Are you looking to spruce up your Thanksgiving table this year? Creating place settings really gives that finishing touch! Here are 30 farmhouse Thanksgiving place setting ideas + tips!
A Place for Everyone at Thanksgiving
When I was growing up, we really didn’t do formal Thanksgivings. By that I mean, we didn’t sit around a table that was decorated and had a place for everyone. First, we usually had too many people – we were always inviting stragglers (which I love), so there’s no way we would have all fit around the table.
Second, we were usually the casual kind – a big, Italian family, a little bit crazy and a lot a bit loud. So, we didn’t really have those Martha Stewart holidays at our house.
However, my first Thanksgiving with my husband’s family – it was small and intimate, and we all sat around the table together. And while I loved my Thanksgivings growing up, this appealed to me so much, too. One isn’t better than the other, for sure. But there is something special about going to a table, knowing a space has been especially prepared for you.
Items to Include in a Place Setting
This post is going to focus on the place settings, not the tablescapes or centerpieces. My guess is that you may have already taken care of that with your fall decor. In my own opinion, I think tablescape ideas deserve their own post. Not only that, I’m betting there’s a good chance that beautiful tablescapes will need to be swept away to make room for the food.
There’s a lot of room to express your style and be creative when arranging a place setting. There are a few things you want to have in place to really nail this, and you can use your own taste in doing so.
1| Place Setting Anchor or Placemat
You want something to anchor your plate.
2| Plates and Glasses
This can be fancy or informal as you like. If you can color coordinate the plates with the rest of your decor, that definitely is a bonus!
3| Napkins and utensils
Usually, this will include some kind of napkin ring as well.
That can be a name card, a little favor, a ‘What I’m Thankful for’ sheet, a game or activity, a menu, a snack, a piece of fruit or just another printable. You can add some natural decor like pumpkins and pine cones.
Those are the essentials, so let’s talk about how we can doctor them up.
Pro-Tips and Trends for Place Settings
Below, you’ll definitely see some trends in arranging place settings. These are certain looks or elements that are popular these days, and it also includes some creative ways to put them together.
Plate Setting Anchors
Try to think beyond your typical fabric placemats for something to anchor the place setting (although they are perfect to use also!). You can use butcher paper with pens for writing or decorating, dish towels, tea towels, wood slices… lots of room to be creative here!
You’ll see a lot of napkins tied up with some floral piece in it. You can buy or use traditional napkins rings and attach a little trinket to it. Or, you can even just tie the napkins up with twine, jute string, rafia, ribbon, burlap – many possibilities – with or without utensils tucked in.
For the floral piece, some popular choices this season are greens – think rosemary sprigs, pine, juniper stems – dried flowers, faux berries, cinnamon sticks, wheat stalks, cotton stems, and even twigs. Thanksgiving is perfect for natural decor.
Name Tag Displays
If you’re going with name tags, there are some creative ways to display them. Of course, you can attach them to the napkin ring holder, and that works beautifully. You can also ‘hang’ them on a small piece of decor like a pumpkin or an apple or pear or another piece of self-standing fruit with a stem. Clothespins and pine cones are also fun ways to display name cards as well.
Thanksgiving Place Settings For Kids
Depending on your space, kids may or may not be at your table. Some people feel strongly about including kids at the table, others are more flexible. If you keep them at the table, consider having a more ‘fun’ place setting for kids – a placemat they can draw on, a word search, or little paper sack of Thanksgiving M&Ms to keep them busy, especially in between courses.
If you opt for the ‘kids table,’ make it a fun space for them! You can use the same place settings as the main table but modify it (as in paper and plastic dishes), so they feel special, too. You can cover the table in butcher paper and leave pencils or markers out for them to draw. You can also have some Thanksgiving Activities like a turkey craft or word searches. Here are some great options for last-minute kid activities you can print for free as well as some printable Thanksgiving Placemats for Kids
30 Rustic Farmhouse Thanksgiving Place Settings for the Perfect Holiday Touch
Thanksgiving can definitely require a lot of work, but these are family memories in the making. You can’t put a price on that! But it does take some preparation. Here are a few things that I found helpful:
I know, I know. So obvious, but I’m a last-minute-Lucy sometimes, and it multiplies my stress exponentially. If you plan little by little, something here, something there in a few minutes, it’s a lot less stressful! As soon as Halloween is over, that’s a good time to start planning.
I’m a hot mess in the kitchen, usually when it comes to timing the food. Thanksgiving is even worse – I’m hot, sweaty, and frantic – so I decided to plan a little better for this by making a Thanksgiving Menu Planning Sheet. It’s just a place to mark down all the food, the time in and out of the oven, so you can be a little more organizing serving your feast! If you need a little help in that area, too, you can grab it for free to help ease some of the stress.
Last year, I assigned the turkey to my husband, asked my mother-in-law to bring an appetizer, side, and dessert (you can spread that out over other family members – we had a small gathering!), and that definitely lowered the stress! Get your kids involved – in making desserts, coming up with craft ideas, even putting together the place settings and name cards. We like to do it all ourselves, but we barely enjoy the day that way. Ask for help!
I hope you’ve been inspired to have the best Thanksgiving ever! I know we focus on the planning, the beautiful place settings, and delicious food, but the most important part of the day is taking a moment to be thankful and realize all the blessings God has given us. And mostly at the top of that list is the people you love and care about at the table sitting around your table.
Thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment!