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How to Set a Table for Thanksgiving + Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

With these tips and Thanksgiving table ideas, you will be sure to have the classiest, coziest, and most comfortable Thanksgiving yet.

By: Chelsea Scarnegie, Editor, AllFreeHolidayCrafts.com
How to Set a Table for Thanksgiving
This image courtesy of AllFreeHolidayCrafts.com

Thanksgiving always seems to come out of nowhere, and before we realize it, we're rushing around in search of Thanksgiving table setting ideas. Before you panic, be sure to learn How to Set a Table for Thanksgiving + Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas. If you can settle how you will be decorating for Thanksgiving well in advance, you will feel a great sense of relief. We have also gathered a few Thanksgiving centerpieces crafts that will dress up the table with an air of festive reverie. Embrace the ritualistic piece that is the Thanksgiving table.

From the moment your guests walk through the door, you want to be sure they are greeted with Thanksgiving table decor ideas that will make them feel right at home. After all, Thanksgiving table setting ideas just don't feel as authentic when they come from a restaurant. Create a table that will give off an energy of love and community with these tips on how to make decorating for Thanksgiving a relaxing and enjoyable task. Once that food is on the table and everyone is at their seats, you'll surely want to snap a few pictures.

How to Set a Table for Thanksgiving

  1. Be sure to set the table early so that you’re not rushing about the house after the guests arrive. This will ensure that the comforting, festive mood is set right when your guests walk in the door, and it will ensure that you have time to actually socialize a bit before eating.

  2. Begin with the tablecloth. With so many styles of modern decorating, it hardly matters what the pattern looks like. As long as it’s nicely ironed, you can do just about anything with it. A contrasting runner could be laid down the center of the table to add interest. Don’t feel bad if you pair something handmade with something store-bought. Simply make best of what you have available.

    If you're looking for an affordable table runner for the upcoming entertaining season, you might wanna consider making this easy DIY Thanksgiving Burlap Table Runner from burlap and ribbon.

  3. Ever seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and laughed as Snoopy arranged mismatched chairs around the Ping-Pong table? It turns out that he wasn’t as crazy as we thought! As long as they are arranged thoughtfully so that they are visually balanced around the table (and not too close together), you can use whatever seating you have in the house.

  4. The plates, silverware, and glasses do not need to match either, but be sure to use up anything that is typically “off-limits” during the rest of the year. After all, what good is that fancy china if you never get to use it? As long as everybody has a plate, a knife, a fork, a water glass, wine glass, and a napkin, your guests will be satisfied. Cloth napkins are the best choice, as they tell the guest that this is no everyday meal. Just remember that they don’t have to be expensive!

  5. Napkins should be folded carefully, yet simply. A rectangle folded to the left so that the cloth’s spine is facing right, should be placed on an empty plate or beneath the fork to the plate’s left. The knife goes to the right side of the plate—blade turned inward toward the plate—and the spoon sits to the right of the knife. Above the knife should be the water and wine glasses.

    If you are looking for fun Thanksgiving craft ideas for your table, try out these Truly Adorable DIY Napkin Rings.

  6. For condiments, there should be one salt and pepper shaker (or small wooden bowl) per every six guests. Cranberry sauce, pitchers of gravy, butter dishes, and even small bottles of hot sauce will make sure that each guest’s taste is catered to.

  7. Don’t forget the decorations! Use small gourds and low flowers for a simple, practical table. Candles are excellent for setting the mood and giving off a low lighting that makes everything look perfect, but do not use anything scented, as you want your guests to fawn over the smell of the turkey instead. Keep everything low to the table, and conversation will flow freely all around.

    Create a simple but stunning Thanksgiving Food Centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table using nothing but vegetables found in your grocery store!

  8. Get the kids involved by making simple place cards to set around the table. Just make sure that you strategically spread out bickering family members or politically polarized guests and sprinkle the chatty in with the shy.

    Check out the Pretty Easy Pine Cone Place Card Holders for an elegant and simple table decoration.

  9. If you find that the food platters do not fit on the table, simply clear some space nearby for a buffet. There’s no sense in crowding your masterpiece!

  10. Music is optional, and it might be better-suited for young crowds of friends rather than family members. If you do choose to make a playlist, be sure to do it well in advance to keep your day as stress-free as possible.

Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

  1. Navy and Copper Table Decorations - Everything from a copper and navy table design to easy menu ideas, including a spicy cranberry cheese dip recipe! A navy and copper table theme is easy to decorate for, as copper is super trendy right now.

  2. Amish Thanksgiving DIY Candle Holders - Welcome your holiday guests with Thanksgiving crafts that are sure to set their hearts aglow with warmth. It's never too late to make these Amish Thanksgiving DIY Candle Holders - even if it feels like Thanksgiving is only moments away.

  3. Holiday Table Runner Free Sewing Pattern - If you love to sew, this Holiday Table Runner Free Sewing Pattern is the perfect sewing project for you to complete this fall. This reversible sewing project allows you to continue using the table runner all through the fall.

  4. Fall DIY Table Decoration - Need a cute addition to your dining table this fall? Check out this Fall DIY Table Decoration.

  5. Corn Husk Fall Table Setting Ideas - Decorate your table this Thanksgiving with this easy Corn Husk Fall Table Setting Idea. The craft even comes with a free printable to write the names of all your guests on.

  6. DIY Pumpkin Thanksgiving Place Setting - The turkey's in the oven. The guests are on their way, but something's missing. Try out this DIY Pumpkin Thanksgiving Place Setting craft to add the finishing touches to your holiday feast.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Tell us below!

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This is so helpful! I don't know about anyone else but I'm pretty clueless when it comes to setting a table. This makes it easy and nice to look at.

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