Mr. Smith and I have spent Thanksgiving alone before. The first year we moved east, it was also a table for two. But that year I knew we were getting up on Friday and heading into New York City for a couple of nights, complete with a trip to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. But that was then and this is now. With my Thanksgiving boxes in the mail making their way to my grandkids, I knew it was time to turn my attention to the home front. I decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I would put my energy into creating a fun, festive celebration for Mr. Smith and me.
While Mr. Smith’s focus is on the menu, mine is always on setting the table and creating a gracious atmosphere. I scoured the Internet including spending way too much time on Pinterest in search of inspiration for my tablescape. There are sooooo many lovely, inspirational table settings to peruse. Unfortunately, they often make me want to start ordering up new items to recreate the settings. I almost broke down and ordered some special “turkey” dinner plates that I would have had to store the other 364 days of the year. Luckily reason prevailed. While in my dream life I have a dish room/butler’s pantry to store all types of wonderful bits and bobs, that is not my reality. I have a small, highly curated collection of fall decor and I’m always pleased with myself when I create with what I have on hand. There is also the added bonus of being able to savor the memories associated with each holiday trim when it comes out to make its annual appearance.
I wish I had noted the year on this little handcrafted turkey. It was given to me by niece Rachel many years ago when she came for a holiday visit. Every time I unpack it, it is a warm reminder of the many Thanksgivings our families celebrated together. I can see her sporting a black olive on the tip of every cute little finger. I can see her – and her sister Hannah – squirting whipped cream into their mouths straight from the can. Rachel and Hannah are similar ages to my sons and we shared many a holiday.
Earlier this fall I had purchased the Fleur des Indes tablecloth from Couleur Nature. We have a small dining table by American standards so it’s always fun to discover a company that carries a variety of sizes. Covered in curling vines and floral designs in harvest tones make this cloth the perfect backdrop for our holiday table.
I’m using our Guy Buffet dishes I found over a decade ago on the clearance table at Williams Sonoma. I found the gold pear napkin holders while shopping in a consignment store with my sister. I added a ceramic turkey, faux leaves, faux pumpkins and pomegranates, and candles. When some of the pomegranates wouldn’t sit up quite like I wanted them to, I simply put a little double sided tape under them and voilá! The one good thing about daylight savings time and it getting dark so early is being able to eat by candlelight earlier! I love the incredible warmth created through candlelight and like to blend tapers and tea lights. I have gravitated away from a large formal centerpiece in favor of scattering treasures throughout the center fully down towards the ends. A mix of textures and height always adds interest to your creation.
Buttermilk-Brined Turkey Breast – New York Times Cooking
Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Apples – Allrecipes
Herby Bread and Butter Stuffing for Two – New York Times Cooking
Cranberry Sauce – Natasha’s Kitchen
Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie & Whipped Cream – Libby’s!
We will toast the day with a special bottle of wine Mr. Smith has chosen for our dinner. We will reminisce about Thanksgivings past and make hopeful plans for Thanksgivings future. And just in case my pandemic pal and I run out of things to talk about – we do spend a lot of time together – I printed up some conversation questions I found on www.skiptomylou.org. I hope Mr. Smith gets ‘If you were a circus performer, what act would you perform?’
Our Thanksgiving will be different this year, but we will be ok. We will miss our family tremendously, but are happy to do our part to help keep them safe. I will start the day like I have almost every Thanksgiving day for the past 42 years. I will put a pumpkin pie in the oven. Mr. Smith will make us a lovely brunch. Hopefully we will go for a walk. We will definitely do some reading. I haven’t watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in years but I may tune into this virtual event in hopes of catching the Rockettes’ performance. And I will be thankful. Check out the blog on Wednesday for the top ten list of what I am most thankful for right now.
C’est la vie.