Thanksgiving began in the autumn of 1621 as a celebratory feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians and has evolved over hundreds of years into one of America’s most treasured holidays. For most of us, November signifies cooler temps, a colorful landscape of fallen leaves, the almighty white-laced, brown leather ball and of course, turkey.
Your meal isn’t the only thing your guests will appreciate this Thanksgiving, though! Decorating your home and table will complement the delicious meal nicely, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few simple steps to follow that will make your dining table as appealing as your food.
Begin with a Clean Slate
A simple off-white linen tablecloth sets the stage for any type of Thanksgiving gathering, whether formal, casual, or somewhere in between. Why cream or off-white rather than bright white? While crisp white may seem clean and basic, it makes for too much of a stark contrast with other décor elements.
Let Your Food Inspire
Look to the ingredients in your foods to inspire colors for your table. Jewel tones, burnt umbers, reds, yellows, dark greens, and oranges are colors typically found in cold-weather foods like cranberries and sweet potatoes. Mums—that favorite fall flower—come in a gorgeous variety of rich colors and add just enough punch to create a festive autumn mood both outdoors and indoors. An alternative to flowers that also provides a nice pop of color is a simple arrangement of a dozen or so gourds in a clear glass bowl. You can often find nice bags of small, interesting gourds for sale in local grocery stores or farmers’ markets.
Bring the Outdoors in
Use nature’s resources: Add fall treasures from your backyard to your table. Both free and accessible, what says “fall” better than the array of leaves blanketing every backyard at this time of year? Gather a variety of brightly colored maple and oak leaves, and scatter them in an artful pattern on your table. Pinecones piled in clear glass vases also add a natural touch and coordinate well with just about any fall décor.
Lighten the Mood
Complete your decor by brightening the scene with groupings of votive or tea light candles. Choose a single color that coordinates well with your other décor. (Use glass candle holders to prevent fire!) Hint: Be sure to choose unscented candles so they don’t compete with the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen.
Thanksgiving Food Trends
If decorating is not your “cup of tea” and you’d rather make your mark in the kitchen, Thanksgiving provides the perfect platform for you to shine! We’ve come a long way since the Pilgrims and Indians’ first Thanksgiving in 1621; they simply ate what the harvest provided. In our modern world, most any foods are accessible year-round. Those at the helm in the kitchen have learned to adjust menus to suit our modern-day diets by accommodating those with gluten sensitivities, food allergies, and other special dietary needs. Whatever your flavor, consider a few of these fall culinary trends when creating the perfect Thanksgiving meal. We’ll be that just reading these will make your mouth water!
Vegetarian Main Dish Ideas
There are vegetarians or vegans in just about every family. With recipes like these, even dedicated carnivores will find themselves chowing down:
- Pumpkin Pot Pie
- Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
- Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Eggplant and Gorgonzola
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Sage Brown Butter
These recipes can be found here.
Cranberry Sauce Gets Gingery
Traditional cranberry and citrus flavors, usually orange, are still used, but many cranberry sauce recipes this year call for ginger to add some zing.
Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts, Please
Try searching “Brussels sprout and green bean recipes” on the Internet, you will be amazed at what you find! Salads, casseroles, and side dishes—you name it! Creative recipes include adding anything from potatoes to mint…and everything in between.
Corn Stands Strong
We have always (and probably always will) loved the sweet, crisp taste of corn. Corn is a sure win, too, because it’s a food children recognize among the array of unfamiliar brown casseroles found at most Thanksgiving gatherings.
Mushrooms Make a Comeback
Mushroom dishes were not popular last year, but this year, demand is high for recipes with mushrooms. (See above, Portabello Mushrooms Stuffed with Eggplant and Gorgonzola)
Pumpkin, Pecan, or Apple?
Last year the number of cake recipes won over pie recipes, but that is not the case this year. Among the major pie contenders, apple remains America’s favorite! “Mini pies,” a hand-held version of the real thing, are a trend your guests may enjoy this holiday season!
Mix it up a little this year and channel your inner Martha Stewart! Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving fine-china-style or with paper plates in your blue jeans at a picnic table, it is most important to do what works for you and celebrate with those you love.
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