Style Expert

Planning and Prepping for Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving, and the guests that come with it, approaches, Camille Styles sets to getting her home ready. Before next week’s big reveal, read Camille’s tips for planning, prepping, and designing the perfect Thanksgiving table.

A few months after my husband and I got married, we decided to host our first holiday celebration in our cozy 1930’s bungalow. We invited both our families to a Thanksgiving feast, and let’s just say that it was a very memorable occasion. A fried turkey (that was really more burnt to a crisp), a clogged sink disposal (that also resulted in our only bathroom getting clogged, too!) and an emergency visit from the on-call plumber made for a Thanksgiving day that we still laugh about.

Call us “gluttons for punishment,” but Thanksgiving at our (new, larger) house has become a much-loved tradition, and every year we’ve gotten a little better at finessing our way to a smooth and beautiful family feast. I’m always looking for ways to maintain a sense of holiday tradition while adding a new spin to make Thanksgiving feel fresh, and often that happens through a unique and inspired tabletop design.

Whenever I’m designing a table, I almost always start with determining a color palette. I like to choose a limited palette of 2 or 3 colors, then create a unified design by choosing table linens, dishes, serving pieces and flowers that fit into those color families. It’s a great way to make a major visual impact while keeping the details simple! For our Thanksgiving dinner, my entire palette was actually inspired by the beautiful blue shade in Le Creuset’s “cobalt” line of dinnerware. Blue and white is such a classic combination that always feels fresh, and I added a few touches of linen and brown to add depth and textural interest.

The next planning step is the menu – the star of the show at any Thanksgiving gathering! I decided to pair my classic tabletop look with a timeless menu that includes traditional ingredients like turkey, pumpkin and cranberry … though I couldn’t resist putting a few new twists on the classics! As I’m planning a menu, I always take a moment to think through what serving platters I’ll be using for each item. I’ll greet my guests with honey bourbon toddies, brewed to perfection in my Le Creuset Classic Tea Kettle. A stuffed turkey breast will take the place of an expected whole turkey, and I’ll serve it on Le Creuset’s white serving platter that lets the bird really take center stage.

I love to serve food family style, so I’ll make a savory bread pudding in Le Creuset’s Heritage Covered Rectangular Casserole, which goes straight from the oven to the table. And Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without some delicious pies! This year I’m making my mom’s mouthwatering chocolate pecan pie recipe, and it’ll look gorgeous on the table in my Le Creuset Pie Plate. 


As a last step in my planning phase, I’ll put together the seating chart. Even for the most casual gatherings, a printed element on the table shows that a little extra effort went into making it feel like an occasion. Place cards are great because they allow the host to plan the perfect seating arrangement in advance, and it instantly puts guests at ease when they know where to sit without having to ask. 

I can’t wait to see how it all comes together! Stop back by Hayneedle’s blog to see my finished tabletop design, how my menu turned out and get a few more tips on planning a perfect Thanksgiving table of your own. 

– Camille Styles,

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