Setting the Table

 Thanksgiving, Relish Style
on October 23, 2012
Formal Table Setting
High Cotton Food Styling and Photography

When I was young, Black Friday was a big deal for our family—not for the Christmas shopping, but because we were the Christmas shopping.

My mother, a very talented artist, participated in the largest craft show in our town each year, which just happened to be Thanksgiving weekend. For as long as I can remember, my brother and I spent days before and after the holiday transporting crates, storage boxes, fake Christmas trees and twinkle lights. On Thanksgiving, we paused just long enough to get cleaned up and head into town for roast turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It was our tradition; in fact, I don’t recall a Thanksgiving before I left for college that didn’t require restaurant reservations.

Now that I have a family of my own, we do Thanksgiving a bit differently—actually a lot differently. We cook. And we set the table—my absolute favorite part. Sometimes I get started up to a week before the big day, choosing plates, deciding on a color scheme and coming up with a clever centerpiece. I even polish the silver. Yes, the silver. We put on the dog.

I have found that besides satisfying my need for “nesting,” setting the table is a great exercise for the kids. They have learned which fork goes where. And while we set what some would consider a “formal” table, we still have fun with the design. We mix my mom’s silver and funky antique store finds with the kid’s favorite glasses. Remember, matchy-matchy is highly overrated. Tie all the distinct pieces together with matching place tags for each guest, and you’ll have a beautiful, inviting Thanksgiving table. And the best thing? No reservations required.

—By Karry Hosford, Relish Contributing Editor