Thanksgiving is all about being thankful and thoughtful. When you carry a theme from the door to the table, that attention to detail sets you apart and shows your guests just how special you think they are. The holidays are hectic, true, but you can still pull off a gracious gathering with minimal fuss. Simply pick a theme—the colors of the harvest come naturally now—and purchase products that bring home the look: a fiery leaf-and-pinecone wreath, faux fall flowers, and candles in reds, golds, and browns all add to the warm, welcoming setting. Say the rest with food. A kickoff cocktail spreads warmth—to all the senses—so start things off with a Hot Apple Toddy that smells as wonderful as it sips. The main table is resplendent in a neutral tablecloth spiced up with mini pecan-pumpkin pie place cards and orange-glazed Bundt cake bouquets that double as centerpieces. Bowls of tangerines, whole fruits, and nuts carry the rich brown-orange colors to sideboards and hall tables. Add family and friends and you’ve got the recipe for a thankful day.
Centerpiece: Prepare the Mini Bundt Cakes on page 124 or buy one large premade bundt cake from the store. To either, add a drippy, orange glaze and small rose and fruit nosegay toppers, and they’re good to go.
Place setting: Build on the neutral tablecloth with burnished brown chargers topped with earthtone plates and softer-than-rust color napkins. Fall leaves and berries twirl up the stems of goblets, adding deeper notes of color to the Hot Apple Toddies.
Place Cards: Place cards, gift cards—they’re one and the same. Dig into scrapbooking supplies for decorative medallions or paper cutouts that can be personalized with guests’ names. Stand one in a ready-made pecan-pumpkin pie for a place card that’s a sweet treat in more ways than one.
Favors: Tie up autumn-hued treats—such as brown chocolate cookies and golden-yellow dried apricots—in clear cellophane bags and wrap them with berry-ornamented wire. Pile them on a side table or a tray by the door to spread hospitality throughout the house.
Accent Pieces: Welcome guests to your home with a purchased wreath bursting with colorful autumn leaves and pinecones. Coordinate decor inside and out by hanging the wreath with the same wide coppery orange ribbon that ties the fabric to the dining chairs.
Chances are, you’ll have more guests than you have dining room chairs. Recruit extra chairs from all over the house and make them a match with no-sew chair slips that unify the tablescape. Simply use a table runner, found fabric, or leftover yardage that’s folded and secured with wired ribbon or a decorative cord tied into a bow. Here a textured tapestry pattern and a wide coppery satin ribbon unite the chairs and the table.
Silk leaf-adorned pheasants fly in a festive flair and add a grand finale finish.