In the dark ages of the last century, expectations were low for anything more than a tablecloth and food as the décor on the Thanksgiving table. Pops of color were the sweet potatoes and cranberries. The baking turkey provided the mouthwatering scent—assuming Mom or Grandma didn’t let the pan of boiling potatoes run dry.
Decorating the dinner table is now an art known as “tablescape.” The task is to view the tabletop as a canvas ready for a personal touch that will set the tone for the meal, provide conversation starters, and subconsciously make the food taste even better. If you Google “Thanksgiving tablescapes,” you’ll see a style spectrum bound at one end by a more formal look with neutral colors—grey, brown, gold, silver, and the palest of blue—and pops of dark green, and at the other end by the bright fall colors of a country-style Thanksgiving, with infinite variations in between.
Annapolis Town Centre provides everything the modern tablescaper needs to create a pleasing ambiance for Thanksgiving dinner. The proximity of its stores and restaurants and free parking mean that you can roam from shop to shop without stressing about time, running to feed the meter, or wondering where to get lunch.
Bed Bath and Beyond is a great place to start, regardless of where your tablescape vision falls on the spectrum. You will find cloth or paper table linens and napkin rings that provide the basis for a fine Thanksgiving table. Pinecones and placemats shaped and colored like fall leaves are great for a traditional style. For a more formal style, maybe it’s time to upgrade your table settings. Check out the stores wide array of china patterns, glassware, and utensils.
If you are going for a traditional look, stop into Whole Foods for bright fall flowers and a pumpkin or two. Wine goes well on any Thanksgiving table, and Whole Foods’ wine team helps you choose by highlighting 24 best-in-class wines on their shelves. Also, look at the brightly colored baskets for holding wine, bread, or cookies. Across the street, Bin 201 provides additional wine selections and guidance on pairings.
Anthropologie has something for every tablescape. For bright colors, take a look at the eartenware pottery. And if, as A hostess, you look forward to dressing up for dinner, Anthro has a gorgeous array of dresses, jackets and shawls. For a more formal style, look at the gold-etched wine and water glasses and dried flowers in muted colors that would contribute elegance into a centerpiece. Consider the scented candles throughout the store that would blend with the scents of cooking to create a warm atmosphere for your guests.
For bright, showy dried or artificial flowers to use in a centerpiece or garland, head to Target. Check out their Thanksgiving-themed table linens and conversation pieces—dishes, trivets, pillows, etc. If you envision tapered candles for your table, Target is the place to buy them.
Three shops, Smyth Jewelers, Great Gatherings, and Paper Source offer surprises that might be the very thing to complete your table. Smyth and Great Gatherings both offer Maryland-themed ceramicware—after-dinner coffee and tea belong in mugs featuring the Chesapeake Bay! Great Gatherings has Thanksgiving-themed serving plates on sale; Smyth has an excellent stock of silver-plated tableware to spark up any neutral color palate and will be receiving new Thanksgiving merchandise as the date grows nearer. Paper Source is the place to go for place cards in any and all colors and for paper centerpieces.
Don’t miss the pop-up shop near Paper Source. You’re bound to find something there for Thanksgiving – ranging from bright colored earrings to handmade pottery pieces from the work of the 29 Annapolis Art Alliance artists exhibiting there—and the selections change all the time.
All images courtesy of the author.