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Set the Scene for this year's Thanksgiving Feast with these Tips and Tricks!

Thanksgiving is a time when families gather together, putting aside the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives and take the time to enjoy one another and give thanks for the blessings in their lives.  Whether this is the first Thanksgiving you've hosted or your family has been gathering at your home for years, this year, you can have an elegant Thanksgiving feast that doesn't require hours of work. 

If you're expecting family from far and wide this Thanksgiving, spread the word about your holiday meal in an unexpected way by sending out personalized Thanksgiving invitations.  Not only will your guests love the personalized touch, but you won't have to rely on the family grapevine to get the details right!  Plus, if you've recently moved or if you're hosting for the first time, you can include a map to your home so that no one gets lost coming over the river and through the woods.  Even in today's world of GPS and cell phones, having a map is always a good idea if this will be the family's first time coming to your house. 

While Thanksgiving isn't a holiday known for its elaborate decorations, like Christmas or Halloween, you can still make your home look festive for your Thanksgiving feast.  Since the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast is going to be your table, where most of your holiday merriment will take place, you'll want to focus most of your decorating skill on making the table beautiful.  Start by draping the table with a simple white tablecloth.  Then, place your best candlesticks in the center of the table, topped with tapers in silver, bronze, or gold, whichever will match your china best, or add a little whimsy to your Thanksgiving table with pilgrim taper candles instead of traditional tapers.  To finish off your simple yet elegant centerpiece, weave a leaf garland down the center of your  table between your candlesticks and any serving pieces you might be using for your meal. 

If you're using your best china for your place settings, the rest of your table preparations are easy.  Just set out your place settings, paying special attention to the little details and making sure there are no water spots on the wine goblets, the silverware is free of any stains or specs, and everything is lined up just right.  Light the candles just before the guests arrive and you'll have the perfect ambiance for your feast!  However, if you don't have your own china or Grandma hasn't passed down her prized set yet, you can create beautiful place settings with some basic pieces.  Pick up some plain white tableware from any store and, with a few extra accents, you'll be able to dress it up for your Thanksgiving celebration.  Start with bronze chargers underneath every plate.  Set out your silverware and goblets, one for water and one for wine, and top each place setting with a napkin in white, gold, or bronze, tied with a raffia ribbon with a leaf from your leaf garland tucked into the bow. 

Add some extra elegance to your home for your Thanksgiving feast with some simple decorations.  Fill clear glass vases with autumn accents like pumpkin shaped candy corn, fall leaves, acorns, or gold beads and place them along your mantel with a few candles scattered among them.  For added safety, use battery operated candles to reduce the risk of burns and fire, which is especially important if you'll have a lot of children running around.  Adorn the front door with a festive red berry wreath that will make the transition from fall right into early winter.  And while your Halloween pumpkins may not have lasted till Thanksgiving, the last of the autumn gourds and dried corn arranged in a festive arrangement on the front porch will be a welcoming sight as your guests arrive. 

Setting the scene for your Thanksgiving feast is as important as roasting the perfect turkey in ensuring your holiday is a success, and with a little creativity and the right supplies, you can turn your home into a welcoming holiday retreat where new traditions can begin and old traditions will be honored.  This Thanksgiving, you'll host the perfect Thanksgiving your family will love! 

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