This Thanksgiving is my first time hosting the big "Turkey Day" for our family. I can hardly wait! I mean, who doesn't like Thanksgiving? It's the best Jerry, the best. The mashed potatoes, the turkey that I never eat any other day. The cranberries. Everything is wonderful. I also love that in some ways it's a tunnel holiday. You go through it and on the other end is Christmas after you say good-bye to Autumn...it's squashed between my two favorite things.
Hosting is a tad bittersweet however. As excited as I am to be hosting and to see everyone, I'm also sad because it means it is no longer being hosted by my sweet grandmother. My Grandma Jean is 90 and bless her heart, I think she's just had about her fill of Thanksgiving. I am happy to have the tradition passed to me.
If you've followed me for any length of time then you should know that I love having parties and hosting events in our house. It is what we feel called to do with the gift of our home and hosting is my spiritual gift. So when I offered to host for her I had no worries about it. After all, I have everything we need, right? No big deal!
Boy was I wrong.
In my head I had the idea to use our china. I LOVE our china. It's a gorgeous vintage Noritake pattern that Nick bought for me when we were newly married. I have an 8-piece set. One day we hope to add on to it but for now it is great.
Done and done I thought. But when I started taking a hard look at what I would need for the table I realized that the set of china in the cabinet was just a drop in the bucket of what we would need...
Fancy Shmancy Glasses
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Bowls for sides
My challenge for this Thanksgiving has been to get as many of these things as possible for as cheaply as possible. After all, I just realized last week that I need these things. Why oh why I decided to coast through this process thinking I had everything I needed I'll never know. But that's the way the cookie crumbled my friends.
Nick had me start at the store we go to regularly to snag deals... Christmas Tree Shop.
Fail. The closest thing I could find was a plastic platter for $15.00. I didn't want plastic so the search continued.
So I knew I had to be super smart in what I bought and just make do with what I could find. After all at this point I don't even have time to order anything online in time for it to be sent to me. Here are the secrets I have found about making your nice, fancy -schmancy table still look nice and fancy-schmancy with what you find:
1) White serveware matches anything
Anything! Look for super cheap serving platters anywhere. Goodwill, Kirklands, Target, Walmart. I have found that Bed, Bath, and Beyond has some very sturdy, nice white dishes that are even cheaper after their 20% off coupons. Score! The nice things about these dishes is that once you purchase them you can use them for any occasion and any holiday. You'll find that they will go with virtually anything!
2) Cheap silverware can work in a pinch
You know that supercheap stuff that you don't really want to use for everyday because it feels cheap? Well that for holidays will work just fine! I have Gibson silverware that was from my uncles estate paired with our Noritake and it looks great! We don't use it for everyday so it stays nice looking. I have also found that you can find some pretty nice actual silver silverware on craigslist for cheap. People just don't entertain like they used to and for a lot of people these have simply gone by the way-side.
3) Glassware matters
I was speaking to my grandmother about trying to find nice glasses to go with my dishes and she commented that no one has ever cared about glasses. She has really nice "company" glasses lined in platinum or plutonium or something and even she said she had the same hard time finding glasses way back when. So this is not just a generational problem, folks. I went with these crystal glasses. I purchased them from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They were $20 for 4 glasses and we were able to use 20% off coupons. So 8 glasses for about $32 was in our price range and worth it. I decided on these Dublin crystal beauties because there are a ton of different pieces available and it will be nice to collect them as time goes on. If you can't swing it, again, check on Craigslist or look at places like JCP. Some of the sets of glasses have nicer looking ones that will look nice.
4) White Tablecloth
Again, white goes with anything. Or black to really make a statement. We went with a white tablecloth I found. It cost me $8 for the largest size they have.
5) S& P- Cheap and Elegant
Simple crystal salt and pepper shakers at Bed, Bath, and Beyond are $10. With one of their 20% off coupons they would be $8.00. A good investment on something that will always look nice on the table and that you will have for years.
So those are some of the secrets that I have learned on this short journey to get our table ready for thanksgiving. But here's the biggest secret I have to share with you:
6) Stop caring!
Realize no one cares. I was talking to my Grandma (the one with the fancy glasses) and asking her in my classic-Lindsay-panic mode if I could borrow some items if I couldn't find anything I liked and these were her words: no one cares. It's just family. We're all going to have a good time. Life is too short." That being said, every Thanksgiving her table was set with her finest china, mercury covered glasses, and gold plated flatware. So I'm taking that advice with a grain of salt ;)
But how true is all of that? I know it's super easy to get wrapped up in all of the details and worry about everything, but folks, that's not what Thanksgiving is about. It's about being thankful for what you are blessed with, for spending time with friends and family, for eating gargantuan amounts of food, and then for watching football. It's parades and laughing and carb overloads and sugar comas.
That's not to say you can't try to have a gorgeous table to gather your family around to make them feel special (I know I'm going to give it the ole' college try) but stop worrying and start counting your blessings: remembering you don't have to have the best of the best of everything to complete your table and complete your life.
You can find a suitable addition at a practical price that works for all occasions and looks perfect to everyone you love, and loves you back. No one will know and if your Grandma's like mine she won't even care!
Whatever your Thanksgiving looks like, I hope these secrets help you and I hope you have the best holiday ever! You are loved, friends!