The Unfortunate Thanksgiving Tablescape

Does the thought of creating a beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape make you want to run and hide? You’re not alone. For years I was intimidated by gorgeous Pinterest photos and designers on HGTV (ok, still intimidated). I felt like if my table wasn’t the “end-all be-all” at Thanksgiving that I was a holiday failure. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to decorate my table, I just didn’t know how.


I’m new to the decor world and trial and error have become my best friends. I’m on a journey to improve my decorating skills and sometimes that journey can be uncomfortable- like the conversation with my husband that took this table from- The Unfortunate Thanksgiving Tablescape to The Fortunate Thanksgiving Tablescape all within a few minutes (and a few tears).


Last weekend I hosted an engagement party for my son and his fiance (yippee!! Congratulations Johnny and Hannah!!) After the party I realized I could transition some of the table decor to a Thanksgiving tablescape without spending a ton of money or putting in much effort.

I left most of the foundation items on the table that I had used at the engagement party like the sequin table runner, the white cheesecloth runner, the leafy twinkle lights, and the magnolia flowers and greenery. You can find what candlestick holders I use by reading 5 Best Candlestick Holders on Amazon. I added my china (French Chintz from Mikasa), charger plates and stemware to the table. Since Thanksgiving was two weeks away I opted to leave off the flatware and go simple. I had a great foundation on the table, so how could anything go wrong?


(Please note- article may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure at the end of post.)


Sequin Table Runner
White Cheesecloth Table Runner

Leafy Twinkle Lights – From Etsy
Charger Plates – From Hobby Lobby
Magnolia Wreath Greenery – At Home

I only needed a few things to complete my Thanksgiving table decor so I shopped at the At Home store, I had never been before. I found some beautiful decor at affordable prices and I was pumped. In fact, my cart wasn’t able to hold everything. I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Ding, Ding, Ding!!


Then…I screwed up. Next door to At Home was Big Lots. I mean with it being my lucky day I thought I would run in and score some more deals. Sure enough, I found three led candles and a wreath on sale for about $8. I didn’t particularly love any of it but I couldn’t pass up this deal (that was screw up #2). I figured I could incorporate the orange into my 1860 farmhouse/engagement party decor- no problem.

I got home and added the wreath and candles to the table. I stepped back to assess, I thought it was just ok. I didn’t like the orange color, it was, what I call Bossy. You know, like when you order a meat and cheese, hold the lettuce taco at Taco Bell and that one piece of lettuce somehow sneaks into your taco. You bite down and the strongest flavor of the taco is that one sad lettuce strand? That’s Bossy. That’s how the orange was on my table, it screamed, Look At Me!! Ugh, why didn’t I listen to my gut? (Disclaimer- I’m sure some of you might say – “But I love orange, don’t hate on it” I like orange too, but not for this setting).


With me being new to the blogging/decorating world, I didn’t realize, you really gotta be on your game. Your Thanksgiving posts need to be out before Halloween. Your Christmas posts need to be out right after Halloween. Here I was, 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. I had just wrapped up a book club party at the house (forgot to take photos of that, what kinda blogger am I right?) and an engagement party. I had to get this tablescape finished, take photos and write up a post before I missed the Thanksgiving holiday altogether. Screw up # 3- against my better judgement I left the table alone. I didn’t do my normal Trial and Error Strategy of switching items in and out to get the right look on the table. I just went with the orange.


I began to take photos of The Unfortunate Thanksgiving Tablescape. I snapped away. I won’t even tell you how many hours and photos it took trying to get a few good pics for the post, but I finally finished. I began to write the post about how I decorated my beautiful tablescape and where you too could purchase the same items in the photo- all the while feeling like I was being fake.

As I was finishing the post, I happened to walk through the kitchen where my husband was standing and I said, You know, I don’t think I like the orange candles and flowers on the table. He said, “Yeah, they might look better on the side table, maybe on the ledge.”


My husband had never said anything like this before, usually it’s, “No Honey, I love the candles, your table is beautiful”. I realized my gut was right, the orange was unattractive, to put it nicely. But it felt like he had just told me that my baby was ugly.

I thought you’d like to see the sidetable my husband suggested that I put the orange candles and flowers on. It’s the tall cabinet on the back left. He wanted me to slide them up under the overhang on the cabinet (hiding them). It makes me laugh now. He disliked the candles as much as I did but was trying so hard to be kind.

Of course he didn’t mean to hurt me and I was being ridiculous but it was more than that. It made me realize at that moment that I was lying to myself and if I wrote the post I had intended, I would be lying to you. It made me see that if I was going to have a blog that I had to be honest. Honest when my designs were pretty and when they were ugly. I couldn’t try to pull the wool over your eyes and try to make you believe something that I didn’t believe.


So after a few minutes of stomping around and pouting I got to work. I moved the orange candles and flowers, not to the cupboard because I was too stubborn for that but I got them out of sight. I put my Trial and Error strategy to work and substituted a lantern and gold candlesticks for the orange candles. Miraculously, the table turned the corner and I instantly fell in love with the look.

So today I’m giving you a few takeaways from The Unfortunate Thanksgiving Tablescape incident .

If you find a great bargain on home decor and you’re not in love with it, walk away. Your mind will only play tricks on you at home and tell you that the item is really beautiful when it’s not.

If you have to ask yourself over and over if you really like the decor your working on, let me answer that for you, the answer is no, you don’t like it.

Keep experimenting and moving different items in and out of your decor scheme, I call it the Trial and Error Strategy. You can see another example of my the trial and error strategy on my post How to Stencil A Tile Table. Don’t stop until you love your creation.

Keep creating and drop me a note below or better yet a photo of one of your creations, I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Related Articles:
Wait A Minute, It’s Thanksgiving Week?
101 Free Things to Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving
5 Essentials to Decorate Your Farmhouse Christmas Mantel
17 Best Modern Farmhouse Lighting Fixtures and Chandeliers
5 Best Candlestick Holders on Amazon
23 Stylish Centerpiece Ideas for Your Kitchen Table

Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links. At NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I will earn a small commission on any purchases made.

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