Beautiful Holiday Table Settings May Inspire Your Own Table This Year

Giving thanks for stunning table settings that welcome family and friends.


At Thanksgiving, we are especially grateful for beautiful tables, a symbol of artistry, abundance and affection for the people who gather around us. Here are three holiday settings we hope will inspire you: a homey, traditional table that incorporates family keepsakes into the design; a fashion-forward contemporary table that boldly blends patterns, colors and textures; and a sweet, elegant and whimsical table poised for an intimate dessert.

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Setting a lovely and welcoming table is a wonderful way to say “thank you” to your guests. May your conversation be as sparkling as your crystal. May your plates be filled with joy. And as you put out place cards, count each name as a blessing.

WHERE: The Enchanted Owl, Greenville.

WHAT: An intimate holiday dessert table.

WHO: Owner Louise Hoffman and her staff collaborated to design and set the table.

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ON THE TABLE: Royal Crown Derby dishes in the Imari pattern; Imari cups and saucers in the stackable can-on-stand style; Lenox cake plate. Pie server, flatware and linens are Hoffman family pieces.

FINISHING TOUCHES: A mixed bouquet of gladiolas, hydrangeas and zinnias, a blend of purchased flowers and blooms cut from the home garden; Royal Crown Derby paperweights in Belle Dog, Mouse, Crested Tit and Long Tailed Tit patterns; Vietri tall candlesticks in 9-3/4 inch and 11-3/4 inch heights.

HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING TIP: Give your table a whimsical touch with unexpected accessories, such as paperweights and small collectible figurines.


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WHERE: The president’s home at Wesley College, Dover.

WHAT: A traditional Thanksgiving table.

WHO: Susan Johnston, an artist and the wife of William N. Johnston, Wesley president.

ON THE TABLE: Gilded cut-glass berry bowl with “spiked” cream server. A mix of plates from Lugano, Bavaria and Syracuse patterns. Gorham Chantilly sterling-silver place settings. The teacups were a girlhood gift to Johnston from her Great Aunts Effie and Eva from Middletown, who wanted their niece to have pretty things. The spooner is a sign of hospitality, symbolizing that everyone is welcome and there is always room for one more.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Johnston’s grandmother’s doll from Laurel holds the seat for the youngest grandchild. There’s a different napkin ring and cloth napkin at each setting. Her grandparents’ tradition was to put your napkin back in the ring so that you would be invited to the next meal.

HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING TIP: Setting the table with pieces handed down through the family sparks conversations, questions and reminders to be grateful.


WHERE: Mark Showell Interiors, Rehoboth Beach.

WHAT: A contemporary Thanksgiving table.

WHO: Tommy Tidwell of Mark Showell bridal registry.

ON THE TABLE: Versace Red china bread and butter, salad and dinner plates with chargers. Juliska Quotidien bread and butter and dinner plates. Juliska Pewter salad and dinner plates. Juliska Autumn salad plates. Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf bread and butter, salad and dinner plates with Chinoise Blue charger. Crystal stemware by William Yeoward in the Vita, Claire, Gloria and Felicity patterns. Flatware by Juliska in the Berry and Thread pattern. Vietri Aladdin serving pieces. Melon tureen on stand by Mottahedeh; garden cream and sugar set on tray by Vagabond House; silver-plate salt-and-pepper set from Ritz Hotel. Juliska napkins in cotton and linen, with navy or white monogram and Berry and Thread napkin rings.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Boxwood balls set in mercury glass containers and crystal votives. A large silver and glass hurricane centerpiece.

HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING TIP: Not everything on your holiday table has to match. Mix things up with a profusion of china and crystal patterns.

photos by luigi ciuffetelli

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