“I love Thanksgiving because it is a holiday centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.”
– Marcus Samuelsson
Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate the people in your life and what you have. And in 2020 this feeling is even more important. Our celebrations often reflect the warm colors and textures of the fall season. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for your friends or family this year, it’s always nice to add a festive touch for your guests to get into the celebratory spirit of giving thanks. If home decorations are important to you, we’re here to assure you that you can still achieve Martha Stewart level decor without breaking the bank. We encourage you to buy secondhand to protect the planet and your pockets. Below are six inspiring tips for your Thanksgiving tablescapes:
1. Pick your color palette
Start with your tablescape color palette. You might want to plan ahead or wait until you see what’s available in your local stores to get inspired. If you’re a big planner, we suggest creating a moodboard for your decorations. Type some key searches in Pinterest like, “thanksgiving tablescapes” or “autumn colors.” Create a Thanksgiving inspiration board to form an idea of the types of colors and items you will be shopping for. If you prefer to draw inspiration from what you find, thrifting is a great way to discover unique wares and decorations to create a more eclectic or vintage feel in your home. If you can’t make it to the stores you can also browse SF Goodwill’s online shop for antiques, collectibles, and home goods.
2. Choose your centerpiece
The most prominent item in your tablescape will be the centerpiece. Whether it’s a basket filled with pumpkins and squashes, staggered candles, or even flowers, the centerpiece will set the tone for the rest of your table decor. At your local Goodwill store, keep an eye out for statement pieces that fit your color palette, like a large vase or bowl, a wreath, or vintage candelabras. The most important part of your meal will be connecting with your family or guests. The centerpiece should not be so large that you have to peek around the side to make eye contact with your mother-in-law, but depending on your relationship, a large centerpiece may be the perfect diversion from questions about when you plan on giving her grandbabies.
3. Create festive plate settings
Plate settings should tie into the colors and centerpiece with practicality in mind. For instance, if you’re having butternut squash soup and turkey provide both bowls and plates. Choose complementary colors like tans and rust, pale blues and gold, or burnt orange and yellow. You can be playful and try a few combinations. Some people are into mismatched plates, which is great too. The colors still work together but the styles and finishes are different.
4. Use a tablecloth or table runner
Tablecloths and table runners create two different feelings. A tablecloth fits a more traditional style, it’s a nice touch that gives people a familiar Thanksgiving dinner experience. A table runner can be used for a more minimal look that still allows one to highlight the natural features of their wooden tables and serves as an accent to the centerpiece. There is so much inspiration online for holiday tablecloths and tablescapes, add some ideas to the moodboard.
5. DIY Thanksgiving decor
Getting ready for Thanksgiving can be a crafty process if you decide to go the DIY route! If you thrift a number of items that you know will look great together but you’d like to change some of the colors or add a personal touch, you can use your crafting skills to bring your vision to life. After your thrifting trip, visit an arts and crafts store to purchase paint, glue, and scissors. This is also a way to include your family and friends in the decorating, organize a crafting night at home or over a Zoom call.
6. Don’t forget the small details
When you pay attention to the small details it makes all the difference. Make sure your napkins, drinking glasses, and cutlery are representative of the overall look and feel, it will show that you put in time and care for the people you’re hosting. Go beyond the decor to create heartwarming moments. Go around the table and have everyone write down what they’re grateful for. Collect everyone’s papers and read them to the group.
We will start this trend by sharing what we are grateful for at Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties. We have immense gratitude always for our employees, donors, shoppers, and local communities. Together, we have been able to weather the challenges that 2020 has brought to all of our lives. We look forward to spending this Thanksgiving holiday honoring those who have made it possible for us to continue our mission to create second chances through training and the dignity of work. When you purchase your Thanksgiving decorations from your local Goodwill, you are directly supporting people and the planet.
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