thanksgiving table ideas

thanksgiving table ideas

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Just like Christmas, it is deeply personal. Each family celebrates differently, has different traditions. When I first started spending Thanksgiving with my now husband’s family, I was appalled that they didn’t serve mashed potatoes or have traditional rolls – two staples of Thanksgiving in my family (can you tell we love carbs?). Alternatively, I think my husband was surprised by some of the dishes we didn’t offer that he had grown up with.

My husband and I are about to move into our first house and I am sure we will soon start our own traditions once we host Thanksgiving for our families. We aren’t able to host this year as we won’t be fully moved into our house yet, but I still wanted to share some fun ideas for Thanksgiving tables.  The key for something like Thanksgiving (or Christmas) is to not go too crazy. Choose one element rather than many. There are often so many dishes on the table that all of your hard work can get lost. Perhaps select just a single centerpiece, or just a fun placecard or napkin.

When I was growing up, we had Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house in Queens, New York. The table (or rather tables) were so long they extended from the dining room into the living room. We had pilgrim and Indian napkin holders and one of my first Thanksgiving memories was getting to select who in my family would be a pilgrim or an Indian, or who would get to be the turkey. Years later, when my grandmother passed away and we no longer met at her home and the family didn’t seem as large as we were all scattered around the country, we still used those napkin holders. I would love for our children (which we don’t have any yet!) to have some sort of memory like that.

Here are some cute ideas:

Instead of a napkin holder, I like this utensil holder: a linen bag that says, “Give Thanks.”  I like how it is paired with a simple pine cone as a place card. The linen bag could double as a favor or reused each year. You might even want to do the bag in a color if you want to add more color to your table than green beans and cranberries. Photo via Beyond Toast:

thanksgiving table ideas

If you are really into chevrons (just like everyone else) you can incorporate them into your holiday decor. This example is just chevron fabric cut into placemats for under each place setting. Photo (and lots of other cute ideas) via Michelle Lea Designs:

thanksgiving table ideas

Another placemat idea – and this one is interactive! These are DIY, cut from paper and printed with a rubber stamp (but you could even do this by hand). What a fun idea – for the children’s table or everyone’s place. Just make sure you include a pen or pencil! Bonus points for tying the utensils together with twine! Photo via Honey & Fitz:

thanksgiving table ideas

If you don’t want to go for individual placemats, you can have a festive tablecloth, such as this burlap one. You can DIY this from cut burlap. I like how it isn’t tailored, instead it’s gathered at the ends with some faux fall decor – pumpkins and leaves. Photo via Rustic Crafts:

Thanksgiving table ideas

For another simple idea, you can use mini pumpkins (gourds) as placecards. You can balance the cards on top like here, or you can tie cards around the stem. Photo via Design Chic:

thanksgiving table ideas

I’m inclined to avoid an over-the-top centerpiece for Thanksgiving as the table is already crowded and let’s be honest – the food is really the main attraction. But I like this option – it’s subtle but very Thanksgiving at the same time. Photo via Taylor Joelle Designs:

thanksgiving table ideas

For other pumpkin and fall-themed table and decor ideas visit these related posts: