Joan's Thanksgiving Table Decor

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Joan Lunden

Style & Decor /

We have a very big extended family so on holidays our home is always filled with 30-40 people for the festivities! And since I come from a really small family, I love being surrounded by the people I care about and by having everyone over at my house it allows me to have fun with a creative passion of mine, holiday decorating. It’s probably the one thing that most people don’t know about me.  I love decorating my home and I really love designing tables for parties. 

Here are a few tips that I've learned over the years from hosting many events in my home.

Have a stocked pantry

As a busy working mom, I’ve found that the secret to enjoying the task of home decorating is to have a well-stocked pantry – no more running out to the stores before every occasion!  I take advantage of the quiet moments in my life when I can peruse stores stress free and that’s when I pick up items during end-of-season sales.  My collection of decorations is so extensive that, I swear, you could name a holiday and I could go to my pantry and instantly design a table with a color theme, centerpieces, and some fun added accessories. 

Choose a color pallet

This thanksgiving I was tired of the traditional orange, gold and rust colors so I decided to change things up.  To start my Thanksgiving table plans, I first had to come up with a color palette; I chose a deep dark moss green with gold accents.  Seating almost 40 guests means that I use my dining room table - a rectangle that can seat 10, three 54” rounds (each one can seat 6 guests) and I have one very long table that seats 12–14 children.  I always like the kid’s table to be fun!   

With this kind of seating combination, it can be tough to tie it all together but having the color pallet makes it possible.

Give each place setting a unique layered look

My tablecloths this year are three different variations of dark moss green.  I will use white china trimmed in gold on gold chargers on some tables and glass plates trimmed in gold on sparkly rust glass chargers on others.  

Don’t worry if you don’t have enough of one pattern, there are plenty of ways to mix and match what you already have; you just need to tie it all together with that color pallet.  The chargers, plates, napkins and unique napkin rings will provide a uniquely layered vision at each place setting.

Decorative flair

With elegant yet simple décor in mind, I went to a couple of my favorite stores, Pier 1 Imports and Home Goods for interesting and cost effective accessories and then picked up a couple bundles of tree branches at Michaels Crafts along with a can of gold spray paint.  This can be a fun after school project, with parental supervision, to let your children be a part of the holiday preparation.  They can spray paint each bundle of branches sparkly gold.

Getting our kids involved in decorating is always fun!  In fact, if you are looking to keep costs low, you can go for a walk and collect pinecones and tree branches in a variety of different shapes and sizes. My kids love to do this. Just make sure to check and clean your branches for insects if you are using them in an arrangement on your dinner table!

Setting the mood

To ensure good dinner conversation, I always make sure that my centerpieces are low.  I like my table to sparkle, so I might add gold pinecones or even a little shiny confetti (at clean up time, I save the confetti in small plastic bags for use at another occasion), bringing a little sparkle to my dark moss green tables.

The finishing touch to my Thanksgiving table is a chocolate turkey placed at every person’s place setting.  What’s Thanksgiving without a chocolate turkey, right?

Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your home this year? If so, get creative and let me know what your Thanksgiving table looks like. Either share in the comment section below or Tweet @JoanLunden. I would love to see and share some photos!




About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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