I am all about those warm Thanksgiving memories right now. We may be starting to lose some of the formality of the traditional Thanksgiving gathering from what our parents and their parents experienced but I think that all of the preparation and getting out the good china gave the day an importance. I like the idea of making more of a ceremony out of the meal to make it more special than an everyday dinner. All of the little touches like fancy linens, good china, fancy drinkware help make the time with family more memorable. I still remember my grandmother’s table with the white linen tablecloth and napkins; good china and silverware and we kids got to drink our juice from regular stemmed wine glasses. Of course we also have some weird German food but that is a tale for another day.
If you are hosting extended family or friends for dinner this year or even just having a quiet dinner at home with those in your household here are some things to look for when you are at the thrift shop to add to your table setting.
Fancy Glassware. Glasses for wine and water are plentiful at thrift shops and are usually priced to sell. I picked up mine for $2 each. If your gathering is on the small side you can usually find beautiful etched, cut glass or color glassware.
Serving Dishes. Thanksgiving is famous for all of the side dishes – green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows. With serving dishes I like to find something interesting and unusual. If you are getting multiple dishes they don’t have to match exactly but they should go together. Also here is where you can start to design the table with colors, texture, or shape. I chose two dishes with a “cabbage” type texture and also a covered casserole dish in the same color family. You can see that they do not match but they do “go together.”
Table Cloth. Okay so I like to have a tablecloth for color and I think it adds to the formality of the occasion. Here again is a place where you want to tie into your color scheme. Tablecloths can be tricky to find at the thrift shop in the color and size you need. So I look in the bed linen department for a solid color twin bed sheet. I found a really nice purple bed sheet that works great as a tablecloth. If your sheet turns out to be too large for your table you can just trim it with a scissors (no need to hem it unless you want to) or you could do what I did which is to tie a knot in each corner of the sheet. This makes the sheet hug the table a bit and eliminates the corners hanging on the floor.
Napkins. I love cloth napkins. They are eco friendly and again they make the dinner feel special. I look for cloth napkins all year round and just happened to find these brown napkins that went with my color scheme. Tie your napkins up with a ribbon or some wire instead of napkin rings.
Candleholders. If you need candlesticks the thrift shop’s have them! Instead of spending big bucks at a home store pick up some brass or silverplate at the thrift shop. While you are at it get some taper candles to go with them. If the candle colors are mismatched all the better since that is what is trending now at high end retailers. And I think the mismatched candles look more fun!
Scarf. I added a silk scarf to drape over the table for added interest and color. If you already have a scarf that fits in with your scheme and it covers your table, great. If not and you are shopping for this look for a size that will cover your table.
Things you already own. I used my own dishes and kept them in mind when I was shopping for the side dishes and other items Add your own embellishment touches to decorate the table with whether it is ceramic turkeys or fresh fruit. These give some whimsy and interest to the table setting.
Centerpiece. I think that a natural fresh flower centerpiece is best. I used flowers and twigs from my fading autumn garden to make a natural arrangement that fits the colors of my table and really gives it a dressed up feel. You can also use a bowl of fruit or even a wreath laid flat on the table. The centerpiece will probably get moved out of the way for the meal but it is nice to have when your guests come to the table.
My total spent for this thrifted table was under $50. Not bad since that would buy a lot less even at a discount retailer. The best part is that you will have some unique items to use over and over and by buying secondhand you are being kind to the environment. I hope you enjoy your holiday!