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Creating a Small Family Thanksgiving Table

Do you create that beautiful tablescape if it’s just your small immediate family? Here’s how we’ve created a small family Thanksgiving table setting for that special day!

simple table setting for thanksgiving with knits, plaids and gray plates

Here we are at the Thanksgiving season and we have chosen to have a quiet holiday at home with just our family of four.

Do we go ahead and decorate the Thanksgiving table with a beautiful tablescape when it’s just going to be your small family?

I say yes!

Recently, I have shared our big family news that caused our life to temporarily stop.

The last 2 months have been very different for us and a whirlwind to say the least.

My husband, Trent, had to have a surprise open heart surgery about 8 weeks ago! You can read all about it in this post.

Attending our family’s traditional Thanksgiving meal while we are learning a new lifestyle and way of eating seems a bit too tempting for us at this time.

knit covered pumpkins as a simple thanksgiving centerpiece

So we have made the choice to stay at home this Thanksgiving.

In the midst of the craziness and hectic healing season, I’ve created a creative way to decorate your dining table using what you have around your house.

Creating a Small Family Thanksgiving Table

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I started with a throw blanket.

I purchased this blanket about three or four years ago and just folded it up to create a very colorful diy table runner with maroons, navies, whites and olives.

simple thanksgiving tablescape with gray plates and woven pumpkins

It’s simply way to add those perfect traditional Thanksgiving colors. Here’s a link to a similar throw blanket if you are looking to purchase one for yourself.

Next I added some woven hyacinth placemats.

I’ve used these many times in our home throughout the years and work for fall, summer and springtime!

simple thanksgiving tablescape with gray plates and dark orange pumpkins

Last year, I purchased these copper chargers and gray bowls for my Copper and Gray Fall Tablescape.

There is one new purchase to our dining room table this year.

Trent and I had to run to our local Target to pick up some medical supplies, and I found these gray plates on sale.

simple thanksgiving tablescape with gray plates and dark orange pumpkins

These plates fit perfectly with the bowls I purchased last year.

And guess what? The dinner plate doesn’t even match the bowl perfectly – but it works!

So I just added some white cloth napkins, our wedding silverware and some water goblets and called it done.

I placed some mini pumpkins in the bowls to finish off the place settings for our small table.

Creating a Simple Pumpkin Centerpiece

brushed brass candlesticks on a thanksgiving table setting

For the centerpiece, I gathered my DIY Chunky Knit Yarn Covered Pumpkins with a soft cloth covered pumpkin I found in the dollar section at Target.

One of our sisters gave us this wooden bowl as a welcome home from the hospital gift filled with fresh fruit and veggies.

This was a great way to add a touch of wood warmth to the centerpiece.

To finish it off, I set out this set of brushed brass candlesticks.

And look at the sad little candles, friend!

brushed brass candlesticks on a thanksgiving table setting

There’s barely anything to burn because our boys love to light these candle – even if we’re just eating sandwiches!

When I went to replace the candles, I found that I was out.

So even though this easy Thanksgiving centerpiece isn’t perfect, it works because that’s what last minute and messy is!

It’s simple. It’s festive, and it’s beautiful.

And most importantly, it’s really cheap!

You don’t have to have a formal table if that stresses you out. But on the other hand, if you want to get out your fine china to create that festive feel – do it!

Whatever challenges you are having this holiday season, I hope that our small family Thanksgiving table ideas help you feel like you can get festive and still celebrate the holiday without having to pull out all your decor.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to share how you decorated your table this holiday season, please leave us a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Top tip

Don’t forget the reason why we gather together this time of year. Thanksgiving Day is not about the food or who is there.

You can focus on having a great time enjoying moments with those you love and being thankful for the time spent together.

Vintage pine hutch displaying ironstone plates and tarnished silver
Vintage pine hutch displaying ironstone plates and tarnished silver

More Holiday Table Variations

Looking for more Fall place setting and Thanksgiving table decorations for your home?

Check out these posts:

Decor Sources

simple table setting for thanksgiving with knits, plaids and gray plates

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you set up Thanksgiving dinner in a small space?

Remember to think outside the box if you have a small home with a larger family.

With 4 siblings and all their grown children and spouses, Trent’s family gatherings are always on the larger size – at least 25-30 people.

They start by joining for together to bless the food and family and then serve the food buffet style.

Everyone spreads out around the house eating wherever they are comfortable.

But here are some tips for you to consider

  • Rearrange your furniture Maybe move some unnecessary pieces to a spare room to accommodate for a larger crowd.
  • Rent or borrow a table If you don’t have a long table big enough for the number of people you are hosting, consider finding a temporary solution.
  • Declutter! If you have lots of odds and ends around, it can make a small space appear more cramped, so put those distractions out of sight.
  • Be creative with how you serve Like Trent’s family, try a buffet style in the kitchen, or this pro tip of using the dining table as the buffet and have guests sit elsewhere.
  • Prep the food beforehand To avoid having a hot or humid house, start a day early and prepare what you can ahead of time.
  • Clean It’s amazing what a good clean can do to make your guests feel at home. Plus, you’ll feel more confident knowing your home is clean.

What if you don’t have enough seats for Thanksgiving?

Embrace unconventional seating by using what you have and thinking creatively.

Ottoman, benches, and even stairs could work as creative seating ideas. Bring in chairs from your patio, or even borrow some from a friend!

How do you plan and prep for a small Thanksgiving dinner?

This year is challenging knowing that we have to change our approach to what we are serving, as well as the amount.

The typical thanksgiving menu is known for its abundance of side dishes and days of leftovers, but you can scale it back as if you were preparing a regular meal on a typical week night.

  • Skip the whole bird Consider getting turkey breast tenderloins instead of the traditional bird.
  • Ask for favorites If it’s just going to be a few people, ask everyone what their must-have dish is. Plus, if your small gathering is with guests, you can prepare the main course and they can bring their own favorite holiday side dish or dessert.
  • Serve desserts mini style or a combo treat Small, mini treats are always fun and cute to display and can be purchased ahead of time. Many years, we opted for a pumpkin pecan cheescake that covered everyone’s craving!
knit covered pumpkins as a simple thanksgiving centerpiece

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