Traditional Thanksgiving Table

Designer James T. Farmer III shares his tried and true methods for creating a memorable, old-meets-new Thanksgiving table.


Thanksgiving is upon our show. And this season is wonderful with this bounty not just from the garden, but in our legacy and our traditions here in the south. My mimi always said, "We eat with our eyes first." So, before you've taken that very first bite of turkey and dressing, you're gonna have a first bite, visually, with a beautiful table. Whether we're collecting table top items such as our grandmother's china-- I love to use my mimi's-- or maybe a silver from a great aunt. I have some from Aunt Irene-- or maybe it's even just a collect and mix of things you've found along the way. Thanksgiving is that time of year to invite the generations to the table, not just with the food, but with our legacy. When you're setting a table, you've got to have a great foundation. And I love to use a wooden table with placemats or chargers, so you still get to see the wood. From there up, we start the layer effect. It's the beautiful plates, it's silver. It's even a little memento for someone to take home by the name tag and a little bouquet [unk]-- just a little reminder of the day. I like to tell folks that mixing and matching, having collected table top is just as beautiful, if not more beautiful, than a perfect set. So, for this centerpiece, I'm using more so of a collection of blue and white rather than a centerpiece itself. This is a fun way to spread the flowers down the table and give a great effect. If you're anything like me, you always need one extra vase, one extra container. So, what I'd like to do is to take the lid from the blue and white jars that I've collected, and that makes a little bit of container to make arrangements. I love taking our heritage and our traditions, and mixing them. Sometimes, it's something that you got from your great aunt, from your mimi, or maybe you just found today at the store. Collecting a table top is key to making a warm and inviting, and it's still a very southern table. I'm James Farmer, and I'm glad to show you what I've brought to the table.
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