Every seasoned holiday host knows that a successful Thanksgiving event starts with a great menu idea, and when accompanied by the right atmosphere, turns into a warmhearted gathering. Similar to a deep, spicy aroma, a welcoming ambiance can percolate throughout the house, swirling through the air amongst guests’ friendly smiles and chatter, before finally culminating around the dinner table.
Just as flour and sugar are basic ingredients for baking a pumpkin pie, décor and lighting are the fundamental elements that create a welcoming environment. The details of your menu and the theme of your dinner table act as the basic foundations from which you can begin to build the rest of the experience.
Your own style preference, number of guests, and menu choices for the occasion will typically dictate what type of entertaining atmosphere you will have and how the space will feel. Do you envision hosting an intimate, candle-lit family gathering with a traditional feast of roasted turkey, luscious red cranberries, and golden-crusted pumpkin pie? Or perhaps you imagine yourself entertaining a bustling crowd of friends and neighbors who are eagerly sampling a variety of seasonal appetizers in a chic autumn setting.
For an intimate gathering and customary Thanksgiving feast, creating a vintage, harvest farm table setting will evoke memories of warm family traditions. A rustic, square wooden table is ideal for this setting and can be furnished using a variety of farm-inspired materials and textures, such as natural-colored burlap placemats. Start by laying wheat-colored cotton napkins, each folded into a rectangle across a place setting, then accessorize them with a single red or brown maple leaf to add a touch of autumn color. Write your guests’ names on vintage, tea-colored tags and tie them around the napkins loosely using jute string.
For the centerpiece, gather a variety of seasonal vegetables, such as golden-colored squash, orange mini pumpkins, and multi-colored Indian corn, and arrange them inside a dark brown wicker basket. Add long faux pheasant feathers to the middle of the basket to add height. Finish by placing amber-colored glass candle votives on the table to provide a warm, illuminating glow. Use extra cotton napkins to line smaller, dark wicker baskets and fill with warm dinner rolls for a hearty, warm aroma.
Creating an autumn-inspired atmosphere in a chic and modern setting perfectly complements a menu of seasonal appetizers and wine. If you are planning on hosting an informal gathering in a room with high, airy ceilings, choose simple and symmetrical accents to create a feeling of sophistication. The ideal type of table to use is a long, dark rectangular table or bar. For centerpieces, line up tall cylindrical glass hurricane vases along the center of the table and fill each one with mini pumpkins, stacking one above the other. Add dried, twisted grapevine pieces to the vases to add dimension. In between the pumpkin-filled vases, place shorter glass cylinders with pillar candles lit inside. Next, roll up crisp linen napkins and secure them with grapevine napkin rings. Use mini pumpkins as place card holders by simply attaching tags to them using a pin. If you are having wine with the appetizers, include a display of glass goblets near the candles to encourage reflective twinkling light.
Similar to how the right combination of cooking ingredients can create one delicious dish, the blending of all natural senses into one environment can create an unforgettable atmosphere. This year, begin with a tasteful menu, and then use these decorating ideas to build the Thanksgiving gathering of your dreams.