Posted by: Michelle Mitton | November 19, 2008

Setting Your Holiday Table

Holiday Table SettingsWhile I’m normally not opposed to breaking out a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner something about cooking a full roast bird in my oven makes me want to ditch the plastic Elmo placemats and set a table that my mother would be proud of.

So over the years I’ve tried various things to spruce up the table and give it that little touch of fun that can make the Thanksgiving meal all the more enjoyable.

Placecards are a great way to do that, not only does it save some confusion when everyone actually sets down to eat it always pleases the little children to have their names on a card and a little something they can take home from the evening. Can you tell we’re used to feeding a crowd over here? I think the record is 27 bodies.

Holiday Table SettingsSome of my favorite ideas from past years include:

Pinecone turkeys. With a pipecleaner for a head I’ve made big turkeys for the adults and small ones for the children–each propping up a little name card under his beak.

Beaded placecards. Stringing seed beads on wire then bending the wire into guests’ names can give a table an elegant finish. Pardon my picture, I didn’t have one that said “Happy Thanksgiving.”

Chestnut card holders. Buy some fresh chestnuts then with the flat side down cut a slash crosswise across the top half-way down through the soft shell wide enough to fit a little card. Very simple, inexpensive and quick.

Ribboned fruit. One year I used bunches of plastic grapes (sugared grapes are particularly pretty), strung a hole-punched placecard on a piece of matching organza ribbon then tied the bunch around the chair back at each guest’s seat. Loved the look.

Tiny truffles. Perhaps the most appreciated decoration was one where I made chocolate truffles then wrapped them up in tiny boxes made from earth-toned cardstock. I tied each box up with ribbon and a placecard then set it on the guests’ plates–very popular. For instructions on making the boxes see “How to Make Tiny Gift Boxes.”


And finally, if you’re looking for ways to bring out the entertainment see “Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas” which has some good ideas our family has used in past years.

This year? I ‘spect we’ll be playing some heavy games of Settlers of Catan and watching Kung Fu Panda in between sampling raspberry and pumpkin pies. Maybe some football if we’re really feeling wild. But whatever we’re doing we’ll be enjoying OUR BRAND NEW HOUSE. Yes, folks, the addition is (practically) completed.

The outside is done, the wood floor is being varnished even as you read this, the walls of cabinetry will be finished by Friday (thanks to my new favorite buddy Hans) which is also the day the carpeting goes in. It’s set in STONE I tell you. We can start moving things back into place this weekend for sure and our children can finally have beds to sleep in. For absolute sure–and I mean that because if something happens to that “absolute” part there will be blood. Oh yes, there will be blood.

By Thanksgiving Day we should be all moved back in with only the last little teensy things like closet doors, baseboards and the last of the light fixtures for them to install which, after all we’ve been through, seems like nothing.

It’s taken FOREVER for those light fixtures to get here and we’ve had to order them–what? Three times? And don’t even get me started on our front doorknob. But I have to say that the light fixtures worth the wait because they are completely the coolest things I have ever beheld. They’ve got this hovering disc thingie and this big Star Trekkian arm that comes out like so and shines the light up into the dome like so and the light reflects into the room like this . . .

Well, let’s just say you will love it.

Which is why after–what?–like sixty-five million months I am happy to report that the Big Reveal will be Monday December 1st. Barring unforeseen interruptions such as nuclear holocaust or a electricians’ strike. By then I will have pictures and a complete video tour with such notable features as our Funky Eye Doorbell, our Most Excellent Sand-blasted Windows (big enough that we’re going to have to watch out for aircraft flying into them accidentally) and–last but not least–our Infamous Black Carpet. Yup, black carpet. Have you ever known anyone stupid imaginative enough to install black carpeting throughout their home? If we’re crazy enough to go with French Beret for the outside why not “Tempest” for the carpeting?

You’ll want to see it.

Anyway, as we’ve worked on this the past four months we’ve had more gawkers than we can count, all wanting to know what we’re doing and how on earth it’s all going to look at the end and now you, my friends, will get to see what they cannot—the inside.

Pray for me! If it doesn’t go off according to schedule then I don’t know what I’ll be capable of.

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