Setting a Thanksgiving Table: Option One

When I was a child growing up, my mother always set a beautiful table for Thanksgiving dinner. She carefully selected a linen tablecloth, matching place settings, cloth napkins, coordinating stemware, and a beautiful centerpiece to make the meal special. Pop cans were never allowed at the table and I enforce that rule in my own home at holiday meals. What are some holiday dining traditions at your house?

For me, part of the joy of a holiday meal is planning the table setting. I’m trying out a few options this year.
This post is option number one. I’m using my vintage china that I’ve had for many years.
Since this china has gold edging, I like to use my gold flatware.
Mom gave me her Waterford crystal stemware, which I treasure.
It’s a reminder of the many times we set the table together for holidays.
My mother started a tradition of setting her table the day before Thanksgiving.
She said it was one less thing she had to worry about while cooking the turkey and vegetables.
Mom’s centerpiece was always well chosen and something she loved.
With this first option for a Thanksgiving tablescape, I chose something natural.
An old draw lined with landscape burlap holds a bounty of gourds.
I like the mix of something rustic with the elegance of the china and crystal.
I added a French script ribbon to pose as a table runner on the creamy tablecloth.
Book page placemats add a unique twist and protect the tablecloth from spills.
After loved ones have had their fill of turkey, the placemats get tossed in the garbage.
A few new pieces are making their debut at this year’s Thanksgiving meal.
The white ironstone pitcher was a lucky find on a recent trip to Galena, Illinois.
This cute little duck gravy boat was found last weekend for $5 at the Kane County Flea Market.
I almost passed him over but am glad I changed my mind at the last minute and brought him home.
This Melba Ware ironstone pitcher is another new recruit for Thanksgiving dinner.
A leaf-wrapped mason jar has a votive candle tucked inside to provide ambiance.
The leaves stay in place with a bit of twine tied in a bow.
I think Mom would like this first option for our Thanksgiving dinner.
She has Alzheimer’s and can no longer cook a meal like this.
I’m glad mom left me with great memories of home-cooked holiday meals and beautiful tablescapes.
So would she choose this first option for our Thanksgiving dinner?
Stay tuned for tablescape option two for Thanksgiving dinner.
It will feature my mom’s china that she gave me a few years ago before the Alzheimer’s kicked in.
Her china has shades of blue and my wheels are spinning over what the centerpiece will be.

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  1. This is a very pretty option, Jennifer! It has a casual elegance to it. I agree with the pop cans, although that was not really something we had in the house anyway. Mine would be those red Solo cups! Every holiday everyone has a real glass at my house. Whether you are drinking wine, juice or milk ~ it’s in a glass! Except the granddaughter; she tends to drop her cup when it’s empty so we’ll wait on using a real glass for her. : )

  2. Your table one option is really pretty with a “updated vintage” look. Love the book page placemats and your centerpiece.
    Looking forward to option two.

  3. I love this beautiful tablescape Jennifer! It all looks so lovely and elegant. Love the drawer, burlap and gourds for a contrast. Now I’m wondering what your next tablescape will look like with blue china. I’m sure your mother would be very pleased with this one today.

  4. This is simply stunning, Jennifer! Love the white, and the wonderful drawer centerpiece! The little pumpkins are perfect with it. I also love that it all reminds you of your Mom. How precious. So many things at holiday time remind me of my Mom. It makes those times so heartwarming. Sure would love one of her hugs!! :o)

    Thanks so much for sharing at BWW!
    Have a delightful week,

  5. Just beautiful. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories of your mother’s Thanksgiving dinners and some of her lovely things with which to decorate your own table. I’m still loving those leaf wrapped jars as candle holders and book page placemats! Very clever.

  6. I love your tablescape, and that you used an old drawer for the centerpiece. Everything looks so lovely, and my memories are from my Mom also, she’s been gone for over 17 years. So sorry about your Mom, must be very difficult!

  7. Stop right there! Haha! I have such an emotional response to these colors. So soothing and beautiful. The pages and script ribbon is delightful! It transcends! One of my favorite elements are those pretty leaf tied jars. And I love the rustic and refined combination too. Pretty china and crystal. This table is sooo working for me. Love it!

  8. Jennifer, your table is gorgeous. What a special table for celebrating Thanksgiving. Your vintage china is lovely, and I like the way your used the burlap with the wooden box for the centerpiece. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing option two. 😉

  9. Hi Jennifer, My mom always set a formal table for Thanksgiving and I follow the tradition. I am sorry about your mothers illness, my stepmother has Alzheimer’s too so I understand the pain. Your table is beautiful and I know your mother would be very proud. Thanks for linking to the Open House party.

  10. Too late to present a second option! I choose this one!!! I choose this one!!!!!!!!! Wow! So pretty! I love your china! The pattern is absolutely gorgeous! Great idea on the book page placemats! I also love the contrast of the delicate china and the heartier, more rustic centerpiece. SO pretty!!!

  11. SO, so pretty! I love that china pattern, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I love the way you’ve combined elegant and rustic — and book pages! — to produce a gorgeous table!

  12. Every element of your thoughtfully set table is just wonderful! I love the centerpiece and mason jar candles contrasted with the formality of the china, etc.

    Your Mom’s Waterford is exquisite!

  13. Your tablescape, with its lovely china pattern and stemware, the wooden drawer centerpiece draped with burlap, and the leaf-decorated mason jar, perfectly fits the words you used in your description: rustic elegance. It will be fun to see what option two looks like next week…

  14. Jennifer, this is so pretty! I love the subtle color scheme and the rustic centerpiece with the fine china. Thanksgiving will be very special at your house. I’m looking forward to seeing version 2.

    Blessings to your mom!


  15. Beautiful and that little duck gravy boat is so cute. I wish I could set the table early but it has to be the same day…ditto for Christmas. You see I have a cat…and of course, she’d trash the table ! 🙂

  16. Just wanted to let you know, Jennifer that I’m featuring your post for Vintage Inspiration tomorrow. This Thanksgiving Tablescape is one of THE most beautiful I’ve seen, thanks for always joining in, I really appreciate you!!

  17. So pretty, the centerpiece with all the natural elements was made elegant the french ribbon and your beautiful china. I loved the votive mason jars!
    Very successful mix of formal and everyday elements for a beautiful table. Thanks for sharing,

  18. We always eat buffet style and I’ve never spent a lot of time on the table setting. Your table is SO beautiful…I’m inspired.
    With a craft show coming up this weekend I don’t think I have time to plan anything much this Thanksgiving. But I think I’ll try out your leaf-wrapped candle holders. They’re lovely!

  19. Hi Jennifer, I have to tell you how touched I was by your post. I was reading along learning about your mother’s talented ways and then all of a sudden you mentioned her Alzheimers. It was such a jolt, and I’m so sorry to hear about that. I guess it’s a reminder of what’s really important as we go about this season. blessings to you,
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)