Posted by: Alycia Nichols | November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 – Celebrate Me Home

For the first time in as long as I can remember we won’t be hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year. I can’t even begin to tell you how deeply wounded I am about that. It is hands down my favorite holiday, and I always look forward to my loud, gregarious, hungry family and friends gathering under our roof. Sigh! :-( I know I just need to put on my big girl bloomers and deal with it, but instead I find myself hitting the “repeat” button on my playlist for Kenny Loggins’ “Celebrate Me Home“.

For my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class this semester, I created a decidedly contemporary Thanksgiving tablescape. I am a traditionalist all the way when it comes to Thanksgiving, but I wanted to demonstrate to my students that you CAN step outside of the box without completely thumbing your nose at tradition.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

More often than not, the main table for our Thanksgiving celebration is set up in the family room. The windows face south so there’s plenty of natural light, the crackle of the fireplace adds ambience, and with two 6-ft. tables kissed lengthwise, we can comfortably seat 12. There’s just something about a long, Tuscan-style table that suggests a bounteous celebration.

As usual, full-length linens are used to cover the multitude of sin that is a folding table. I used a creamy, soft ivory to work with the ivory dishes. Burnished gold-tone acrylic chargers with a subtle braided edge from Hobby Lobby anchor each place setting.

Pumpkin-colored napkins from LinenTablecloth.com bring a burst of color to the table. The simple elongated fold allows the napkin to slightly drape off the side of the table to break up the expanse of ivory there. You may have noticed how the kind of bell shape and the pumpkin color of the napkin mimic that of the calla lilies used in the floral arrangements. This is one of those subtle details that, while not starkly apparent, plays on the subconscious to suggest harmony and flow.

I like to provide individual menus for Thanksgiving settings, even if we’re doing a buffet. It’s nice to let your guests know what to expect, and the menu card serves as a nice (and inexpensive!) memento of the day. Notice how the small embellishment on the menu not only provides a bit of color but mirrors the centerpiece theme.

“Why on earth would you use (faux) bamboo flatware at Thanksgiving,” you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you why on earth: because it looks good! Bamboo flatware isn’t just for Asian- or tropical-themed events. It is a year-round, all-occasion staple that adds contemporary flair. You will notice later how the dark color works with the rosewood stands upon which some of the florals are displayed, as well as the preserved curly willow in the arrangements. Using a dark color here also keeps the setting from becoming too vanilla and helps to balance the light and bright of the ivory and pumpkin colors.

Simple, stark stemware is used to keep patterns from getting out of control. The shape and sleek design of the stemware bowls is also congruent with that of the floral vessels.

One of my favorite mediums for decorating is glass. You can just do SO much with it. It becomes whatever color and takes on any shape within its confines that your imagination will allow it to. The round or globe shape of these clear glass bowls adds to the contemporary feel of the table. They are alternately placed upon rosewood stands for a staggered effect. A chunky ivory LED (for safety’s sake!) pillar candle is nestled among swirls of curly willow tips and pumpkin-hued calla lilies. (I used faux callas here for demonstration purposes, but fresh ones work beautifully for this arrangement! They’ll stay fresh for a bit if in a cool room, but you might otherwise want to give them a water stem that can be concealed beneath the willow.) While a more traditional bloom for Thanksgiving might be roses or mums, the calla lily is a breath of fresh air without sucking all the life out of tradition. While this curly willow is now pretty much petrified, you have to start with fresh to swirl it in the bowl without breaking it. It looks great fresh or rigid. One final thing to note with the centerpiece is how, like the stemware, the votive holders are similar to the shape of the vases.

Vivid color is shared at the lowest part of the table with these gorgeous mini pumpkins that are abundant this time of year. Using a mix of colors adds optic interest. Here I went with plain orange as well as cream-colored ones with orange & green stripes. The casual tumble of pumpkins between each arrangement acts as a “connector” and provides visual continuity for the long centerpiece.

I always like to create a foyer piece that contains some of the same elements as my dining table as a hint of what’s to come. Here bittersweet vine is loosely wrapped around the stems of about 40 calla lilies in a large oil rubbed bronze urn.

Find other ideas for Thanksgiving tablescapes on these posts:
Pheasants and Peacocks
Best Laid Plans
Wondrous Wheat
or on the “Autumn” page where you’ll find 10 autumn tablescapes!!!

This week, despite her own losses and inconvenience courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, Cuisine Kathleen is graciously hosting her 1st annual Thanksgiving Tablescape Challenge. So if you’re looking for more great ideas to decorate your Thanksgiving table…or you just want to see talent gone wild from tablescapers all around the world…scoot on over to Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday. I’m also joining the Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday” and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Responses

  1. Your tablescapes are like poetry in motion, or a well-written song. The way the shapes repeat, softy and strongly, hesitant then insistent. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

  2. This totally works for me, especially in the Houston house. You’ve used some of my very favorite elements in your design, and I love the idea of introducing your scheme at the entry. You continue to amaze me with your eye for detail, something that is not always my strong suit.

  3. Wow! I love it! The table and home decor is amazing. I really love the large round, glass candle holders with the branch motif and pumpkins on the dining table, along with the autumn color scheme throughout. It is so warm and welcoming for Thanksgiving.

  4. Alycia, Although, I totally understand, don’t grieve over not hosting, celebrate that you won’t be dealing with all the dirty dishes! I love the use of the clear glass bowls with candles on this table. We saw tiny little bunches of bitersweet at Scott’s Antique Market this past weekend and they were $10 each and they were already started to split open. Your’s is beautiful and mixed with the Lillies, a perfect color for the season.

  5. Gorgeous! I love the subdued shades of autumn. Really like the round (like a pumpkin) glass bowl on the rosewood stand and the mini pumpkin gourds scattered amongst for the centerpieces. The bamboo definitely ties in well. Your talent (gift to decorate) continues to amaze me. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! xoxo

  6. How great is that. I really like this non traditional Thanksgiving table. I love the setting in this room with the fireplace, too. I might have to de throne my living room one year and try this out in there. Sorry you are sad about not hosting Thanksgiving. Hope you’ll still be eating some good traditional fixings somewhere…

  7. Alycia, this is magnificent. I, too, am a traditionalist for Thanksgivings.. You’ve managed to make this more “modern” but still stay in the comfort zone. Love those globe vases/hurricanes! The lilies are the perfect color and compliment the oranges of the season so well. Love the little pumpkin parade.. Since our living room and dining area are one great room (yes shoot me now cause I miss a “dining room”) I could certainly kiss those tables end to end. Might just have to do that for New Year’s. I’m do a small thanksgivings cause we just have to have a turkey (for the leftovers!). New Year’s is my large holiday. If no one wanted to come, I’d be devastated. Just like you! If you are lonely, I can come up and you can cook for me!! Happy Turkey day.. your table rocks! xo marlis

  8. I love the way you described your table settings! I always think after I read one of your posts how I could have been more creative with my descriptions! I really like your glass pieces with the candles, willow and calla lilies- very original and fun! Your dishes are beautiful and the cute pumpkins bring your colors together! I would love some bamboo flatware. No one would know you have folding tables underneath. Your beautiful linens really dress it up!

    I see we are both doing the holiday by ourselves this year. Well I guess it’s just that kind of year isn’t it! On occasion reality bites, but we have to remember we have many things to be thankfull for and sometimes we just have to accept that things aren’t always the same.
    Cheers to making the best of it!
    XO ~ Liz

  9. Gorgeous, Alycia, as always. I like that you addressed a folding table. I have a large group invited this year and will use a long folding table in addition to our kitchen and dining room tables in the family room. I will use the heirloom silver and cloth napkins, but also folding chairs, alas. With so many loved ones near, I doubt there will be complaints. I hope you have a lovely holiday.

  10. So pretty! I love the embossed edge on those dishes! I was at HomeGoods this morning and was SO tempted. Saw some beautiful brown and white transferware…ahh so pretty!!

  11. Whoa, girl!!! Calla lillies for T’giving????????? Who’d a thunk???? But I LOVE them. This is a homerun. Love the bridge they make between tradition and contemporary. I don’t think I have ever used them. They scare me for some reason. I’m afraid they’ll take my table or arrangement somewhere I didn’t mean to go. Know what I mean? No? Well…..just know that now that I’ve seen this table, I have calla lillies in my future.

  12. I love the glass, colors, texture. It’s a gorgeous Thanksgiving table, Alycia! I like the idea of setting it up near a fireplace and I love that it is a long table. Although, Miss Gabi told me a round table is better for conversation. What? Where did that come from! Sometimes I wonder about my 8 year old little old lady granddaughter.:-)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. I love everything about this table ! You have such a special talent.
    A very happy Thanksgiving to you and your family no matter where you gather !

  14. What ate up your comment, Alycia? I did not get it, lol. Your table is really beautiful! I love how you created your center pieces. I love the color combination of the plate layers and the napkins. Though contemporary, I think this works for traditional as well. Enjoy your thanksgiving even if you are not hosting it….Chrisine

  15. wow, I love those orange calla lillies! I always learn something from your wonderful posts!! Your table is beautiful, espescially the glass globes. Hopefully you will enjoy your Thanksgiving with out hosting!! Who knows you may like it!!

  16. Oh my goodness, this is gorgeous, Alycia. It is simple but so striking. You make the art of tablescaping look so easy…when in reality it isn’t! Thank you for sharing each week!

  17. Absolutely Elegant! Your class is certainly having a wonderful lesson on creativity for the centerpiece is simple and lovely. I love the repetition of the glass round vases and the cute pumpkins. You have so many wonderful colors and textures in your tablescape. I especially like the embossed china!
    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving for your ability to inspire others is a blessing!

    Thanks, Pam

  18. My first thought was how I loved the huge table! We have been known to take the couches and tables out of the living room to set a huge table! Everyone loves to be in the same room when possible! As always it is very pretty. How I would love to be at one of your classes!

  19. You’re right..it is SUPER FABULOUS, your Thanksgiving tablescape! I would love, love to be at your house for Tksgiving in this magnificent table, with you and Ramon..see..we’re going to be alone too, my girls live in another town and there’s no Tksgiving here, except we celebrate as I am Amer., next Saturday the 24th.. I love the clear round vases both, and hurricanes as well..and how you arranged them, so very simple and unique aaand so you..always with such taste and creativity. The little punmpkins around it are so perfect and the foyer is lovely. I have a set of six bamboo flatware, now that you remind me and Idon’t know where they are! Gorgeous sweet friend, I always delight myself and learn and inspire myself from viewing such glorious tablescapes you make.
    PS: What about your comment Alycia…geezzz!!! Lots of hugs,
    FABBY

  20. Gosh, Alycia, I wish I possessed as much creativity as you do with your beautiful tablescapes. Everything is so well planned. Those clear globes look sooo pretty and low enough for guests to see over. I love the faux bamboo, too. Your attention to detail is exquisite. Can I come take one of your classes??

  21. From the tumbling pumpkins to the unique candle glass…beautiful and inspirational!!!! I give thanks to you for sharing with us. Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. Alycia, I’m a traditionalist myself, but this contemporary table really catches my eye. Love the big glass globes, the faux bamboo flatware, and those gorgeous calla lilies. Fabulous table. Lucky students!

  23. Stunning, Alycia! I also adore the look of a long table dressed for the occasion — Thanksgiving bounty, and all of that! I am thankful for your generosity in sharing your amazing tips with us — and for your always delightful comments!

  24. Alycia~ I love when you kiss (so much better than butt ;) your tables together! They are cozy in line with the fireplace and dramatic at the same time! I makes me wish I had room to line up just one by the fireplace! I love your glass globes and bamboo flatware paired for a non-traditional table. Your calla lilies are the perfect pumpkin color for Thanksgiving!

  25. Gorgeous! You never cease to amaze me! And my in put is a well deserved time off this year! Enjoy someone else’s cooking this year and leave the mess to them. I also love the fact that your tables “Kiss” and not butt together…. good one Mary :)

  26. Oh Alycia, I love your table. I am moving furniture right now to set up Thanksgiving in the living room. I have been looking for those plates for a year.. where did you get them? Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!!!

    Cynthia

  27. Hi Alycia,

    Well, you’ve hit another home run — right out of the park this time. I really am such a traditionalist (less kind people would say boring :) ), but your table really impressed me! Everything is just lovely, and I love that you explain all the subtle details and why they work. I’m with Kitty; I wish I could take one of your tablescaping classes.

    I love your cream-colored dishes and the orange napkins, lilies, and pumpkins. All the glass really is beautiful and very effective. You even created pretty menus — wow! I also must tell you that I LOVE the view of your fireplace and built-ins on either side. The arched brick over your fireplace opening is so pretty!

    Last, but not least, I love that Kenny Loggins song, and I hadn’t thought about it in forever. You can probably relate to this random story. I was in a store yesterday and they played “Daydream Believer” by Davey Jones over the intercom system, and it made me so sad. I LOVED that song when I was young. I told my husband that I thought to myself, “I’m old and Davey Jones is dead.” It’s sad. I’m not really old; I just feel that way lately. :)

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful table, Alycia, and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

    XO,

    Denise

  28. Beautiful table for Thanksgiving Alicia I love your dishes.Everythings is just lovely.
    Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog!
    Have blessed Thanksgiving Day!!!!!
    XO
    Isora

  29. Beyond gorgeous Alycia!!!!…as always!

  30. Somebody should be eating T’giving dinner at this gorgeous table! How I love a loooong table, and how wonderful that you have the space to put 2 of them end to end. Love the pop of the napkin on each place setting, and those glass bowls make such a great statement. You are amazing! laurie

  31. Alycia, that’s me. Somehow my comment posted before I got my website entered?

  32. Alycia, this table is divine. I would give anything to dine at one of your tables so guess what……I have added you to my bucket list!! Haha One day if I ever get to America I’m calling on you. Even if you didn’t feed me I’d be happy just to sit!
    Suzyq

  33. You’ve done it again, Alycia–another gorgeous table! I absolutely adore calla lilies, so I think your autumn-toned bouquet is amazing. (Only one of mine bloomed in the garden this year–go figure.) I love how sleek this table looks–I think it’s the round bowls that you used that really appeal to me, so I’ll have to remember that when I’m setting a table. I also love the dark bamboo-handled flatware. I love reading your comments over at my blog–they always make me smile :) Glad you liked the banana streusel muffins–it was one of those deals where I made a batch, gave half to my hubby and told him he had to wait for the other half so I could take pictures of them for the blog! He is very patient, as you can see:) But he got them eventually. Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  34. You managed to make this elegant yet warm at the same time. I love the bamboo flatware with it. We (as in my mom, really…) have some of that very flatware, and I wanted to use it. Unfortunately, it was snagged by my sister first. I’m going with gold, but the bamboo is the look I WAS going for. I love the pumpkin napkins. It’s an uncommon color to find.

    This is all just lovely! (Sorry you aren’t hosting. As one who never gets to host the whole big family, I relate. )

  35. Beautiful table, beautiful colors!!! I’m sure your students will have THEIR best tables ever at home from this inspiration! And just love “Celebrate Me Home”. That whole album is wonderful. Sorry you are not hosting this year, like you would like. :-(

  36. Oh Alycia you are such a cute person.wonderful to have you as my friend.i dont have words to describe your table.i just got lost in looking at the table.so wonderful.so much to learn from this post.thank you for your visit and to write all those lovely things.indeed i saw your diwali tablescape and you have done it so beautifully with enthusiasm.lots of love from sujatha.

  37. Your fantasy Thanksgiving table and mine have an amazing degree of similarity. Now I have to go buy some glass fish bowls and start to experiment. I’ll be meandering back through this post to study it more closely. Great design work! Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Happy Thanksgiving! Cherry Kay

  38. What a lovely table. Having your dearest around this table makes the whole heart go round. Love your flowers that fits to your lamps (do say lamps?) Hmmm… living so many years in Sweden, make me sound stupid. My English is not hasten anymore.

    Hope you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving and hope you can visit me in The Philippines §;:-) so you can join the funtime in the paradise.

    GB to you all,
    /Chie

  39. yes indeed, a super woman! are you having an army for dinner? It certainly looks like it. Have a wonderful holiday.


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