I feel it is the responsibility of the host of any large meal to set the stage for everyone to have a relaxing and enjoyable time. One of the best ways to go about this is to make sure you set your table in advance and assign a seat for each guest. Take the time to really think about who should sit next to whom. It’s like creating a work of art. If you have the wrong mix or the wrong people sitting by each other, conversation can die and the evening won’t be as great as it could have been.
Place cards don’t have to be boring — they can be made out of anything, really. One of the latest trends is to use photos. I’m not sure I like using photos though — do you really want to sit through a whole meal looking at at a picture of yourself? Stay tuned for my take on using photos at your table in the months to come.
When I was a child, it was my job to make place cards for the holiday tables every year. I would pull out my huge box of crayons, markets and stamps and create new “masterpieces.” If you have children, get them involve — they’ll really enjoy it.
I like giving my place cards as gifts to my guests. There are many options. One year I canned my homemade cranberry sauce in small jars and then wrapped the jars in small burlap squares to match the table setting. I tied everything up with a ribbon and tag with each guest’s name.
My favorite way to make Thanksgiving place cards is to use a Christmas ornament. Since stores have Christmas ornaments for sale so early, it’s easy to find some good, affordable options. Most years, I search out ornaments in the shape of leaves, pinecones, acorns… These ornaments won’t seem overly “Christmassy” on your table, yet thy have a fall flair about them. I attach each ornament to a name tag and just lay them across the folded napkins on the table.
On my Thanksgiving table this year, I’m using these letters from West Elm as my place cards. It’s so simple and they make great gifts. What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving. And, since it’s the start of the holiday season, your guests can leave your home with a full belly from a great meal and head home to start decorating for Christmas that weekend.