By now, the menu for Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner is probably set, but the next agenda item for all the divas of domesticity out there is decorating the table.
Rebecca Kolls, lifestyle contributor for "Good Morning America," has some tips to make your feast look even more festive, whether you are operating on a shoestring budget or can afford some extravagant touches.
Grab $25 and head to a gourmet grocery store (Kolls visited Dean & Deluca in New York City) to get the goodies for an affordable table, which is an example of edible art. Kolls setting included a cabbage cornucopia as a centerpiece. It also shows off cornbread shaped like little baskets to hold a name card for each person (just 33 cents each), cloth napkins decoratively wrapped with green onions to hold the silverware, and chairs decorated with hanging root vegetables. Add a tablecloth runner for next to nothing by selecting some fabric from your local craft store. Fold it neatly and you'll add a touch of color and class to the table. The centerpiece can be a big bowl of squash and other vegetables too. The next day, take all of the food that you used as decoration and make a soup!
Comfortable Table: For a Thanksgiving table setting with a "comfortable" budget, Kolls headed to Crate and Barrel with $250. She bought chargers (which go underneath plates to keep food from splattering) and runners (which come in fabrics such as silk and velvet) to go on top of white tablecloth. For the runners, Kolls suggests picking festive colors like red and green that can be reused at Christmas time.
For the festive table, Kolls grabbed some festive garland from ABC Carpet & Home in New York City.
Also, take a look through the tables Kolls put together for last year's Thanksgiving.
Elegant, Red, White, Blue and Gold Table (for 6):
6 white buffet plates
6 see-through salad plates
white "Madeira" tablecloth
6 white "Madeira" napkins
6 place settings, gold/brass flatware
6 "Encore Gold" water goblets
6 "Encore Gold" wine goblets
12 plain white candlesticks
6 garnet/ruby bud vases
long-stemmed roses for each place setting
ribbon, red and blue
gold star Christmas ornaments
1. Use a very simple white tablecloth and napkins, and everyday white dishes rather than fine china. If you don't have white dishes, you can find them at very inexpensive prices at Target or Pier One, Kolls suggests.
2. Use inexpensive goblets and glasses. The ones on the show have a gold ring, but plain ones will look great, too.
3. Along the long sides of the table, dress up the tablecloth with a red ribbon dotted with gold stars. Along the ends of the table, use a cobalt blue ribbon.
4. Place very inexpensive bud vases, $1.50 each, with roses at each place. Kolls also used a candelabra she already had and hung it with gold stars, which are available in stores as Christmas ornaments.
5. On the bottom of the see-through salad plates, paint patriotic messages such as "God Bless America," or "United We Stand." Guests can take them home and either use them as a keepsake, or wash the paint off.
Blue Table (for 4):
Silver-star confetti adds a magical holiday touch.
4 silver leaf chargers (decorative plates that fit under dinner plate)
4 place settings flatware
4 very plain wine goblets
4 very plain water goblets
4 plain Cranberry red napkins
1. The sapphire-blue tablecloth was made of crushed velvet and was purchased at a discount fabric store. It was strewn with silver star confetti and inexpensive silver candlesticks.
2. The cobalt blue glass dinner plates cost just $3 each at Target, and the silver leaf chargers (decorative plates that fit under the dinner plate) can also be purchased very inexpensively.
3. Cranberry-colored cloth napkins are tied with a blue ribbon and a silver star, another Christmas ornament. The star ornament is the take-home gift for your guests.
*Pictured at the top of this page : Creates a nurturing, healing feeling at the table.
4 "Baroque" buffet plates
rectangular "Baroque" platter
4 place settings flatware to compliment plates (preferably gold or brass)
4 "Elite" wine goblets
4 "Elite" water goblets
olive green tablecloth
rolled scrolls with sayings on each
1. Start with an olive green fabric tablecloth, which can be purchased at a discount fabric store.
2. Next come the plates, which have a distressed, crackled appearance, and can be found at Crate & Barrel stores.
3. Place rolled "scrolls", with messages and fresh herbs inside, tied with a ribbon, at each place setting. (This dates back to Victorian days when messages were sent through flowers and herbs in a tradition called "Tussy Mussy." ) Each scroll has a different message. For example, rosemary symbolizes remembrance, and it is wrapped in a scroll that reads "I remember." The guest at that place would share something they remember from the past year. Another guest has sage, which stands for loyalty, and might prompt the guest to share a patriotic thought. You can also use thyme, bay leaf, cedar and fennel, creating your own symbols to go with each.
4. The centerpiece is a piece of pumpkin-colored vellum (a plastic sheet), on which Kolls wrote the words of the Pledge of Allegiance and the Constitution. She wrapped it around a hurricane lamp, allowing the message to flutter in candlelight.
Display Table (for 6): A decorating table where you can place gifts for guests. Here are some of the items you can include:
3 blooming red or white amaryllis plants in pots
5 silver candlesticks
2 dozen long-stemmed white roses
2 dozen long-stemmed red roses
Small Gift Ideas for Guests:
The plant amaryllis, now in bloom, is used to symbolize pride. It comes in white or red, and if you put it in a pretty pot, it makes a lovely gift.
Or you can give your guests a CD of patriotic songs, wrapped simply in a ribbon.
Another great candle idea: punch star-shaped holes in a tin can, and with a small candle, you have a lovely lamp for your guests.
Or string cranberries on wire shaped as a star. Your guest can take it home and enjoy it for Christmas.