If you are hosting the Thanksgiving feast this year, you may find the idea of preparing the food and decorating the table overwhelming.  We are hosting my family this year and I needed to save time and money on decor.  I found that with our Four Entertaining Staples (white plates, classic chargers, classic candlesticks, and neutral linens), I could easily change the centerpiece and other decor to match the season without having to spend extra money.  Simplicity was key for the table designs.  I love table tops with layered decor, but that wouldn’t be practical for the number of guests we are expecting and the size of our table. The following three table styles – Natural, Festive, and Floral – should give you a starting point for creating your own personalized table.

The first step for decorating any table is creating a simple place setting.  Stack a small and large plate on a charger, flank the charger with stainless flatware, then add a napkin, name card, and a little greenery.

The Natural Table

A manzanita branch is a wonderful way to give your table a natural woodsy feel.  If you have a large branch, you can place it on its side and place the candlesticks throughout the branch.  if you have a smaller branch, place it in a vase in the center of the table and flank it  with three sets of candlesticks on each side.  This decor can be used for nearly any holiday.  For Thanksgiving, consider placing hanging tags at each seat and ask your guests to write what they are thankful for.  You can hang the tags throughout the branches as a reminder to be thankful this season.

I purchased my manzanita branches (yes, plural) at Home Goods.  They carry the branches periodically, but it is hit or miss.  You can order branches online if you do not already have something similar.  Consider going outside and collecting any fallen branches that have a nice look.

The Festive Table

Consider using festive holiday decor as the centerpiece of your table.  We started with one metal pumpkin we purchased from Home Goods (the embarrassing extent of our fall decor) and we added cuttings from our yard.  We flanked the pumpkin with three candlesticks on each side.  You can easily add more pumpkins to the mix and swap colorful leaves for the greenery.  If you add more pumpkins, consider spreading the candles throughout.

The Floral Table

Incorporating colorful flowers can give your table a festive look with a graceful feel and this look can be modified to fit any season or holiday.  We started with three square vases and filled each with a bouquet of Alstromeria.  We placed the three candles between the vases.  Consider putting the flowers into one large vase in the middle or into many small vases throughout the table and modify your candlestick setup accordingly.

One thing to note is that we used battery powered LED taper candles for all of this decor.  The candles can be purchased from Tuesday Morning in Naples and they provide a highly realistic look.  Using battery powered candles should prevent any issues with your decor catching fire and they should last a very long time.

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