Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, dating to 1621 when Plymouth colonists held a harvest festival with Wampanoag Native Americans. For over two centuries, Thanksgiving was celebrated by individual colonies and states. However, in 1863, while the Civil War was still occurring, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a national event to be held each November. It documented that wildfowl, venison, and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving meal. But some historians believe that lobster or other shellfish and sea creatures might have been smoked and served, too. For modern-day Thanksgiving across America, a turkey with all the trimmings is typically the menu’s highlight. However, why not enhance the meal by creating an attractive Pilgrim-inspired table-scape to welcome guests and promote the autumnal ambiance that the brave settlers and Native Americans experienced together.
1) Think nature – Nothing says gratitude for the season more than nature. A burlap runner covered in pinecones, moss, florals, sticks, or winding vines helps bring the feeling of the outdoors inside. This inexpensive look can warm up your table and make it look like something straight out of the first Thanksgiving! You can also create a homemade vase for floral arrangements by hot-gluing burlap strips to several empty wine or beer bottles. Then, embellish with natural twine to finish the look.
2) Think fall-inspired colors – An autumnal colored tablecloth, or placemats, can add instant color to your table-scape. Think gold, copper, bronze, or brass, but avoid orange that can make the table look too Halloween-like. These rich fall metallic shades can elevate your table from boring to elegant. To make your table look like it belongs on a magazine cover, be sure to place candles or other metallic accents such as mini birdhouses of varying heights across the table. Are you seeking a more budget-friendly idea? Spray paint rocks and twigs in assorted metallic colors and tie decorative ribbons around them.
3) Think bold and fun – The first Thanksgiving includes feasting and all-around good cheer. To bring this theme to your table, ditch the cheap and boring paper plates. While they may save you time later in the kitchen, a truly beautiful table incorporates decorative and bold patterned dinnerware for fun. Since the plates don’t have to match, add good cheer by mixing and matching. Not enough plates? Simply pick up odds and ends at a local thrift shop. Also, don’t be afraid to mix and match drinkware, silverware, napkin rings, and more. Just have fun!
From nature and fall-inspired colors to bold and fun, these three themes are all inspired by the first Thanksgiving. As you gather around the table, it is important to be grateful to God and for others near and far. We must also be thankful for the Pilgrims who sought opportunity and freedom and for the Native Americans who taught the Pilgrims many skills, such as how to plant corn, which ultimately enabled the latter to thrive. As we reflect on Thanksgiving, we must acknowledge that there was a dark side to the relationship between the two groups. But, on this special day, they enjoyed a great feast, complete with entertainment and rejoicing.
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