Friday, November 26, 2010

Perfectly Imperfect Holiday Table

I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner at our home.  I love celebrating with lots and lots of people.  We like to invite anyone who doesn't have family in town to join with us.  Some years, we keep joining tables to our dining table to make sure everyone has a seat at the table.  I don't wait for my home to be perfect before I entertain because I know it will never be. 

This year it was only a few members of our family who gathered at a single table to thank the Lord for all of the blessings He's given us.  It was a bit somber as it was the first holiday without my mother-in-law.  I was brought to tears as I made gravy, because we always did that together.  I was happy that it turned out well - I've never made it without her!

Lately, a number of people have been curious about holiday celebrations at Brown Wren Acres.  It always surprises me because I just  figured we are doing our "thang" - making do with what we have and trying to make people feel welcomed in our home.  Since there is some interest in how we celebrate, I thought I'd share how I set up for Thanksgiving. 

For Thanksgiving, this is how our table scape came together during cooking breaks.

First, I start with a perfectly imperfect table.  I bought it for $60.00 at a consignment shop 15 years ago.  I refinished the top. 

It didn't have a leaf, which wasn't a problem at the time, but now our family has expanded and we need more room. Until I can find a better table, Hubs (my hero) made a leaf out of a scrap piece of wood. It doesn't match the table, but I always cover it with a tablecloth.

I top the table with a damask table cloth that was made by my grandma for her parent's 30th wedding anniversary.  It is around 75 years old.  This year I topped it with a crocheted table cloth that one of my clients gave me.  (Actually, he threw it in the dumpster while we were staging his home.  I dumpster-dove and pulled it out.  I carried it into the house and pleaded with him to give it to one of his family members.  He said it had been part of a set of two and his daughter took the better one and told him to toss this one.  He told me I was welcome to have it.  I brought it home, repaired it and washed it.  It is beautiful.  I feel good about rescuing it!)

I added a table runner for some color and used my china to start the place settings.  I don't have enough china for everyone, so I alternate my china with some perfectly imperfect plain china plates I found at the thrift store. 

Continuing with the table settings, I take the damask napkins that match the tablecloth and I use a small craft grapevine wreath as a napkin ring.  I like the juxtaposition of the elegant mixed with the rustic.  I use our regular silverware because I don't have real silver.  I add a small hurricane filled with coffee beans and a second candle holder.  I've found that our table won't hold a lot of food and a centerpiece at the same time. 

The glassware consists of Princess House iced tea glasses mixed with my grandmother's old amber pressed glass sherbet glasses as fruit dishes.  I also like to use my salt and pepper shakers that are shaped like leaves.

I like to use all of these items because they have memories attached to them - not large price tags.  This table represents how we live life.  Be content with what you have - and USE it.  The rule I have for myself is if I am not using it then I need to get rid of it.

When I set the table, I also set out the serving dishes and utensils I will use for the food so that I can grab them when I need them. 

I set our desserts on the sideboard.  I used a fall garland with Christmas lights to highlight the back of the sideboard.  Then, I added two glass cake stands topped with cloth napkins to hold the pies.  A small dish holds ginger cookies and candy acorns

Our Thanksgiving dinner was perfectly imperfect - just like our family - and I love it!


  1. Thank you for sharing your holiday table! What a welcoming feeling you have with your family. I am so sorry about the pain from losing your mother-in-law.

  2. I wish I could just borrow you for a week staight and have you 'fix me up'. You are so amazing! I love reading!

  3. What a beautiful table for celebrating Thanksgiving. This year, I am thankful for having met you and for the opportunity to share a bit of your journey with you. Blessings, Kelly!


I'd love to know what you're thinking. Please feel free to leave ideas and comments.