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Thanksgiving is all about focusing on what really matters: family, friends and the ultimate comfort food. Take a fuss-free approach with our tips for setting a seasonal table that incorporates rustic elements with a touch of sophistication.

Stir It Up

The party starts as soon as guests arrive. Greet friends and family with a tray of piping-hot cider, garnished with fresh cinnamon stir sticks.

Thanksgiving tray of apple cider

Set the Scene

Create a romantic centerpiece overflowing with flowers in shades of ivory, pumpkin and sage placed atop a salvaged wooden board. The Byrd Collective created these beautiful arrangements with roses, hydrangeas, dahlias and ranunculus, and used vibrant autumn leaves for the filler.

Thanksgiving autumnal table setting

Celebrate the Season

To complement this table’s muted color palette, fill the area around the centerpiece with pale gourds and squash. Incorporate beeswax taper candles and flickering gold votives to warm the mood.

Thanksgiving traditional centerpiece

Take a Seat

Add a natural touch to each place setting by weaving a sprig of dried wheat through a handwritten place card. The neutral, earthy colors of the wheat and card stock contrast beautifully against a boldly hued linen napkin.

Thanksgiving place setting

Count Your Blessings

This Thanksgiving let everyone join in the fun of decorating the table while remembering to count their blessings. Craft our chain of thanks in advance then ask guests to write down what they’re thankful for on the paper strips. Run the chain down the length of the table and take turns reading the sentiments aloud during the meal. For an extra dose of fun, leave the strips of paper anonymous, and let everyone guess the author of each one.

Thanksgiving Chain of Thanks Beauty

Help Yourselves

The best way to enjoy company is by keeping your own load light during the party. Simplify your hosting duties by setting up a buffet near the table and letting guests help themselves to their favorite Thanksgiving foods. Use fresh herbs and seasonal fruit to garnish each dish, and set out menu cards identifying the ingredients in each item.

Thanksgiving serving from a buffet

The Perfect Bird

Score points with guests by preparing a perfectly cooked turkey then garnishing the bird with fresh apples and bunches of sage. Get our tips for storing, preparing and carving poultry.

Thanksgiving roast turkey

Gather ‘Round the Table

When it comes down to it, the most important part of your Thanksgiving dinner is being surrounded by loved ones. Spend the days leading up focusing on prep work so you can relax and enjoy yourself on the big day. Check out our printable Thanksgiving checklist for a handy timeline.

Thanksgiving guests at table

Light It Up

Scatter votives and taper candles of different heights down the middle of the table to make the entire dining room glow. Purchase inexpensive raw wood holders from a craft store, then apply stain to turn them a rich mahogany. Use unscented candles so fragrances don’t compete with the aromas of the food.

         Thanksgiving Chain of Thanks tight

Thoughtful Favors

Though they might be stuffed to the brim by the end of the meal, guests will eventually come around to craving more of that Thanksgiving deliciousness. Send them home with one of these mini apple pies in a jar to enjoy later.

Thanksgiving apple pie party favors

via @hgtv

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