Thanksgiving Planning Tips…..Don’t Panic!

…there are still two weeks left!

Most of us realize, from firsthand experience, that planning relieves anxiety and stress. The more time we spend planning the less time we spend fretting, re-tracing our steps, making unnecessary trips, and on and on….

Real Simple has some great and practical tips for planning ahead for Thanksgiving. While the tips they offer are focused primarily on the shopping for and preparing of the meal, I’d like to offer a few tips for the aesthetics and atmosphere. These are the plans I like to take care of before I even go to the food issues! The table settings, the centerpiece, the buffet area, the entryway and the family room where we all gather after dinner are, to me, just as important as the food!

The table……whatever your style and level of formality your table is a great place to pull it all together! I like to do something a little different each year. The table above was from last year…this year I will use a few different elements: centerpiece, napkins, bread plates, napkin rings and placemats…maybe even placecards, will all be different this year. I plan this in my head for awhile, then I get out the elements I’m planning on using and make up one place setting, then I tweak it, if necessary. I make sure I have enough of everything I’m planning on using and if not find substitutes that can be mixed in (not everything has to match).

I go over the options for a centerpiece, remembering to keep it low enough to be able to look across to all my guests. I love to use fresh flowers, so many times this is a more last minute thing. Candles are almost always present along with some seasonal elements such as nuts, leaves, white pumpkins, etc. I like to make a buffet area for all the food so we can enjoy the beauty of the “decorated” table while we eat and share stories.

Think about what you’ll be serving, what utensils each place setting will need as well as what dishes and glasses will be used. Look around your home and see if there are elements that can be used on your table once they are embellished with some seasonal touches such as leaf garlands, nuts, fruits, berries, pumpkins, gourds, flowers, candles (unscented), etc. It is not necessary to go out and buy tons of new things each year if you purchase what you love throughout the year. You can easily embellish everyday items with inexpensive seasonal touches.

For some additional inspiration for your Thanksgiving table visit The Inspired Room , My Hydrangea Home , Judith-Sweet Designs and Notes From a Cottage Industry. The beauty and creativity these women share inspires me and I’m sure will inspire you!

Tomorrow…the rest of the aesthetics and atmosphere I like to tend to!

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