Learn how to create no-fuss Thanksgiving table decor that will not only wow your guests, but make for an easy-peasy cleanup at the end of the night.
by Natalie Diaz, Twiniversity CEO and Founder
Happy ALMOST Turkey Day! I literally just finished some online shopping that will make my Turkey Day SO MUCH easier.
I’ve been the Thanksgiving Day chef for the past few years after my mom passed me the torch and I haven’t looked back. It’s funny that our moms and mothers-in-law do this when they retire from work, as if they get to retire from life! What’s up with that? They have more time now than ever to cook for our families, but nope, they want to sit back with a glass (or four) of merlot and let us do the heavy lifting.
Honestly, I don’t mind. I love cooking. I have ever since I was a little kid. Fun fact about me that MOST folks don’t know: When I was in high school I had a public access show called “Gavone’s” which is a slang term for someone who eats too much! Oink oink! So yeah, cooking has always been my passion.
This Thanksgiving I decided to work smarter, not harder, and where I’m gaining most of my time in the kitchen is in the washing dishes department. Ok, Before you start yelling at me about my carbon footprint, please don’t. PLEASE! lol.
Yes. I confess…
My name is Natalie Diaz and I’m using plastic dishes this Thanksgiving!
Phew, ok, there I said it. I feel better now.
In true Twiniversity style, I figured I’d share my tips with you since you still have PLENTY of time to make the same purchases I did just a few moments ago so let’s get to it.
My first stop is Amazon! Yup, I do a significant amount of shopping here now and….ummm pretty much always. But here is what I got JUST for the Thanksgiving table!
Planning no-fuss Thanksgiving table decor
A new tablecloth! I like to kick it up a notch and go old school with a REAL tablecloth. I was looking for something that said “Thanksgiving” but didn’t hit me over the head with turkeys. So I found this one and LOVE it! Ok, honestly, I bought it last year and I’m using it again. It washed like a dream even after we spilled wine (see mention of mom and mother-in-law above) on it and it all came out wonderfully. I paid $33.99 and I plan on getting a few years out of it. I also bought the same pattern in a different size (two in total) so I can use a card table next to my usual dining table for additional folks that might show up.
To decorate my house I bought a bag of artificial leaves and some tiny clothespins. I hung them around the house on twine and made a festive holiday garland. If you have freshly fallen leaves in your backyard go for it, just be mindful how dry they are and if they might crumble when you hang them up. For under $10 you can decorate your WHOLE dining room easily. Add some of the leaves on the table as additional decoration too. You can even use a Sharpie and write your guests names on the leaves to let people know where to sit if you like having assigned seating.
Don’t forget to stock up on to-go containers. One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. I make sure that I have enough for everyone’s lunch tomorrow. When we are starting to clear up the table, I hand one of these out and folks make their own lunch for the next day! It’s a win/win. They get to make a plate of JUST what they like and I have less to put away when it makes it way back to the kitchen. I even throw in some baggies for them to take some rolls home too.
I also bought these mixing/serving bowls from Fox Point last year and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. They are stainless steel bowls so they keep like salad colder and make whipping cream a DREAM (Cooking Tip: make sure you place your whipping bowl in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before you start your whippin’)! The reason I love them so much is they have a silicone bottom so they never slip around the table or counter. Even after daily use, they look as good as new. I used the largest one to hold our salad (mixed greens with dried cranberries, walnuts, and fresh crumbled blue cheese! YUM!), the middle size to hold our cranberry dressing, and the smallest one to hold extra ricotta cheese when I serve lasagna (yup, I make a lasagna too!) After falling in love with their bowls, I also got their salt and pepper shakers. They make my table look fancy-pancy.
This might be very old school, but did your grandmother have guest towels in her bathroom? Not reusable ones, but ones that looked like a napkin? My grandmother ALWAYS did and it’s a small tradition that I still continue. For the holidays I buy small guest towels and keep them in the bathroom. These aren’t the exact ones I bought, but they are JUST like them. It always makes my dad and my sis smile when they see them because it makes us think of my namesake, Grandma Natalie.
My second stop for online Thanksgiving prep is Boxed.com. If you aren’t shopping Boxed, you should. They are a bulk delivery company. MOST things you find at Costco you can find on Boxed. In addition to pantry items, they have Boxed Fresh as well. So here is what I just got for this coming holiday (and I even stocked up for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, yup, I cook for those too.) I’m not kidding by the way…here’s a screenshot of my cart. These really are my favorite things! If you look at our image at the top from last years Thanksgiving, you’ll see these items on our table.
The first thing I buy is plastic (not paper) plates. These are MAGNIFICENT! We’ve used them plenty of times and they can withstand an entire meal without leaking or breaking (or melting!) They look great, are super sturdy, and honestly look pretty “real”. We use the larger dishes for the main course and the smaller ones for dessert. I typically use some type of novelty plate for appetizers. I actually buy two sets (see above) because I put one set away for Christmas!
The next item on my table is disposable wine glasses. I’ve used our fancy china glasses for a few years, but we lost so many of them. The stems were getting broken. I feel HORRIBLE for not using my fine china for special holidays, but when we did, it took over an hour to clean and dry. Truthfully, I’d rather be playing a board game with my family. We broke down and bought these after I used them at an event here in NYC and realized they ROCK! They have different sizes so you’ll find JUST what ya need.
For the rest of the non-wine drinking family, I stock up on clear tumblers. These are better than good ol’ Solo cups because they look fancier, and for the holidays I try to do a little better than my usual.
I always use real knives and forks; I find that there honestly isn’t a good disposable replacement. I personally don’t have enough, so when a guest asks what they can bring, I say “bring 8 forks, 8 knives, 8 spoons.” Yup, I literally make my guest bring their own forks. Hee hee.
Now for some fun. There are two things I love…a good novelty hat and a great family game. These are some of my favorites.
Ready for game time!
Ok, my NUMBER ONE family game is Watch Ya’ Mouth! HOLY CRAP GUYS!!! I nearly pee my pants every time we play this. Especially after my mom and mother-in-law have their wine… I CANNOT TELL you the fun this is. If you’ve never played, please go get this now. Tag us on Instagram #Twiniversity or on Facebook too when you play! You will LOVE it!
If peeing in your pants laughing isn’t your thing, there are some fun games that are more thought-provoking like Trivial Pursuit. This family version has cards for kids (8 and up) and adults too! In our family we allow the adults to get a “kid” question every now and then too.
So that’s the Diaz Family Thanksgiving in a nutshell! We hope these few suggestions make your Turkey Day easier as they make ours!
Gobble Gobble everyone!
Natalie Diaz is the Pied Piper of twin families around the globe. Founding Twiniversity — the world’s leading support network for multiple birth families — in 2009, she’s become the global influencer for this small niche community. Reaching over a million families a week through Twiniversity’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube channels, moms and dads of twins flock to Twiniversity to find resources, ask questions, explore new products, and find community and support from other twin parents. Natalie is a true connector, bringing parents from all walks of life together, breaking past cultural differences, to share in the highs and lows of parenting twins. Natalie’s book, “What To Do When You’re Having Two” is a global bestseller in Twins & Multiples Parenting.