Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

With the Canadian holiday just a day away, (October 12, 2009) I thought I would post one of the cutest cards I have ever done.

Nothing overly fancy, but I love the more simple and understated cards. This little cookie is the daughter of one of my dearest friends, Lisa G., and we had done this card a couple of years ago. The original picture was not taken with the card in mind, it just worked out that she was dressed in warm browns and decided that it would be fun to play in some leaves. It doesn’t get any cuter than this!

As I am sure that most people have their Thanksgiving menus already in place, I thought I would offer some inspiration for the one area that I find some hostesses don’t pay enough attention to and sometimes leave to chance,  hoping that one of their guests will bring something suitable along. Okay, I have been cryptic long enough, I am talking about setting your Thanksgiving day table and in particular, centerpieces for the Thanksgiving table.

Now some women (none that I know!) might say that setting a proper table with a centerpiece is not necessary, that they have so many other things to do, that they and their dinners are ‘not that formal’. But a table set with linens, silverware and a creative centerpiece can bring such style to your gathering that I wholeheartedly believe it is worth any of the extra effort you might have to exert. Driving yourself to the flower shop and rummaging through your linen closet can be so exhausting! Would you prepare your delicious turkey dinner complete with all the sides and fixings and then slop it all on one plate and serve it to your guests like that?? Of course you wouldn’t. You should view your table and table decorations in the same manner. There are many ways to set your table with style and still keep an informal vibe if that is what you want to convey.

Nothing looks lovelier than a crisp, ironed tablecloth, nice china, gleaming crystal, polished silverware and some sort of seasonal centerpiece just ready to be attacked and torn to bits by the turkey brigade who have been waiting ever so patiently for their feast!
A simple white or cream tablecloth always looks appropriate regardless of what colour or pattern your china happens to be and that is why I usually suggest sticking to these basic colours when you want something easy. (Personally, I prefer a look that is not too busy and a solid neutral colour helps with that.) I like to set out my tablecloth on the night prior to my gathering. Even though I actually don’t mind to iron ( I find it very relaxing. I know, I know, I need therapy!), I set my table from the night before to smooth out any wrinkles I had difficulty ironing out. With the help of a spritzer bottle filled with room temperature water, I lightly mist the tablecloth before I go to bed. The dampness and the weight of the tablecloth drag out any stubborn creases or little wrinkles, just don’t forget to have a waterproof felt pad placed underneath your tablecloth.

Take out the china, stemware and silverware that you are planning to use at least a day ahead of your gathering. (Hostesses with little ones at home should be able to find at least one spot that they can lay out their silverware and dishes without the worry of accidents.) I like to give everything a good washing before placing it on the table. Since you have already given your home a thorough cleaning before your gathering (again this should be done the day prior to your dinner, a hostess should be calm and relaxed when her guests arrive, not pooped and tuckered out from cleaning all day long!) there should be no worry of your cutlery, glasses and dishes getting dusty.
Making sure your silverware and stemware are free of water spots, it really is your call as to when you will start to set your table. I know some women like to set their table from the night before if they will be having a busy day before their guests arrive. Others plan for an extra 30 minutes or so for this very activity about an hour before their guests are expected.

After all the main elements of your table have been placed in their appropriate spots, you can place your centerpiece right in the middle of it all. This order is not written in stone so each hostess can follow whatever pattern she finds more suitable. A friend of mine likes to start with the placement of her centerpiece and work her way out. Her finished table always look divine and she hasn’t been arrested by the protocol police yet so I am sure whatever works for each individual hostess is just fine. Once you have mastered the basics of setting a table, you might even get adventurous and start throwing around a few place cards or maybe even a runner!( A lot is to be said about a person who gets excited by a table runner!) I have included below three templates(courtesy of the Emily Post Institute, of course!)for a basic place setting, an elaborate setting and something that falls in between.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Basic Setting


Semi-Formal Setting



Formal Setting
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