It’s almost Thanksgiving! Is it any wonder that children—many of whom seem to never stop eating—pick this as a top-tier event? For kids, it’s right up there with the heavy hitters: Halloween and the winter holidays.
Table Setting 101
It’s never too early to teach kids how to set a table. The diagram above covers the basics. For flatware, think “outside in.” First-course flatware will be on the outside. In most settings (like the one above), a salad fork usually takes the outer left spot. If soup is being served, the soup spoon should be placed to the right of the dinner spoon.
Knives are on the plate’s right and should be pointed towards the plate. A bread and butter plate (if one is being used) should rest above the place setting, with a butter knife set diagonally across it.
Kids love that the most important course—dessert—gets its own special place atop the place setting. (A small fork and small spoon probably look just the right size to them!) Set them crosswise as opposed to lengthwise, to save space. Ideally, the handle of your dessert spoon should be to your right, and the base of a fork to your left. Each one is ready to slip down into its proper place just before the pie and ice cream are served.
To a child, a properly laid table can be a thicket of breakables: An impossible amount of glassware is present. Of course, you’ll want to minimize breakage, but teaching kids how to handle glassware isn’t a bad move.
Again, teach “outside-in”; glasses follow a sloping pattern to the right and down towards the diner, for ease of access. Guests’ water glasses hover about an inch above the tip of the dinner knife. The red wine glass goes to its right, followed by a white wine glass, and then a Champagne flute or cocktail glass. (Our glassware guide has concise explanations of all our glassware options.)
Make It Kid-Worthy
OK, once you’ve established the basics of the table, think about how to make this fun for them. Consider a “place card art station,” with calligraphy pens for the big kids—in fun colors like gold glitter—and have them write guests’ names. Put out “regular” markers and autumnal stickers for the littles, and have them be in charge of art. If you’re really on your game, you can order these super-adorable T Day cookies with their names on them. Order them ahead of the big day, and get ready for some awed children.
Parents are always looking for ways to keep little hands busy—both leading up to and the afternoon of T Day. Help them out, and give kids a project. Ask them to bring their favorite pinecone with them, or have them scour your yard for grasses, flowers, leaves and seed pods. Children love nature and displaying found objects. (It’s a win-win, as you get free centerpieces!) Use our candles (either tapers or votives), wicker baskets, and a few supermarket gourds handy to finish the look.
There are a million ways to use napkin rings, and we happen to love ours. Let kids watch this video, then set them to work making fancy (or un-fancy) versions of what they’ve learned. We’re partial to these pumpkin napkins with matching rings, but we’ve also got elegant turkey napkin rings. And autumn vine rings. Plus: more Thanksgiving napkin options than you can shake a tail feather at.
Sometimes, as hosts as in life, we forget the power of “surprise and delight.” Enter: These gorgeous-and-adorable at once Plymouth turkey crackers. A wholly American spin on a Victorian tradition, these 10-inch crackers break open with a snap and a flurry of miniature gifts. Think: tiny piñata. Why not have more delight in your life?