I love that we have a feast day called Thanksgiving. And I also love that it’s entirely American and that every where across America everyone is serving up the same basic menu on the same day. It’s just such a funny thing to think about: millions of people feeling culturally obligated to cook a turkey and serve it with all the culturally expected side dishes and pies. Pretty fantastic!
I also love making the side dishes and pies and cooking the turkey bird. Love it all, start to finish. But I have to confess that my very favorite part of it all is setting the table. I will probably set it early on, maybe even Wednesday night, so I can feast my eyes on it. I will enjoy putting every fork and spoon and goblet in exactly the right spot designated for such things. Ah, cultural expectations galore! Tradition galore!
I love making the table look beautiful. I’ve been thinking about what tablecloth or runner I’m going to use. This year it’s a Thanksgiving runner from a few years back over a pale green tablecloth from a few years back. Sounds weird, but it looks so calm and fall and festive. And since we are having a smallish group this year (just seventeen!) I can use my granny’s crystal, which I also love. The ten children will not use Granny’s Fostoria, no. But I will bless the seven adults with it. And all the silver has been polished (went through a whole tub of polish) which makes the table sparkle like nothing else. What better time to use the family heirlooms?
The leaves will be in the table and extra chairs hijacked from the four corners of the house. The white napkins will be ironed. That’s not what I do every week. Goodness no! But for Thanksgiving they will be pressed. The candles will be lit. The flowers (I bought tulips) will be just hitting their zenith. Glorious!
The place cards will be on, the salad plates (so the jello doesn’t melt into the dressing) in position, the dessert forks above the plates, and the silly turkey salt and pepper shakers will be stationed where they will feel important.
I’ve wondered what it is that I enjoy so much about the table setting. I love the way it looks when it’s set. I love all the rules about what goes where. I love all the memories associated with the table. I love the symbolism of the table as we all gather around. We sing “We Thank Thee Our Father” every year at Thanksgiving, and that’s something my husband brought over from his family traditions.
And I love, love, love filling the table with all my people and seeing them enjoy it. Isn’t God good that He gives us such potent, powerful work to do? Work that we can do with our own hands? Work that will bless future generations? Is there a mess afterward? Oh, mercy, yes. Something epic. But that’s my cue to put on the Christmas music!
Blessings on all your prep work, and may your tables shine with God’s goodness and Grandma’s china!