Thanksgiving is a holiday that we took over several years ago when my Aunt Mary and Uncle Peter became snow birds. They did it BIG, like 30-40 people for a sit down big! It was chaos, it was delicious, it was the BEST! Growing up and going to their house for Thanksgiving was one of those things you always looked forward to for too many reasons to write.
MP and I began hosting for our immediate family in our first home in 2000. Almost married, new home, no children at the age of 29 was a pretty selfish time for us, our time was our own! We did what we wanted and when. We loved to "play house" and entertain friends. And I became little miss perfection (or tried to anyway) always experimenting with food and Bon Apetite recipes.
The perfect table - it was something I wanted so badly since living on our own, a nice table, pretty chairs (unlike the antique ones we inherited from one of our old homes) a warm and timeless centerpiece. Of course, no table/dining room is complete without matching water goblets and wine glasses of both sizes to serve twelve guests. And a chandelier with crystals dangling from it. I had the vision, I just had to create it. And I did. Eventually!
I ended up with my perfect table after years of marriage, bit by bit. It isn't extravagant or what I would do if money were no object (you should see the chairs I wanted-eegads.) I made the best with what we had to work with. The centerpiece, I made, we bought the chandelier from Home Depot, and we bought our chairs partially via a gift card. We purchased all the stemware from a place that sold them for like $2.00 a piece!! My perfect table finally came together last year. I was thrilled to just have stuff match! And - life was good as far as my dining room was concerned. And I was proud of my dining room, I had the perfect table.
This Thanksgiving was going to be different. Our guest list began to grow and MP and I struggled and went back and forth on how to do "the table"... We'd certainly have to rent some nice garden chairs (they wouldn't match, grrr) but we could still swing it no problem in our dining room. Then the guest list grew some more, and a little more. Enough that we couldn't fit everyone at one table in our dining room. So, what to do??? I thought about doing buffet style but I couldn't get my head around it, that's not Thanksgiving to me unless the guest list is overwhelming. And a kids table would be fine with me, but, the way our home is laid out would mean that the kids table would be out of sightline and earshot. NO! We knew pretty soon that we'd have to move the dining room into our great room! We rented chairs, borrowed a couple more last minute when the list grew a tiny bit bigger, and rented a folding table to add to our already 9' table! Then we moved some of our living room furniture out and into our current dining room! Seventeen people at one table! Do-able!
We hit TJ Maxx and bought a couple of $12.- table cloths, used different patterns of plates, put out plastic cups for the toast.
To be honest, I was a little bummed out that my perfect table wasn't going to be very perfect. And I said to my sister on the phone, "this year the table won't be picture worthy."
The guests rolled in and when it was time to sit down and eat our antipasto course, I looked around the tremendously long table, looked at the lit and decorated Christmas tree right next to us and the beautiful fire that was lit in the fireplace. It was beautiful. But what made it beautiful were all of the faces around the table, passing food, smiling, and talking. My husband, who is known for big speeches and putting people on the spot by asking them to say something about the true meaning of being thankful did his speech from the head of the table. Of course, as it is every year, it was very special and wonderful! And every once in a while my eyes wandered up and down each long side of our table, at our parents, my sister and her fiance, my nieces and nephews, and our own children... and do you know what I realized.
This was my perfect table...
I only wish I had time to take more photos/video!