the table? I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I will see you all next week!

Jennifer x

** Please note: there are two spoons missing from the table setting in the picture and video. This is not by design. Between the time I set the table and the time I shot the video two of the spoons were removed unbeknownst to me by my daughter :)

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Unknown said...

So lovely! You are such an inspiration. You just made me feel som much better with my uneven set of old napkins! What does it matter that one of the is not like the other! Looking forward to more of this! Want to now about your Christmas decorations! Jane

Lillian said...

Hi Jennifer! I have a question about your table. It looks like all the plates are set out on the table at the start of the meal. Do you also put the food on the table? My family is pretty large. Every year we get together (often 20+ people) and my grandmother, aunts, and mother all prepare the meal in the kitchen. We then say a family prayer and file through, plates in hand, buffet-style. This also means we have to fit everything on one large plate (instead of smaller specifically designed plates the way you have in this video). The tables are otherwise beautifully appointed, but we don't do the place settings that way (and I'm actually not a huge fan of this "buffet style" serving method).
I know Madame Chic had a tea cart that she used to roll all the food out at once. How did serving go from there? Was every course out at once on the cart? What if there are lots of people and the food doesn't fit?

Pammie said...

Your Thanksgiving table is beautiful! I agree that we should use what we have, and that it's the love and warmth of the home that matter. I have my mother's china and a collection of vintage linens that I love to use. Thank you and enjoy the holiday!

Susan said...

Let me begin by complimenting your china. It is beautiful. What a treasure!
We have quite a large extended family gathering for Thanksgiving each year and cannot all fit at one table. In fact, this year there will be four tables! I will seat eight in the dining room, two groups of four on folding tables in the living room and one table of six in the kitchen. I have just finished ironing the table linens and polishing the silver flatware ( inherited silverplate which is as charming as it is sentimental ) Even with a large group, I do not defer to paper plates, as so many of my friends have recommended. Each table will be set with table linens (some more casual that others) centerpieces and china. Yes, it is more labor intensive, but I believe the rewards far outweigh the effort.
I also would like to share that when each grandchild turns 4, ( old enough to manage drinking from a "real cup" without too many mishaps ) they are given their own monogrammed pewter cup ( wish I could afford silver! :-) to be used at all our family meals. Just another touch to make our shared meals special and hopefully to create some lasting memories.
I am genuinely thankful that I am able to celebrate holidays and many "ordinary days" with my family around our table(s).

Maureen @Raising The Capable Student said...

The best part of Thanksgiving is family, friends, great food...and NO presents!

Gigi said...

What a beautiful table! And I didn't notice the white napkin until you pointed it out. I will most likely create something nice for our table - only to have it completely dismantled once dinner comes out as the husband prefers to put as much of the food on the table for dinner. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Rose said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Jennifer

Unknown said...

My husband's chocolate, bourbon pecan pie! Our pear glazed turkey and cornbread jalapeƱo stuffing runs a close 2nd and 3rd.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Unknown said...

Jennifer that looks beautiful. At the end of the day, people are just happy to be fed, to be around their loved one's, and to feel taken care of. Nobody notices (or cares) if the napkins don't match. I wish we had Thanksgiving in Australia, it looks like such a beautiful holiday. Keep up the good work. I think you are amazing.

Andrea W said...

Your table is very elegant! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for your weekly messages.

Patricia said...

Jennifer, I so love you and your blog, subtle yet elegant. To me, it's a breath of fresh air...displaying good taste, good manners, the loveliness one can experience in everyday life with just a bit of effort and thought expended...unlimited funds not required.

Debbie From Illinois said...

Jennifer, your table setting is lovely. Happy Thanksgiving.

Unknown said...

Jennifer, your table looks lovely. I agree that things don't have to match or be super fancy, but it is nice to set things in a pleasing manner to make the day special. This year we will only have our daughter visiting, who is a vegetarian, so I'll be making a chicken for my husband and I instead of a turkey, with lots of side dishes for us all to enjoy. I will be setting the table with a gold tablecloth and rust colored cloth napkins. I bought some flowers at the grocery store that include yellow roses and some green pom pom looking flowers. We'll have water goblets that I picked up at a yard sale years ago, along with the chain store wine glasses and qvc silverware. Just because there will only be 3 of us, I still want to make it a special day and make the table pretty. Like you, I am saddened by the casualness that has crept into the American mindset. I want everyone to be comfortable, but this does not include pajamas for all occasions. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! You are such an inspiration!

Evaline said...

Hi Jennifer, Thank you for sharing this with us...it looks lovely.
I find it is getting harder to find good quality, reasonably priced table linens in elegant colours and patterns. One tip you might enjoy is using your lovely cream cloth for all your special dinners, but collecting a few seasonal runners...such as burnt orange for the fall, a Christmas one, and a brighter floral or muti-toned runner for spring/ summer. They then become part of your tradition.

When it is time to buy new napkins, cutlery or glasses, think long term and buy at least 1/3 more in quantity than you need. It is easier and more economical to buy extras for your sets at the beginning than to search for replacements years later when pieces get lost or damaged.

Some glasses that we love that are beautiful, versatile and very sturdy are villeroy and boch Boston. We have clear and green ones and use them everyday. I love the way they look and feel.


I wish you and you family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

M.Lane said...

What a great post! Here's to a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! I particularly loved your comment about not stressing out and focusing on the reason for the day not whether you have matching napkins. SO true.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Unknown said...

I have an idea for Lillian, and really anyone who is subject to "buffet style" entertaining due to the size or preference of their extended family.

I was at a church party this last weekend that was beautifully decorated. Each table was personally decorated by one hostess, who brought in her own personal china to set the table. Obviously with 100+ people, you don't want to run the risk of someone bringing china up to the buffet and then dropping it! The way they dealt is to set the table with china, then place one of those "nicer" clear plates atop the china to bring to the buffet: that way you don't run the risk of breaking it, but you can still see the beautiful china underneath. If you don't want to use plastic, you could do a similar idea, using simple white plates on top with china peeking out underneath.

Obviously this isn't as formal as you may wish, but it might be a nice way to marry your family's more casual proclivities with your own desire for chicness! And who knows, perhaps it might make your guests more comfortable by just giving them a little "taste" of formality, and inspire them to include more formality in their lives!

At the end of the day, I think we have to take our ideals and tweak them to work best with our families and our situation...

JennieJen said...

Hi Jennifer,
this is a brilliant post demonstrating the French ideals of making your guests feel welcome, acknowledging the efforts you put in, and making every meal an occasion.

My mother is the master of table decorating and I only ever hope to emulate her brilliance. She is an ex-air stewardess and as such, she entertains guests with a real flourish of hospitality. I am in awe at the beauty of the tables she arranges for special ocassions and it has taught me to always make an effort in my home now that I have my own children. My daughter adores it when I put flowers and candles out and even my bold-as-brass son wants to be involved in dinner party planning now.

I have recently moved to a new country and we are living out of suitcases in a rental property, but that doesn't mean that I don't pick some flowers from the garden to arrange in a pretty (and empty!) wine bottle.

In my blog I share the table decoration that I have prepared at my work here for the holiday season. http://antiguaviews.com/2015/11/25/decorating-the-table-for-thanksgiving/
Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving also.

Anonymous said...

My "china pattern" is vintage Fiesta Ware, some of which was my grandmother's, that I've added to over the years as I find pieces at vintage shops and garage sales. We don't have "good china" and "everyday china". I love Fiesta Ware, so we use it every day. I know that a lot of people just collect it and keep it on their shelves to look at, but that seems wasteful to me. I think that things like to be used and know that they are loved. My glassware is also vintage -- the pattern is gold leaves on a frosted glass background. ( I was delighted when I was watching Mad Men and saw that Don and Betty Draper had my glassware, lol.) I've found very nice tablecloths and napkins at garage sales as well. One doesn't have to spend a lot to have a nicely set table.

Polly said...

This is a pretty table! I am very fond of dinner parties and love to use what I have in new ways, to new effect. I have inherited several sets of china from various ancestors and rotate it seasonally (I got rid of our 'everyday' china and simply use the best as our 'everyday'...same thing with the silverware.) Last Advent I hosted a week's worth of small dinner parties and used a different set of china each time-just for my own amusement and interest.

Another inexpensive practice to spruce up the table, especially if you are hosting a large gathering, is to purchase a set of matched or coordinating plates at a thrift store, use them for the event, and donate them back. Around here a thrift store plate is about 25 cents. I've hosted showers and parties where I spend less than $5.00 on lovely china (I typically find something that coordinates with items I already have--it gives a nice, layered, mixed look)...and it's unique! And then the items just go home to the thrift store for someone else to use. Of course it goes without saying that this is superior in terms of ambiance and environmental impact than using paper plates...:)

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

galant said...

I have enjoyed seeing your Thanksgiving table, Jennifer. Like you, even at our great age, we don't have everything we would like for a 'perfect' table, but as you say, that doesn't matter. What matters is thought, preparation and, of course, thankfulness for what we do have.
I must say I like the rather modern idea of 'layering' though, that is something I'd not considered, and I also like your rattan place mats. They can look smart of casual, depending on what you put with them. We don't have a full set of anything any more, things broken over the years, etc, but in recent months I visited an antiques centre and found 6 lovely cut glass tumblers plus a cut glass jug (suitable for juice or cream, not a tall water jug) for around £25, which is cheap as chips, the reason being that cut glass is no longer fashionable (which is a shame as it's so beautiful). Furthermore, a couple of years ago I similarly ought five wine glasses, also cut glass, for £15. Yes, five for £15.
I do like the idea of that butler's book, I shall look for that on Amazon. Even though we don't 'entertain' as such now, just family and occasionally a couple of friends, it's nice to know the correct way of doing things, and we can all learn a new trick or two.
The other day it was my husband's 'big' birthday (no, I won't say how big!) and we had a little birthday tea-party to celebrate. I moved the furniture around so that there would be seating in our sitting room for 12 people, with small tables for their cups and saucers and plates, etc, and laid the dining table buffet style, so that I could serve the tea from the dining table and hand it around (this is what you must always do at a tea-party: the tea must come first, reminiscent of the days when tea was a most precious commodity) and the first friend to arrive said, "Oh, it's so formal!" It wasn't formal to me, just nice cups and saucers and glasses laid out, and chairs and tables at the ready, flowers in the room, lamps lit, but this demonstrates, I think, how very informal we have become, how standards have slipped. But once everyone had arrived and were seated and obviously enjoying themselves, and I'd handed around tea (Indian or Earl Grey) and savouries, the friend (a chap, I might add) looked to be enjoying himself as much as the next person, so perhaps he's now a convert to doing things stylishly but not showily!
Margaret P

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