This was one of the most fun things we did last year for our Thanksgiving meal but it took a bit of planning so that we had all the pieces ready when it was time to for the big day. Watch closely . . . it’s as if our table is set before your eyes . . . magical!

If you’re interested in using some of these ideas, here’s some of what you’ll need and sourcing:

  1. Orange Tulips: most florists won’t have orange tulips this time of year so if you’re going to use them, you’ll need to order out about one week or more; if you’re really organized, you could also pot bulbs and force them or you could choose seasonal orange foliage like bittersweet.
  2. Candles: I burn candles year-round and most come in glass containers; when the scented candle is gone, I wash and store the container so I have several to use in masses on large table settings like this one – I think we had about 30 votives lit and it was breathtaking – there were lots of ‘ooohs and ahhhs’!  I mix sizes and textures but keep the candles limited to votives because I want to be able to see those sitting across from me and I want to lessen the chance of someone getting burned reaching across the top of a taller candle.  One last tip:  unscented candles only on your food table as scented candles interfere with the taste of your food!
  3. Cookies:  If using a bakery, you’ll need to place your orders early and probably freeze; I discovered that bakeries in my area, don’t sell pumpkin cookies after about the 10th of November. Some stop making them even earlier so plan accordingly.  Obviously, if you’re a baker, you’ll have no problem!!
  4. Salted Chocolate Caramels: Crate & Barrel for about $20 or pick up/make whatever chocolate you like
  5. Votive holders:  My own collection and then I filled in with holders from Crate & Barrel for about $1/each; bags of 50 votives are less than $5
  6. Ficus Tree: The Professor has had that tree for about 20 years and we always put it out on our deck during the summer months where it loves the heat and humidity, so it has grown quite large (it’s taller than me . . . which ain’t saying much!).  We have to winter it indoors so I thought it would be nice to add clear miniature Christmas tree lights – stunning!  Look around your house and see what might work – even a Christmas tree with just clear lights and no decorations is beautiful and helps set the tone for your space!

We planned dinner so that food was passed and then set off on a side buffet, leaving the table open giving a sense of spaciousness without feeling crowded by overflowing dishes – a great decision and one of the nicest Thanksgiving dinners we’ve ever hosted!  We loved it so much that we have a different color scheme and theme planned this year!

Stay tuned, next up – the perfect playlist for your holiday gathering!


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  5. Debra, this was SO BEAUTIFUL! Orange is one of my favorite colors to decorate with. In fact, it’s probably the reason why I love autumn so much. Our Thanksgiving table this year included orange tulips, courtesy of Whole Foods. We lucked out because they were in perfect bloom on Thursday.

    Also, I really like that you used different (yet complementing) napkins at the table. Since there’s just the two of us, we buy everything in pairs. We buy four of any one thing only if we REALLY like them. When we entertain, we find different “pairs” to set out, so not any two place setting are identical. (We also mix and match water glasses and napkin rings.) It sounds messy, but we like it that way.

    Hope you and The Professor had a lovely Thanksgiving!


  6. I was one of the fortunate ones who shared in this holiday feast. What a glorious surprise when we walked in the door. It took your breath away! It was only surpassed by the beautiful faces around the table, and all the love in the room. We are so blessed to be able to pass down traditions to such a loving family.

  7. I really need to give some more thought of how I’ll decorate my Thanksgiving table. Fun ideas!

  8. Oh my! What a beautiful Thanksgiving table!!

  9. Very pretty!! I notice the family ‘heirloom’ turkeys are included on the table. Nice touch — love it!

  10. What a gorgeous table! And decorating with salted chocolate caramels…I’m thinking that I’m just going to use those as my Christmas decorations this year. Good thing I’ve got a good recipe for them 😉

  11. Debra, this was a beautiful way to begin my day. How lovely and calming. Thank you so much for sharing and for the inspiration. Blessed Thanksgiving wishes to you again this year.

  12. It’s beautiful Debra! It was 5 years ago that we spent our first Thanksgiving with your family and it was precious! Jacob and Chloe just mentioned the other day that they want to come and visit your cats:) Let’s plan something this season!

  13. WOW!! That was beautiful!! I love your tablesetting – what a beautiful backdrop for the food!! Agree with everyone else regarding your voice – may just have to listen to this again… so relaxing!!!

  14. Beautiful colours, it really came together beautifully Deb, great ideas.

  15. What a stunning feast. Your voice was so calming…I could listen to you each and every night! Every thing you do is brimming with careful thought and creativity. I love the colors that you brought into this setting. Just beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday night!

  16. Wow, Deb….so lovely and elegant. Giving me great ideas for my own table. Thank you.

  17. A gorgeous post, Deb! Oh my goodness… such simplicity and elegance. Can I come over to your place for dinner? I bet it will be wonderful!

  18. Elegant. Beautiful. Soothing AND exciting. You mentioned Ina. She is my favorite Food Network personality. Your style…the look and “feel” of your website, food, etc., makes me think of her style. It has since the first time I visited your blog. Ina is aces in my book, but you just scored higher because I know you and I know your heart. Can I come over and touch you and The Professor and see if some of your amazing talent will rub off on me?

  19. Absolutely stunning table and I have to say you have such a beautiful voice. Folding tables are my saviour. When I have the family for a sit down dinner there is at least 50 of us between my Mom, brother and sisters, nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. We always have a sit down and usually it is spread between 2 or 3 rooms, it’s crazy and busy but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Your video proves that you don’t have to have a full setting of the same glasses or napkins etc and you can still make it look so beautiful for a reasonable cost and most importantly your family can be altogether and enjoy each other’s company over a delicious meal.

  20. Perfectly lovely, Debra. And the music with the video was perfect!
    I always enjoy seeing what Ina does with her flowers and table…usually so simple and stunning. You did a marvelous job. I bet everyone loved it!

  21. love the video, you have such a great voice too, I hate how I sound on video. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. Enchanting. Magical. Warm. Inviting….just like you 😉
    As always, a job well done!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and The Professor!

  23. This is really lovely, Debra. The table is so pretty (gotta love Ina!). Your voice is excellent for doing these sorts of videos (Mr. B says so, too!). Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

  24. I love the minimalist style of your table. Wow. Gorgeous. Great editing on the video.

  25. Just beautiful Debra; I love the detail and attention you put into your table decor. I also love setting the table for holidays so REALLY enjoyed you sharing this process with us. Though not a big fan of the color orange, when used in conjunction with real oranges and those lovely tulips, it just looks perfect!

  26. So beautiful and creative! I love your videos!

  27. Beautiful! I love the simplistic but elegant style.

    You’ve got me thinking about what I can do to jazz up the Thanksgiving table, even though it’s not at my home.

  28. Absolutely breathtaking. The little details made such a huge impact. I loved watching the video too, you guys. Stunning!

  29. gorgeous, just gorgeous! It’s elegant, yet simple and stylish. Thanks for the great video.

  30. This is magical. SO beautiful. Love that you left out the crazy-gluing of the clementines. That’s what I would have done, you know.

  31. Salted Chocolate Caramels? Can I come to dinner?!

  32. What a beautiful table-scape! I love the squares plates of oranges and the tulips. So festive!!! I’d love to see this years table too! Happy Almost Thanksgiving! 🙂

  33. Stunning Debra. Simple, elegant and beautiful! I so very much enjoyed watching your video and hearing your lovely voice! Bravo to you and the professor!

  34. How beautiful and creative!! Great ideas!

  35. Well done. you provide a sense of calm and ease that’s usually not associated with the preparation for Thanksgiving dinner.

  36. AND the cookies stop pre-meal hangrrr! A big problem for me at big gatherings like weddings and Xmas ;P

  37. I love how much thought you put into this. Our Thanksgivings can be so disjointed because of number of people and space. I can’t wait to see what you do this year!

  38. It looks absolutely fabulous! I also love how simple, elegant but inviting the table looks. What a wonderful table to share with loved ones!! I grew up learning settings & table decorations (via an amazing florist my Dad delivered for), it’s amazing how space can transform us. A beautiful space really does help set the mood.

  39. This is beautiful and instructive. When we have large family dinners, we usually put our pool table into play, sometimes even butting the dining room table up against it. You did a spectacular job, and I can’t wait to see what you came up with, this year!

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  41. Oh Debra, what a lovely video! I could see so much love and care taken to set the table for your Thanksgiving dinner. It was a perfect setting – warm and inviting. Could I be adopted into your family? Maybe I could be a long lost sister or cousin or something? I would bring some yummy vegan desserts? Oh, just kidding. I guess my family wouldn’t be so happy if I didn’t show up. They’d miss jesting with the vegans. Thanks for letting us into your home for just a little while. It was a wonderful start to my day!

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