Modern, Organic Thanksgiving Table Setting Tips and Recipe Ideas

Hosting your family's Thanksgiving feast can be stressful. Well, stress no more: We have tips for setting a beautiful fall table filled with easy-to-craft decorations and crowd-pleasing recipes.
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Chalk It Up

Chalkboards add a playful decorative element to any get-together. They're not only inexpensive, but also can be used repeatedly for different holidays and family events. Put your creative skills to work by writing "Happy Thanksgiving" on yours and displaying it near the spread to get guests in the holiday spirit. Have friends and family pose by the chalkboard sign for a souvenir photo op.

DIY Twig Table Runner

Take your Thanksgiving table to the next level by making your own rustic (and nearly free!) runner. Easy to craft — and a perfect project for kids to help with — this runner adds to the table's outdoorsy feel and can be rolled up and stored away for use year after year.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup With Fried Sage Leaves

No fall meal is complete without a piping-hot bowl of soup. A spiced-up version of the Thanksgiving favorite, this curried butternut squash soup is a warm and creamy addition to your meal. Serve in a large footed tureen and let guests serve themselves. Get the recipe

Go For a Layered Look

Create a gorgeous place setting using pieces that are rustic and autumnal yet still have a modern edge. Wooden chargers are the perfect anchor for a sleek white dinner plate and bowl while vintage gold flatware adds glitz and natural linen napkins work anytime of the year. Keep in mind that the dinner plate and bowl needn't be from the same set — mixing and matching color and texture adds to the table's organic feel.

Golden Raisin and Cranberry Chutney

Friends don't let friends serve cranberry sauce from a can! For a homemade take on Thanksgiving's signature condiment, serve this not-too-sweet version. Get the recipe

Craft Your Own Centerpiece

No Thanksgiving table is complete without a centerpiece. Create an arrangement that features fall's richest colors and textures that incorporates fresh greenery from your own backyard. Rather than an over-the-top floral arrangement in a tall vase, keep the arrangement low so guests can see each other and chat across the table.

Southwestern-Style Poblano Cornbread Stuffing

Take everyone's favorite side dish up a notch by preparing this flavorful twist on your standard stuffing. Poblano peppers and cornbread come together to create a Thanksgiving dish that will keep guests coming back for seconds — and even thirds! Get the recipe

Easy-to-Craft Pomegranate Place Cards

Keep your dinner drama-free and avoid a game of musical chairs by setting out place cards for your guests. For a look that's both seasonal and sleek, make these gilded place-card holders by spraying pomegranates with metallic paint, then inserting a handwritten place card in the crown. Inexpensive and homemade, they're the perfect way to make your place setting feel extra special. Get step-by-step instructions

Individual Maple Sweet Potato Soufflés

Sweet potatoes, maple syrup and toasted pecans combine for an indulgent treat that's sure to please even the pickiest palette. Prepared individually in ramekins, they make for easy serving. Get the recipe

Golden Touches

Set the scene by scattering gilded natural elements down the length of the runner. Collect different leaves, pinecones, berries or whatever else nature is offering, and give each a light coat of gold spray paint for a touch of glitz.

Opt for Streamlined Glassware

For a modern touch, set out fuss-free water glasses and stemless wineglasses. Be sure to keep the wine flowing and have a healthy selection of red and white on hand, and place pitchers of water on the table to make refilling super easy.

Sage Roasted Turkey With a Crunchy Maple Crust

For the star of the Thanksgiving meal, give guests a savory-meets-sweet main course that they won't soon forget. Rather than serving a traditional turkey, mix things up by making this drool-worthy bird. Get the recipe

Carve the Bird Like a Pro

Your first time carving a turkey can be a pressure-packed moment. To properly do the job, you'll need a chef's knife or carving knife, a carving fork and a boning knife. First, separate the legs and wings from the body. Then to carve the breast, find the breastbone and carve down one side, peeling the breast away from the bone as you go. Serve all pieces on a large platter for guests to choose.

Craft Your Own Menu

For the hostess who leaves no stone unturned, enlist the talents of a family member with artistic handwriting or, even better, calligraphy skills to create a gorgeous menu card. Display at each place setting or pass around the table to jump-start guests' appetites and get them excited for the main event.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts With Cranberries and Pine Nuts

Part of what makes the holidays so special is the extra love and effort that goes into the menu. Dishes overflowing with color and flavor are key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner — and this take on Brussels sprouts is sure to get your guests' attention. The healthy veggies are shredded, sautéed, tossed with cranberries and pine nuts, then topped with fresh orange zest for a dish that's bursting with bright flavors. Get the recipe

Break Out the Good China

Thanksgiving is all about tradition, so incorporate a bit of your family's history into the table by using heirloom china. If you like the look but your inventory of vintage pieces is lacking, scour local antique stores and thrift shops to start your own collection.

All in the Family

Because Thanksgiving is about spending quality time with loved ones, serve dishes family-style, allowing guests to interact and share much more than a buffet does. Simply set your large serving dishes out down the length of the table with serving spoons, and let guests pass them throughout the meal.

Share Why You're Thankful

Besides the turkey, Thanksgiving's other favorite tradition is going around the table and sharing what you're most thankful for. Think up an organized or clever way for guests to share (like writing it down), or simply take turns listening to each guest.

Save Room for Dessert

If your appetites will still allow it, set dessert out on the table after dinner with dessert plates and forks so guests can help themselves. Serve alongside coffee and piping-hot cider for the last stretch in your marathon meal.

Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake

This fresh take on the Italian classic encompasses everything we love about Thanksgiving: the rich, sweet flavor of coffee, brandy and chocolate combined with the seasonal flavor of pumpkin. Top with a generous sprinkle of amaretti cookies for crunch before serving. Get the recipe

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