Are you ready for a change this Thanksgiving Day? Many of us have had enough Thanksgiving Day reruns. You know – the table is always set with Grandma’s Thanksgiving china and covered with Mom’s special lace tablecloth, and it’s always the same menu and same guests who sit in the same places year after year. Yes, it’s time for a change – so go for it! Put the turkey candleholders out to roost, and give your Thanksgiving menu, table, and home décor a fresh, vibrant appeal.
Teri M. Bae, an interior designer at TMB Interior Designs, suggests starting with white and grey pumpkins for your Thanksgiving décor. That sounds cool, doesn’t it? “Using lots of neutral-colored décor items with fewer strong fall colors as a focal point is more trendy and chic than going all out with oranges and browns,” says Teri. You can even add a few colorful gourds in assorted shapes and sizes in fall tones to accent those cool neutrals.
Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel are showing many neutral-toned pumpkins, including clear glass or shiny mercury glass, often paired with galvanized metal serving trays or plant pots to fill with dried fall foliage.
A tapestry or print table runner will give your Thanksgiving table a festive look. Some decorators suggest using only a runner on your table so the wood shows through. However, drips and spills can happen, and I’d rather they happen on a tablecloth than the tabletop. Teri layers the runner over a tablecloth. “I prefer a tablecloth, especially for a dinner table with guests,” she says. “It instantly makes the table feel more formal and prepared. Layering a table runner adds texture.”
For a centerpiece, Teri uses real fruits such as pomegranates, mini pumpkins, figs, grapes, and chestnuts, also scattering colorful autumn leaves around the turkey platter and other dishes. She adds vintage brass candlesticks with long tapers for the finishing touch. I prefer votive candles placed randomly around the table. Either way is trendier than those turkey candleholders.
Decorating your home and table to welcome Thanksgiving guests is one thing, but what to serve? Will it be the usual turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, relish plate, rolls, and lasagna? Yes, lasagna. My Italian mom always served lasagna or ravioli as the first course on Thanksgiving Day, but I haven’t kept up the tradition.
Now many of us have family members and friends who are vegetarian or vegan, or have allergies or need gluten-free foods. Instead of expecting them to fill up on the few side dishes they can eat, be creative and thoughtfully serve foods they’ll be thankful for and everyone can enjoy.
Most markets, including major supermarkets, now offer organic turkeys and a wide variety of gluten-free foods. Beans, legumes, rice, grains, fresh fruit, and vegetables are all gluten-free. Sprouts carries Walden Farms salad dressings that are fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, and calorie-free. We all need that on Thanksgiving Day.
Local specialty markets offer vegan turkey roasts, and Trader Joe’s carries one that looks like a roasted tom turkey, legs and all, and includes wild rice stuffing and gravy.
Pam Daily, a specialty manager at Mother’s Market, says they have vegan turkey substitute entrees including vegan wellington, Tofurky® roasts, and vegan-friendly ingredients, plus their deli offers several prepared vegan dishes you can order to go.
Maybe Thanksgiving Day is a bummer for you because you have no family nearby and traveling on Thanksgiving Day can be a mess, especially if you have to fly. Instead of anticipating a downer day, make it a memorable one by starting new traditions. Extend an invite to those friends and folks who you know will be alone for “Friendsgiving” Day. It can be formal or casual – perhaps a potluck – and those with special food needs can bring dishes to share. Who knows, maybe someone will bring the lasagna – but don’t let anyone forget the pumpkin and mincemeat pies!
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving Day or Friendsgiving Day, and with whoever you choose to celebrate it with, enjoy the company, the food, the fun, and all the football games, while looking forward to those exciting Black Friday sales!
Terri Daxon is a freelance writer