Setting a pretty table, or not.
We have all done it,… prepared a beautiful tablescape for our family Thanksgiving dinner.
But it has not always been that way, for me anyway.
We set a pretty tableescape because we want a beautiful showcase for our dinner….after all, we spend hours preparing that perfect feast and we want a table that looks glamorous and gorgeous.
But !!! what if????
What if we are simplifying and cutting back and we have decided to pick up the already prepared meal at one of the chain restaurants or a local restaurant.
There is nothing wrong with that in our busy world.
Perhaps you are going to eat the meal on a TV tray as you sit in front of the television watching the football games or the Hallmark channel movies.
Or, you are wanting to get a head start on the sales at stores opening in the early evening, so you have a simple dinner.
No judging here folks, you do what ever you want to do for your Thanksgiving meal.
Remember… in the movie “The Christmas Story”, the family ate their Thanksgiving dinner in the local Chinese restaurant, ….
……and I have known people who had to eat their dinner at the Waffle House due to airport or road closures.
It doesn’t matter where or what you eat, just as long as you are able to be surrounded by family or friends….
….Or just yourself.
So I have one more tablescape to show you.
This tablescape is the minimum… the casual, the laid back Thanksgiving Tablescape.
You see, I had placemats still on the table from Halloween, and they were orange and black.
The orange flatware and napkins were left over from Halloween.
The autumn leaf goblets are from dollar tree, the water glasses from Pier 1.
So I got to thinking about those people who did not want to go to all the work of setting up a special table.
The colorful turkey came from Home Goods and I will be sending it to “only daughter”.
Here is where I am going to tell you something that might be shocking!
But I need to go back to my early childhood.
When I was growing up, we did have family togethers for Thanksgiving, but because of costs, etc, my family did not have enough of our every day dishes.
My mother, grandmother and my aunt took turns hosting the dinner and it was the same at each table gathering.
No sit down dinner and no beautiful tablescape.
I remember looking at the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving table pictures, (we have all seen such settings). You know, where the dinnerware is all set up with matching dishes and glassware.
And in the center of the table, a giant, perfectly roasted turkey on a large platter, surrounded by oranges and parsley.
The picture is complete with a large loving family, sitting in their best clothes around the table.
THAT was not the way it was at our table.
Unfortunately, my grandmother, aunt nor my mother had large rooms… or even large tables/chairs for the feast, so it was more of a buffet style, served from the every day table.
So after a prayer, we all took our mismatched plates, filled them from the dishes on the table and found a spot to sit, eat and balance the plates on our laps, (this could be in any room of the house)!
The food was bountiful and way too much to eat.
We would go back for seconds or dessert and we enjoyed every minute of it.
But there was no centerpiece or even linen napkins. …instead there was a stack of paper napkins bought at the local grocery store.
The turkey and ham were carved as they sat on the top of the stove and then the slices were put on a plate and sat on the table.
No big ceremony of carving the bird.
The sides were in mis-matched casserole dishes (usually clear pyrex) and grandma’s delicious chicken and noodles were served in the big pressure cooker that she cooked them in.
It was a great and beautiful day.
Just good food and family.
This tablescape was hastily thrown together and I almost set it up with paper plates and napkins and mis-matched flatware or dishes.
Those are the memories I had from an era where people, fresh from the depression, did not have all the extra money for much more than the turkey dinner.
Economically, things did get better over the years, but those simple Thanksgivings are the ones I remember the most.
Folks, not everyone wants or is able to set up a pretty tablescape, for whatever reason, and that is ok.
One may not want or like turkey, and perhaps want a baloney sandwich and chips served on a paper plate in front of a sports game.
What are you planning for your dinner?
Simple or Fancy or somewhere in between??
Whatever you do, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Dinner!
God Bless You and Yours.