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How To Set The Perfect Thanksgiving Table

The holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving only a few weeks away and we are starting to think about preparing our family feasts.  Whether you are serving a small family of 2 or extended family of 20, you can have the picture perfectThanksgiving table.  Your Thanksgiving table can be casual or elaborate as you want.

Setting the perfect Thanksgiving table starts with the perfect picture in your mind. The colors of fall are beautiful and intertwined. Choose your colors for your table linens. Personally, I start with a solid color table cloth and compliment the table cloth with a harvest style runner, very eye catching.

Keep in mind the colors of your dishes, compliment the dishes with your corresponding table linens. You can choose a printed table cloth and solid runner or solid table cloth and solid runner, or a solid table cloth with a design embedded, remember that picture in your mind.

Table Padding helps with the setting of your perfect Thanksgiving Table. Not only does the table padding protect your table finish from liquid spills, hot spots, scratches, dents and nicks it helps to absorb sound and gives the tablecloth a gentle flowing drape and prevents the tablecloth from sliding or pulling.

Table padding is made of felt and vinyl and the soft backing is safer for many modern finishes. Table padding comes in many sizes or can be cut to the size of your table or cut longer to include the drop or overhang.

Need help figuring out what size and shape of tablecloth you need? Tablecloths come in square, round, oblong (rectangle), and oval.

Do you know the difference between and oblong and oval tablecloth? Many time people confuse oblong with oval. An oblong tablecloth is designed to fit a rectangle table with square corners and an oval tablecloth fits an egg-shaped table.

Do you know how to figure out your tablecloth size?
Measure the width and length of your table. Add the overhang or drop, which is how long the tablecloth will hang over the side, typically the desired overhang is 10-12 to lap level on dining tables and 15 inches for banquet tables.

Once you have these measurements, add the overhang times 2 to each measurement of your table. You don't want the tablecloth to be too long. Your guests should be able to be able to sit and not have the tablecloth touch their legs, you don't want anyone pulling that tablecloth!!

Example: If your table size is 30x72 inches and the desired drop is 12 inches you would figure it this way:
12 inch (drop size) X 2 would be 24 inches
Add the 30" (from your table measurement) to the 24" (doubled desired drop) = 54 inches
Add the 72" (from your table measurement) to the 24" (doubled desired drop) = 96 inches

The perfect cloth size for your table would be 54 X 96 inches. Tablecloths typically come in standard sizes you would then select the size closest to those figures.

I happen to be a big fan of Table Runners. Table runners are sometimes called "scarves" and are pieces of material that run lengthwise or across your table. Table runners can run within the dimensions of a table or extend into the overhang.  When setting your Thanksgiving Table, runners add a touch of the season

I think Table Runners add character to a table setting, especially at Thanksgiving and the holidays. They can be used to complement your table linens, used as decorations, to hide a leaf or just let your imagination run wild.

The Charger is making a big come back on tables. The charger makes a table look more elegant, whether serving dinner to your family or entertaining the guests.

Chargers are simply under plates that are used at each place setting of a formal table. The charger will be larger than the actual dinner and salad plates used to hold the food. The dinner plate is never placed on the charger. When you are shopping for chargers, place the salad plate or soup bowl, not the dinner plate, on the charger to see how it sizes and coordinates.

Historically, chargers were used in the best of restaurants to hold a place at the table before the diners arrived. This also aided in the setting of a elaborate table. Without a place for the plate, it was difficult to place the silverware properly. Once guests were seated, the plates were removed and the dinner process began.

Today, a charger is still used as a marker, but is used when dinner is served in courses. The appetizer, soup, and salad plates are placed on the charger, creating and elegant look and the charger also helps to keep the area around the diner clean before the entree is served.

The charger should compliment the choices of china, silverware, and décor of the table setting. A charger may be used with or without placemats, depending on your table setting.

The use of the right charger can add a touch of elegance to the table. By coordinating the design of the table setting, the color choices, and the pattern used for the china, the charger will beautify other pieces and create a sense of an elegant table setting.

A napkin is a napkin or is it?

There are so many things that you can do with a napkin.

Napkins are a piece of material (made of cloth or paper) used to clean the lips or fingers and for protection of clothing. Napkins can be made of a variety of fabrics including cotton, linen, silk, and cotton/polyester blends. Cotton, Linen, and Silk napkins are typically used for more formal settings while cotton/polyester blends are used for casual everyday dining.

Turning a plain piece of cloth into an exotic swan for instance, brings back my many days in the catering business. Napkin folding can turn your table into an elegant work of art and it is an easy and fun task. Not into napkin folding, then napkin rings are the best thing. There are napkin rings for anyone budget and taste.

For ease of serving and cleaning, I like to use Stoneware/CorningWare serving dishes, that can easily go from the oven to your table. Stoneware is attractive, microwave proof and even oven proof. Right from your oven to your table, eliminating extra dishes, pots and pans. Another reason you need table padding, to save your table from the heat of serving dishes.

Just as versatile as stoneware is Corning ware, both help eliminate extra chores on Thanksgiving Day and add beauty to your Thanksgiving Table.

Most of us know how to set a table, but for those that need a little refresher here is an overview...on setting the perfect Thanksgiving Table

* Forks should go on the left and spoons and knives to the right of the plate.
* An easy way to remember the correct order to place utensils is that they go in the order in which you use them; so the salad fork goes on the outside left while the larger fork used to eat the main course goes on the inside left. Turn the blade of all knifes so they face toward the plate, why well in midevil times the blade pointing out meant harm to the person next to you.
* If you are using chargers, place the salad plate and/or soup bowl on the charger.
* Place the side plate or bread and butter plate to the left of your place setting;
* Place the wineglass at the tip of the main-course knife. The water glass and any other glasses should be arranged in the order they will be used with the first one on the outside.
* The napkins can go under the knife and spoon or on the side plate. If you choose to use napkin holders or fancy folds, the napkin can go on top of the charger plate set up or even in the water glass for a more decorative and elegant place setting.

Truth be told...I leave this to the kids, who have a great time trying figuring out who sits next to who. It's a great touch to create and decorate place cards.

Place the cards either on the charger plate setup or better yet in attractive place card holders which are placed on the charger plate setup or directly on top of the charger plate setup.

Using place or name cards adds a finishing touch on your Thanksgiving Table Setting.

What do you say about Glassware? There are so many styles and shapes that just can boggle the mind. Most importantly, set a water glass, wine glass if you serve wine or alcohol and for the more adventurous, a stylish shot glass for the tradition after dinner sambuca with coffee beans.

Finally, for an extra special touch, you could leave a small gift at each place setting. If you shop around in dollar discount stores you can find all kinds of small gift items. Wrap them and use ribbon to give them a holiday look. You could even place the name cards in a frame for your guests to bring home.

Decorating your table with a Harvest Centerpiece or Cornucopia will give your table a Thanksgiving feeling. Candlesticks are another great way to decorate your table and add a flair of elegance.

The final and finishing touches create a perfect Thanksgiving Table Setting!

About the Author

Learn more about setting your Thanksgiving Table at Set The Perfect Thanksgiving Table and make your Thanksgiving and every holiday picture perfect.

Ann Cohen is a former caterer who loves to entertain and decorate on a budget.

How do I make a website that I can sell things from without spending much money?

I make stoneware aquarium ornaments and I am trying to sell them online. I'd like to set up my own website so I can send people to view pictures of my work. Any help is appreciated.

http://www.oscommerce.com/
This might help to make the online store.
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