Whether your Thanksgiving celebration will be steeped in family tradition or you’re planning a fun Friendsgiving gathering, it’s time to set the scene for the people who will be sharing this day with you.

Layer for Impact

Add some interest to the table by weaving textures and patterns into the table settings, such as cloth napkins in rich fall hues wrapped in twine. It’s easy to bring the outdoors in with natural elements that add pops of seasonal color to a table runner or centerpiece. Layered yes, but less is still more.

Your home will already be filled with aromas from the kitchen, but you may want to round out the sensory experience with an artfully placed candle or two. Perhaps with an autumn aroma of oakmoss and birch?

Create a Cool Kids Table

Setting up a dedicated table for the children? Place butcher paper over the table and add crayons so they can let their imaginations run wild. Bonus: Easier cleanup. But also, this can be fun for the cool grownups in your crowd, too.

Post-meal, invite children and children-at-heart to decorate pint-sized pumpkins with markers or paint. Games can serve as a welcome amusement, too. You might fill clear plastic glasses or jars with candy corn or small stones, and ask the children to guess the total. Be sure to have some fun prizes on hand for the winners!

Take it Outside

Weather permitting, expand your entertaining space to include outdoor options. For example, serve cocktails and mocktails on the patio while the turkey finishes roasting. Cap off a bountiful and delicious meal with coffee and pumpkin pie outdoors. You can even take the whole party outside and set a long, grand table for everyone to gather around. Add twinkle lights, candles, music and maybe a little of your favorite wine, and you’ve got memories in the making for everyone.

A Twist on Thankfulness

Some people love to go around the table and say what they’re thankful for. Others cringe at the mere suggestion! What about setting a tone of gratitude when people arrive, by greeting each guest with a simple card and handwritten note that says why you are thankful that they are part of the celebration today?

Chalk Talks

Do it for the ‘gram. Create a sense of arrival in your entryway with a chalkboard greeting and the Thanksgiving menu highlights. If you’re taking the buffet approach, purchase small chalkboards or paint small- to medium-sized pumpkins with black chalkboard paint, and use chalk to label the menu items at the kitchen island. Tip: It only takes a moment to set up a chalkboard easel in the backyard and point the children in that direction, and it’s totally worth it.

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