Thanksgiving is the perfect time to gather your friends and family together – whether you celebrate it as a traditional Thanksgiving or possibly a “Friendsgiving”. It’s an excuse to get together over a beautifully laid table accompanied by plates filled with delicious food – which I don’t need much temptation for.
Serve sharing dishes
One of my favourite ways to encourage conversation and to get your guests acquainted with each other is to serve sharing dishes that can be passed around the table. This is particularly well suited to Thanksgiving, where you might be bringing together people from different parts of your life - and the cuisine also lends itself well to sharing dishes. With your food becoming part of your centrepiece, a decorative platter is a great addition.
Plan your menu
Thanksgiving is all about the sides, and depending on the preference of guests, I prefer to make these as interesting as possible. For example, opting for Middle Eastern flavours for all components or Italian style side dishes. Skye McAlpine does a great rice dish cooked and served in a pumpkin.
This strategy also works well if you have vegetarian guests, as a variety of side dishes can be meals on their own with an adundance of flavours.
Style your table
For those who truly celebrate Thanksgiving, it can be one of the biggest celebrations of the year, so don’t be afraid to go all-out with your table styling. Start with a season-appropriate tablecloth – chocolate brown or taupe gingham, my new hellebore ruffle tablecloth, or a classic Irish linen ruffle in a neutral or dark hue are all perfect for Thanksgiving.
Add rich, warm colours through your choice of napkins, chargers, placemats and candles. Add Murano or coloured glass tumblers for water, and your favourite wine glasses. And choose plates that complement the rest of your table setting, such as my chocolate or green trimmed basketweave plates, or scalloped Olivia crockery.
Add table transformers
Table transformers are simple pieces that make a simple but notable impact to your table, such as vases or chargers that add interest, texture and extra decorative detail. I reach for these pieces time and time again. When I’m planning a big dinner party for an event such as Thanksgiving, I’ll add these extra elements to give that finishing flourish to my table, without having to give styling too much thought. Place small vases along the table filled with seasonal foliage, add a rattan charger between plates and placemats for added texture and height, then finish with decorative glassware. Cutlery can also make a big difference, with our bamboo and natural wood cutlery sets being particularly suited to Thanksgiving.
Set a warm, cosy atmosphere by lighting candles along your Thanksgiving table, to offer each place setting a soft glow. I like to use a combination of dinner candles and tea lights in smaller votives to balance the levels of candlelight. Our hurricane lantern or three-arm brass candleholder are perfect for a centrepiece for a larger table, surrounded by seasonal foliage. Use coloured dinner candles that complement your colour scheme – in a variety of colours, or all the same.
Decorate your table
For a finishing flourish, choose seasonal foliage to decorate your table. You can find small ornamental pumpkins and squash in a variety of colours in most supermarkets and florists at this time of year. Berries, branches and dried flowers work well arranged in vases – I personally prefer to scatter bud vases along the table with smaller arrangements to avoid halting conversation – it is also more cost effective. And for a finishing touch, I like to add something smaller such as a dried flower stem to each place setting.
Planning your own Thanksgiving meal? Have a look at our Thanksgiving table edit to find everything you need.