It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the thought of Thanksgiving, all the food shopping, the meal preparation, the cooking itself, and the presentation (not to mention the cleaning up!). But if we really think about it Thanksgiving is just about gathering together, enjoying comfort food, and counting our blessings. And it has managed, somehow, to be a more subdued affair than other holidays. The best part for me is sitting down to a pretty table that someone has dressed up for the occasion. I love the moment when all the hustle and bustle has stopped, chairs are pulled up, candles are lit, and we are all seated, looking across the table at one another taking it all in.
Adding one new element to your Thanksgiving table this year is a fun way to elevate your table without adding stress to your life. Here are five little things (but just choose one) that you could incorporate, giving your table a personal touch and adding an extra dose of prettiness. All of these things are great decorative items to begin a collection too, and also make thoughtful host or hostess gifts.
Salt and pepper cellars: Your grandmother probably had salt and pepper cellars, and I think they are so charming to see on a table instead of shakers. Of course with all of our attention on sanitation these days, it’s helpful to find cellars with the tiny spoons so we can avoid using our fingers, which is what we normally do with cellars. If you want antique or vintage cellars, you are sure to find them in consignment and second-hand shops in your neighborhood. If you want to purchase them new, Amanda Lindroth has little wicker cellars that would work nicely on a casual tablescape. And I like these by Bunny Williams for a whimsical twist on tradition.
Napkin rings: Last year I used raw edged velvet ribbon for my napkins and that was very pretty. This year I’m looking at some antique and vintage rings to start collecting and mixing together. I think a common thread is important, but a blend of different kinds that will add interest to a table over the coming years is what I’m after. Here are few I’ve found.
Single paper white bulbs at each place setting: I always have paper whites massed in big containers, but it’s also very easy to plant or place a single bulb in a container and place one in front of each table setting. I have seen them in vintage teacups as shown below. And they are equally pretty in a simple small clay pot with a bit of moss or an elegant little bud vase.
Mini-tureens: I don’t remember where I first encountered the mini tureen, but it has stayed with me. They are not easy to find (they are sometimes called individual tureens but not miniature tureens because those are for doll’s houses). Place them at each place setting or scattered around the table. What’s inside? A chocolate, a fresh herb sprig, a bit of jam or pepper jelly. I love this little cabbage ware tureen, and will keep my eye out for more of them throughout the year.
A beautiful gravy boat (or two): There is always a place for traditional elements on my table, like the gravy boat. And there is always a cry for more gravy, so why not have a few on hand to be both functional and add elegance to your meal. I’ve seen some beautiful vintage and antique gravy boats here.
Really it’s all about engaging the senses and creating something that reflects your personality and the mood you want to set. Happy hunting and table setting!