Over the past few years, my mother and I have developed a new tradition where we plan the Thanksgiving decor together. In the months leading up to Turkey Day, we shop separately - her in Miami, me in Boston - and text each other pictures of our finds. I box up all my treasures and ship them down in advance, and the night before the feast we unpack everything and begin to stage.
We start by setting up an appetizer station in the living room. My parents have a ton of seating in this space, making it the ideal spot for hugging people as they arrive, settling in to catch up and starting to nosh.
The base of our setup is two round placemats. These are from T.J. Maxx and they sell them in just about every color. My mom loves to put out little bowls of snacks - nuts, grapes, candies, etc.
At the edge, we placed leaf-shaped coasters for drinks.
I also found these small plates. I love the combination of the black and white gingham with the pumpkin patch design.
My mom arranged these flowers. She intentional shopped for blooms with autumnal hues.
The main event is, of course, the dining room table.
My parents have a beautiful table cloth with a leaf detail on the skirt and we couldn't resist using it this year.
We like the center of the table to feel bountiful, so we always arrange as much as we can fit!
This year, we had chocolate turkeys right in front. These were an impulse buy (by my mom) at Marshalls.
Next, we added blown glass pumpkins. These are my absolute favorite! My mom bought these years ago at Pier 1 and we always find a way to incorporate them.
I couldn't find them on the Pier 1 website anymore, but Amazon sells nearly identical ones if you want to snatch some up for next year!
My mom also added two small buds vases of flowers. She snipped every stem to make them exactly the right height for these teeny tiny vessels.
At each place setting we had name cards. The design on this year's cards read, "I am thankful for . . . " and then we filled each guest's name.
We have a family tradition of going around the table to say what we're grateful for each year, so this felt especially appropriate.
Last year, for the first time, we put a popper on each person's plate. They were such a hit, we decided to do it again!
This one looks exactly like my brother-in-law who plays guitar. Uncanny!
The poppers are from Meri Meri and I found them at Greentail Table. When you crack it open, each popper includes a paper crown (a very fun family photo prop!), a joke and a small toy. This year we each got a key chain in the shape of an animal.
I picked out special plates for dessert (also by Meri Meri) in the shape of turkeys! I love the scalloped edges for each and every feather.
This year, we served pumpkin pie and chocolate pecan pie. The pecan pie is not pictured because it was being heated in the oven when I quickly snapped these photos!
I also wanted to add some flair for whoever wound up on dish duty in the kitchen.
At Greentail Table, I picked out these two Swedish dish towels. They are reusable. These make excellent hostess gifts and they're easy to transport in a purse or a suitcase!
The last room we jazzed up was the guest bathroom.
My mom arranged a few flowers in this burnt orange vase, which we put right next to the pumpkin pie Yankee Candle (my sister's favorite).
For every occasion, my mom selects special paper hand towels, and this year's pumpkin design is from Bed Bath & Beyond.
We had such a lovely evening together as a family. My aunt prepared three delicious appetizers. My dad made mushroom soup (which we all had to start) and then he covered our dining room buffet with turkey (16.5 pound bird!), ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, a roasted vegetable medley finished with maple syrup and his famous spicy cranberry relish.
This was a particularly special year because we had four generations around the table - my 91-year-old grandmother and my 3-month-old nephew.
I hope you all had a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!