Your Thanksgiving Essentials Checklist


If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year you have likely (hopefully!) started mapping out your meal, making your grocery list and devising a game plan for getting it all cooked. But don’t forget about your tabletop. Not enough forks to go around? Awkward. Here’s a checklist of essentials for your table to look over. See if you’re prepared and, if not, I’ve suggested some of my favorites below.

Tablecloth: My mom had a tablecloth for every occasion — that’s her thing, but if you’re not a frequent host(ess) or don’t have the room to store, say, Arbor day-themed tablecloths, have one that feels special but is versatile enough for all seasons and occasions like this subtly striped gold one.

Napkins: Unless you’re a napkin collector, choose a neutral solid or something metallic for the most versatility throughout the year. Polyester resists stains, but cotton or linen are so much nicer to the touch so go for those and make sure your laundry game is strong.

Plates: If you have “fine china”, now is the time to pull it out and let it see the light of day. If you don’t, a basic white is always elegant. I’m a fan of Crate & Barrel’s basics in this category. Feeding a crowd? IKEA’s most basic white plate is only .99 cents.

Drinking glasses: Do you have enough drinking glasses to go around? IKEA and Crate & Barrel are my favorites in this category, too. The etching on the SPILLTID above elevates it a bit and the size make it perfect for water or a cocktail.

Stemless Wine Glasses (set of 12) at Target, $19.99 (don’t need 12 — buy singles for $2/each)

Wine glasses: I’ll concede that stemmed wine glasses are more elegant, but I’m a big fan of stemless ones which are less prone to accident and easier to hold when you’re away from the table. You do you.

Cutlery: It’s not always practical to keep a large set of flatware in your kitchen but if you entertain at all you should have at least enough to feed 8 or 12. I keep half of mine stored away and half in the drawer which is a good strategy if you live in a small home. Despite endless teasing from my husband, I like light-weight silverware like this “thoughtfully sized” set above. There are other great, affordable options at IKEA and Crate & Barrel worth checking out.

Serving tray: Everyone should have at least one, good-sized platter for these special occasion meals and I recommend a neutral like copper. It will never go out of style and will look fantastic with whatever linens you choose.

Gravy Boat: You’re likely to only buy one gravy boat in your lifetime — make it simple, classic and white. I recommend one with a saucer to cut down on drips on the tablecloth.

Candles: Nothing says “festive” and “special” as quickly and simply as candlelight. Bring some sparkle to the table without worry of knocking over a tapered candlestick with low votives.

Mugs: Dessert is like the Thanksgiving after-party. You’ve had wine, you’ve stuffed yourself and conversation has gotten more loose. Don’t feel like you have to have matching mugs for everyone in your group to enjoy coffee or tea — use what you have. If you’re looking to build up your collection, I love the stoneware Edge mug above which is available in 5 colors.

Games: My best memories of holidays past involve marathon, post-meal Trivial Pursuit matches. Whatever game your friends and family like, I encourage you to make it a Thanksgiving tradition.

Check, check, check? Great, good luck getting your meal and table together — enjoy!

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