It’s the holidays, which means dropping by a friend’s open house, hosting a formal dinner, or going on a weekend visit to see family. The tips below can help you with table setting, guests and gift giving during holiday social situations.

In today’s hyper-casual world, it’s a treat to sit down to a well-set table that ensures each guest has the plates, glasses and utensils needed to enjoy the meal. It also shows that the host cares enough for the guests to put some thought into how the table is laid out.

If table setting isn’t in your repertoire, or if you worry you’ll use the wrong utensil, don’t fear. It’s pretty easy if you follow some simple guidelines.

Tip 1

When hosting, only set out what’s needed. Look at the menu to determine the pieces of dinnerware, drinkware, and cutlery to set. At a minimum, when table setting, you need a dinner plate, fork, knife, spoon and drinking glass.

Tip 2

For main courses, forks go on the left, knives and spoons the right. The dinner fork and dinner knife go closest to the plate (with the blade of the knife facing the plate). Dinner spoons go to the right of the knife. Any other utensils are set in the order they’re used, with the utensils used first placed on the outer edges. For example, salad forks go to the left of the dinner fork because salad is typically served before dinner.

Tip 3

Drinks right, bread left. An easy way to remember is to bring your thumb and forefinger on each hand together in a circle while extending your remaining fingers. The right hand should form a lower case “D” for drinks (which go above the knife) and the left hand a “B” for bread.

Bonus Tip: When setting the table, you can place the salad plate on the dinner plate or to the left of the forks. It’s okay to leave the dessert plates and utensils in the kitchen to bring out after dinner.

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Unexpected Guests

If you’re the host, be gracious and welcoming. If you don’t have enough matching plates and silverware, offer yours to the guest and set another place with what you have. If you planned to pre-plate the meal, adjust the portions. Remember, the more you’re at ease, the more the guests will be.

If you’re the guest planning to show up with an uninvited plus one, just don’t. Be courteous and call ahead. And when you call, offer to bring an appetizer or side dish.

Hostess Gifts

A gift for the host or hostess shows your appreciation for their hospitality. Wine or flowers are traditional, but why not step it up and go for something personal? A beautiful charcuterie knife set, a wine display made from a retired wine barrel or a handcrafted cheeseboard would delight any hostCheck out our hostess gift guide for more ideas.

3 Tips for Thanksgiving Table Decor

A few simple touches can take your dinner table from plain to pretty in short order. Not sure how to pull together your table? Check out these.

Pick a Color Scheme

You can pack a punch with just three carefully chosen colors. Fall colors (orange, tan, and deep green) create a natural palette that reflects the outdoors. Burgundy, tan and sage green offer a traditional look. Or create your own palette by choosing a main color, adding an accent color from the opposite end of the color wheel, and bringing in a neutral to pull it together.

Threes and Triangles

Grouping items in threes creates interest and is visually pleasing. The same goes for triangles, both on the horizontal and vertical planes. Start with your tallest element, add your next tallest, then place your shortest item. One caveat: Keep the tallest element below 18 inches so your guests can see each other across the table.

Keep it Simple

Once you determine a color scheme, pick a few elements and layer them to create a cohesive look. A simple, stunning centerpiece can be created from pumpkins, wired ribbon and votive candles. Start by placing three orange pie pumpkins in a triangle along the center of the table, then add a few small decorative pumpkins. Wind some wired ribbon among the pumpkins (jewel tones would be lovely, as would rustic burlap or bold plaid). Scatter a few votive candles around.

If you need serving accessories or suggestions for adding something special to your holiday table, contact us! We’re happy to help.

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