Set the Table with Grace — and Plenty of Time

A little planning goes a long way this time of year!

By FamilyTime

 Few holidays are as fraught with expectations as Thanksgiving and hardly a soul among us is immune. If you are hosting the feast this year, be prepared! You will be happy you are.

Being prepared means getting the shopping done, planning who will bring what, and setting a timetable for cooking and baking. It also can mean setting the table ahead of time.

Unless you plan to use paper plates and napkins, this means taking a good inventory of what you have. If you need to supplement, you will be very glad you know about it a few days, or even a week, before the big day.

Count the Silver
Make sure you have enough forks, knives, dessert spoons, and serving spoons and forks for the number of Thanksgiving guests. Ditto for plates, water goblets, and wine glasses.

If you are shy a few plates and want to use your best china, don’t despair. You may not have the time, resources, or opportunity to buy more of your special pattern, but if you mix in a few solid colored plates, no one will notice (or care).

Usually plain white plates work best, but you will have to be the judge. If you find some white plates that you like and which you can afford, buy some extras to have on hand next time you run into the same problem.

Dessert plates do not need to match the dinnerware, but should match or complement each other.

Do the same with glassware. Plain water tumblers or goblets never go out of style, and a set of four or six extra wine glasses will be useful.

Look at the Linen
Open the table cloth you plan to use and if it has spots or stains, wash or dry clean it. Count the number of cloth napkins that look best with the table cloth and make sure they are clean.

As with tableware, supplement linens with plain colors that complement how you want to table to look.

Paper Power
You won’t use much paper on Thanksgiving if you plan on setting the table with your best china and linen, but you should have it on hand.

Buy pretty cocktail napkins to serve with the hors d’oeuvres. Festive, high-quality guest towels are a nice touch in the bathroom, too.

Set the Table
Set the table the day, evening, or morning before the meal. This way, you can make sure it looks just so, without rushing.

Be sure to have enough chairs, fresh candles, and a pretty but low centerpiece. Keep the kids and pets out of the way.

You now have one less thing to worry about! Happy Thanksgiving.