How To Set A Thanksgiving Table and Family Recipes

You’re inviting friends and family, planning who will sleep where, pulling out yellowed and crusty recipe cards that are your feaster’s favorites. As a woman who works tirelessly to make holidays special for your family, certainly you’re making plans to celebrate Thanksgiving.

This fall holiday brings everyone home and you want to be ready. Here’s a how-to on setting your Thanksgiving table just right.

  1. Gather the Goods. I had to sift through my holiday décor boxes to pull out my pumpkins, gold votives, and my gold chargers. I also decided that, going gold, my daughter Laura had the perfect piece that I needed to borrow: a beautiful gold lantern she got off her Pottery Barn wedding registry. Planning ahead gives me time to arrange the logistics of borrowing something from an out of towner and the time to receive my Gather placemats from the Ever Thine Home warehouse. You’ll want to grab a set of those too. They come 4 to a set, so you might need a couple depending on the size of your Thanksgiving Day guest list.
  2. Get to work. It’s time to set your table base. Placemats first, gold charger next, white plate on top, napkin in the center, and silverware around the edges. I do always set a knife, fork, and spoon. It’s easiest around the table if everyone has what they might need on hand. And then, if we don’t use every utensil, I simply put them back away clean after the meal.
  3. Make it Meaningful. Anyone can expect to have plates to pile food on and something to scoop the deliciousness into your mouth. But take it a step further. We know that the getting together isn’t really about the food. You can make it about so much more. I’m doing that this year with these printable thankful cards (I’m offering them FREE for you too!) and Untie Your Story Napkin ties. The napkin ties can be knotted around a cloth napkin, or simply tuck the ends underneath your napkin in the center of each place setting like I did here. During the meal, go around the table for each person to read the napkin tie and answer the question. This type of conversation will be much more interesting and intentional than small talk about the weather or football. You can get our Thanksgiving collection that includes the placemats and the spool of 12 napkin ties here. 
  1. Spruce up the center. Now is the fun part. I try to keep this simple with pieces that are easy to find. But simple can still be beautiful. I put my borrowed gold lantern in the center. Something with height is a perfect middle piece. Then I accessorize down the edges. My favorite pumpkins these days are white, so I add those in odd numbers on either side. Something sweet is that the two baby pumpkins on either end are pumpkins that I actually grew in my yard from last year’s pumpkin leftovers. How sweet to find that new baby pumpkins sprouted! I’m happy to add their quaint charm atop my Thanksgiving table. And mini votive candle holders that I spray painted gold for Laura’s wedding last year each hold a small white candle. Just before the meal, I’ll light the candle in the lantern and the small tea lights too. Even with full afternoon sun shining through, candles create a warm cheer for the meal.

  2. Invite everyone to fill their plates! I like to keep the table set, so we serve our meal buffet style off the kitchen island by walking through a line. Here are a few favorite recipes that will be served to our family this year, some during the Thanksgiving Day feast and others over the few days that we have family in town. Feel free to add them to your Thanksgiving week menu too. Enjoy! {PS–here’s a short video we shared on our Facebook Page!}





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10 thoughts on “How To Set A Thanksgiving Table and Family Recipes”

  1. Kerri-Mae Ashley

    This is awesome! I love the questions on the napkin ties. I love how you have made the pretty things in life so meaningful and more elegant. Question for you Ms. Barbara, you mentioned going through the buffet line and keeping the table set, are you using different plates than what are on the table? Or does everyone grab the plate from the table and it into the kitchen? Also, how do you handle beverages? Again, I love your designs and Christmas ornaments and Easter collection.

    1. Usually if I have the table pre-set I have everyone grab a plate and serve themselves from the food lined up on the kitchen island. And typically I’ll have a drink station of sorts on the island too, even if it’s just an ice bucket w ice and a pitcher of water w lemons. Or I may prefill the glasses at the table with water to keep it simpler when going through the food line!
      Thanks for asking and so glad you like our Untie Your Story napkin ties!

  2. I have listened to FLT for many years and gleaned wisdom and knowledge to navigate the pitfalls with my family and to stay on the narrow way. Thank you so much! I’ve gotten the “adornaments” and the “thanksliving treasures” and enjoyed them both over the years. I have shared the recipes with several people, but have lost the egg casserole recipe. I’ve guessed at it the last couple of years but would like to make it by the true recipe. Would it be possible to get it again somewhere? I have searched the web, but its just not out there. thank you for all you’all do!

  3. Hi- Where can I find the recipe for the company french toast? Thank you for all you do! Excited to try these recipes.

    1. Hi Heather, Here is the recipe from that clip.
      “Combine all dry ingredients: 2/3 cup flour, 2 cups sugar, one pinch of salt, 6 tablespoons of cocoa. Sift all of these together.
      At the same time, in a heavy sauce pan, you’ll have 5 cups of milk beginning to heat. Now, you’ll put the dry ingredients into the milk and stir, keeping all lumps, of course, out of the gravy until it becomes the consistency of really just a good, Southern gravy. Add one teaspoon of vanilla and serve over—yes—biscuits and butter.”

      Yum! Let us know if you make it.

  4. How many placemats come in your Thanksgiving set? I have a party of 14 and need to know how many sets to buy
    Thank you!

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