A Well Appointed Thanksgiving: Table Trimming Ideas, Hostess Gifts and A Stiff Drink

Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the calm before the storm.  The house is still a mess, the kitchen is beginning to fill and while at work you can’t help but zone out, meditating on your lengthy list of things that need to be accomplished before hoards of family and friends storm your front door.  It can get overwhelming, because well, it is, but here at The Well Appointed House we’ve taken a step back for you in hopes of tying up some lose ends.

Some consider setting a Thanksgiving table too stressful to bother with while others simply view it as an after thought and in doing so don’t bother with it.  Bother with it.  Setting a table for any holiday event is important; it sets the mood for what kind of night your guests can expect.  Even the best food can’t make up for undressed white table clothes.  Here are some easy ideas to incorporate in your home decor:

First off, skip white as your base.  Ivory, butterscotch and even brown tablecloths will instantly create a warm and inviting feel.  I love our Flay Tablecloth paired with our Chocolate Stripe Napkins.  An American print for an American holiday!

You can also ditch the mailer turkey centerpieces you saw at the supermarket and opt for something a little more pastoral in feeling.  I love putting wreathes on the table with candles in different heights in the middle.  Our Dried Fall Leaves Wreath comes in different sizes: if you are using a long table use a larger one in the center and two smaller sizes on either side.

Of course there is nothing wrong with using a wreath in a conventional way like our Dried Pear and Feather Wreath

Or our Dried Turkey and Pheasant Wreath

Serving pieces and platters can also add some holiday flare to your table.  Our Hunt Collection which includes a rectangular tray, pitcher and serving bowl, is perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

This set is not only great for the upcoming holiday season but I could easily see these being used to display steak at your ski-time getaway and burgers at a BBQ in the Adirondacks. Look below for some more Thanksgiving table inspiration.

We talked about the “kiddie table” but for those who don’t discern between generations this is a cute take on the place card.
Ivory and gold accents paired with deep orange flowers and autumnal fruit make this a table you’ll want to give thanks around.
A very traditionally dressed table.  I love the way the designer played with height and shapes here; the tall cylinder candles compared with the short stumpy gourds and spherical pumpkins.
An arts and crafts project waiting to be taken on.  Wrapping felt around these candles and gluing contrasting colored letters add personalization to your table.
 Images courtesy of Country Living

If you don’t have the pleasure (feel free to interpret sarcasm) of hosting, you have the responsibility of being a guest, which means best behavior and no left-overs.  Melissa Hawks is among the many who will be visiting family out of town and of course will not be arriving empty handed.

Some baskets of Hostess gifts Hawks will be bringing to Massachusetts this Holiday weekend. Crackers and dip, embroidered pheasant hand towel, Thanksgiving napkins and turkey salt and pepper shakers. 

“Of course, no gift basket is complete without a rhubarb candle from The Well Appointed House thrown in for good measure.” Hawks says

If you are a guest asked to bring a dish or a host who needs a little something else as a side, Hawks has a mouthwatering Sweet Potato Souffle Recipe.  She says: “It is from my husband’s family in Virginia. I LOVE it. It is a rich, elegant vegetable side dish. Put it in a sterling silver serving dish or a piece of your favorite china and it is perfect for Thanksgiving.”

1 quart cooked and mashed sweet potatos (drained)
1/2 Cup Sherry
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped black walnuts
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
In a blender, whip everything. Lightly grease the pan, place mixture there and sprinkle with the walnuts and cook at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

After reading all this (or writing it) then your head must be spinning with ideas and you’ll likely be needing a drink.  I assisted (that may be too kind a word) in making this Old Fashioned recipe last year.  For each serving you’ll need,
2 ounces of Makers Mark Bourbon
1 two inch strip of Lemon Zest
After slicing oranges circularly dip both sides in brown sugar and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake for a few minutes on low till they brown. Use an orange that hasn’t been sugared to line each glass and then dip the rim of the glass in the brown sugar.  The drink is begging to be served in one of these Old Fashioned Glasses.
Keep checking back at The Well Appointed House for my holiday entertaining and gift ideas!
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