My dining room table is set and ready for Thanksgiving! This time of year, I’m working out of so many storage boxes for my dining room décor. I start in October with a Halloween setting. Then on October 31st, I begin the transition to Day of the Dead, including my ofrenda (altar) on my buffet with a few touches on the dining room table. Finally, after letting my altar stay up through the weekend – depending on when Day of the Dead falls on the calendar – I take everything down the first weekend in November to prepare for Thanksgiving.
I’ve had friends ask me why I go to all this trouble to decorate for every holiday. Honestly, I can look back on when I was growing up and see how special my mother made everything for me and my sisters. She worked at a Hallmark store when I was in high school and would bring home some of the cutest holiday related items to decorate the house and for us to enjoy. As a mother, I took that example and always tried to find the best ways to make holidays festive for my husband, kids and extended family.
When Eddie and I built our house in Hoover, AL, it quickly became the place where our extended family gathered to celebrate the holidays. We have plenty of room, live on a cul de sac, which was great when our kids were little, and the adults would enjoy the deck. With everyone scattered around the house, it was fun to add little holiday touches here and there.
Over the 27 years we’ve lived in our house, I’ve naturally changed things out. When my kids were little, the table was set a little more for them. As they got older, the table décor grew up too. Some things remain constant though. For instance, for Thanksgiving we always display a Thanksgiving candle my son Charlie made when he was in kindergarten. Next to the candle, we always display a Thanksgiving prayer tent card that my daughter, Anna Marie cut out and taped together.
Several years back, my mother gave me a few of those items I mentioned we had when I was growing up. Mom said since we were always at my house it just made sense for me to have them for us all to enjoy. She had a straw-like turkey she used to display on her dining room table and it now graces my dining room buffet along with a wooden Native American couple and a wooden pilgrim couple. Using these pieces every year takes me back to Thanksgivings in the suburbs of Chicago. I do get pretty nostalgic over the holidays these days. I blame my age and the fact that Eddie and I are empty nesters!
You can say that decorating and creating holiday tablescapes is a way for me to stay connected to the wonderful memories of the past. I do find myself telling my kids the same stories over and over and while I’m sure they get tired of hearing them I’m happy that they listen and humor me. I expect that when they all have children of their own, they will repeat these stories and they’ll understand why I keep retelling them.
Meanwhile, here are some photos of my Thanksgiving table this year and a few other decorations around my home.