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An Easy, Last-Minute Thanksgiving Table That Will Wow Your Guests

If you prefer to spend more time perfecting your piecrust than setting the table for Thanksgiving, look no further! Our friend, lifestyle enthusiast and small-business owner Theodore Leaf, has all the tips you need to create a stunning table in five minutes flat.

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Theodore Leaf at his holiday table.

Thanksgiving is a grand foodie holiday full of fresh ingredients and classic dishes. We all focus so closely on brining and baking, it can be easy to forget about setting a fabulous table. Whether you serve a buffet or dish it up family style, a beautiful table sets the scene for a special holiday that your guests will remember for years to come. Here are a few ways to achieve a festive, welcoming table on the fly.

 

Tip #1: Use real plates, always!

First off, disposable is a no-go. You don’t want Aunt Eileen's cranberry sauce to soak through a sad paper plate for the sake of easy cleanup. My mom always said, “Why buy a dishwasher when I already have three kids?” In that spirit, use the real stuff and give the kids the job of cleaning up!

 

I've had the same white dishes since college, and they always have a place at my holiday tables. The great thing about white is its versatility -- and you can find catering quantities anywhere if you need more.

 

Tip #2: Add a dose of color

I paired my everyday white plates with a navy cloth napkin and a small grocery store pumpkin to make this table setting really pop.

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Tip #3: Get by with a little help from your friends

Borrow pieces from your friends and neighbors. Chances are if your friends entertain at home, they might have just the thing you're looking for, saving you another trip to the store.


I borrowed a beautiful silver pitcher and salt and pepper wells from my neighbor Allison to finish off my table. Retuning things quickly and in better condition will guarantee you access for life!

 

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Tip #4: Multitask

A great time-saver is getting flowers or plants from the grocery store as you pick up ingredients for the big meal. I opted for plants this year and popped them into a long copper tub that is usually for beverages and ice. Make sure your flowers aren't too high for you to see over.

 

Tip #5: Use what you have

If you don't have time for flowers, just cluster a selection of unscented candles. Everything from tapers to tea lights can be an instant centerpiece -- no flowers needed!

 

Which one of these tips will you try this year? What are your last-minute table ideas? See this table setting come to life in my video!

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About the Author

Theodore Leaf

Theodore Leaf’s passion for special occasions began when he was 7 years old, helping women select their wedding dresses at his family-owned bridal salon in Hartville, Ohio. Working alongside his grandmother, mother, and two aunts, he became addicted to the art of transformation. Turning everyday girls into the bride of their childhood dreams had Theodore hooked on the journey from ...

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