The air is crisp and the leaves are turning beautiful autumn colors. It’s almost Thanksgiving and there’s nothing better than having your family and friends over for food, fun, and fellowship, especially this time of year. A little preparation, however, is a surefire recipe for success if it's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner!
Centerpiece by Barri Thompson Interiors
Begin by planning the menu — make as much ahead of time as possible. Iron your linens. Rinse off your serving dishes, crystal, and silver. Consider making the turkey the day before. Don't be afraid to delegate or ask for help. And always be sure to stock the bar! Whether your guests are sipping and celebrating or drowning in their sorrows over Thanksgiving Day football, a good cocktail will always make things better.
But how do you prepare for the plus one (or even two) that may show up with some of your nearest and dearest? Do you have seating for everyone? If not, don’t fret. Everything will fall into place — it always does! And these three tips will keep you from going crazy while making sure every guest has a seat at your Thanksgiving table.
1. BE CREATIVE
You don’t have to stick to traditional seating arrangements just because it’s Thanksgiving. Mix it up. Look around and work with what you have! Benches seat more bodies than chairs, so pull that carved Provençal bench in your mudroom up to the table. It will seat all your cousins from Maine. Even better is a pair of benches. They’ll seat the same (or more) as eight chairs. Those lovely os de mouton side chairs in your family room are perfect for the king of the house and the guest of honor. Your giltwood stool or leather ottoman will make a wonderful perch for the newlyweds next door. Add in some small side chairs like the Sgabello chair in the hall or a Country French ladder back chair or two, and voila… you're good to go!
Louis XIII style os de mouton chairs
2. BREAK THINGS UP
If every little prince and princess simply doesn’t fit at the dining table, use multiple tables. Kids tables aren’t just for coloring. A Kiddie Corner is the perfect spot for all the wee ones to gather and celebrate. Older kids will love having their own table as well… or sitting on stools at the kitchen counter. Set out a deck of cards, some board games and puzzles, and both the big and small kids will be occupied long after the last dish is washed and put away.
3. SERVE BUFFET STYLE
When your guest count does exceed the number that can be seated at the table (or even if it doesn’t) serve buffet style. There’s more room at the table and it makes everyone feel a little less guilty as they pile their plates high with turkey and dressing, sweet potato casserole, squash casserole, asparagus casserole (we love casseroles in the South), rice and giblet gravy, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, and Sister Schubert rolls. It’s also a great way to show off your new Louis XVI buffet.
Things may be a little more crowded some years than others, and how you choose to seat your guests or serve up your meal may vary, but one thing is for certain — Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks! And once the blessing is said, everyone is just thankful to be able to gather ‘round the table, share some laughs, make some memories, and eat some delicious food. Hats off to you for hosting this year!
When this self-described Francophile is not reading or writing about all things French, she's dreaming up charming new ways to showcase Lolo French Antiques et More or traveling to France with Lolo to buy delightful treasures for their store. Mimi, Lolo, and their new French Bulldog, Duke, live in Birmingham, AL.