Do You Enjoy Decorating the Holiday Dinner Table?

The holiday table: For some of us, it's just there to hold the food and the wineglasses; throw a tablecloth on and call it a day. Others of us look forward to decking the table out with food and pretty decorations! Where do you fall? How are you setting your Thanksgiving table, and do you enjoy it? Or does it stress you out?

Personally, I love the table setting as I much as I love the cooking. It is such a delightful opportunity to do something special and out of the ordinary. My husband knows the signs: I get a little gleeful as the holidays approach. It's a chance to pull out the pretty tablecloths, brainstorm new ideas for place cards, and think up silly little amuse bouches. I start feeling dissatisfied with my flower vase options and stalk local thrift shops for vintage jars and stoneware.

Of course, I wouldn't do all this if I didn't enjoy it — and I believe that enjoyment is the key here. I don't put out placecards and favors to demonstrate a false superiority over my guests, or to keep up with some vague blog and Pinterest-fueled pressure to create a picture-perfect table.

No, I enjoy the drama of guests walking into a dining room that has been transformed out of the ordinary into something special, whether that is simply through the magic of lit candles, or something more spectacular (remember this winter wonderland dinner party?). For me, it communicates love and affection, and an eagerness to enjoy a special occasion with friends and family in a memorable way.

If you don't enjoy gathering flowers for your table, or finding a new runner, or picking out colored napkins, no worries! You're probably putting all that energy straight back into the food and the conversation. And the point here is to be hospitable, not to impress people.

But if you do really enjoy the table setting as well as the cooking, what are you doing this year? Got anything special planned for your Thanksgiving table? Are you looking for any fresh ideas on Thanksgiving tables?

Pictured above:
For the Cook's Thanksgiving Table: Flowering Kale
Smoked Turkey & Dinner for 12: Our Thanksgiving Report

(Images: Faith Durand)