First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations
Holidays and Special Occasions

Ideas for a First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape

If you didn’t figure it out, my first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape is all about history. Yes, that’s right, I’m going to force you to learn while you decorate your house. Wait, come back! You won’t have to learn that much, I swear. In fact, you can just look at the pictures if that suits you better. Okay, let’s get on with it. The first Thanksgiving happened a super long time ago and doesn’t have a lot to do with what we celebrate today, but sometimes it’s fun to go back to our origins. Now, I’m not trying to make your table look like it belongs in the 1600s. I’m just trying to to take a few pieces of history and throw them into the mix. I have a big table and a small table, so I’ll show you how it looks on both.

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First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape Ideas

1. A Natural Look

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

To be honest, I have no idea what kind of table coverings they used back then, if any, but if you read me regularly you know I think you need something nice for a modern Thanksgiving. In this case, natural seemed to be the way to go. So, of course, I went with burlap. Runners are pretty cheap, but you can’t wash them, so if you want to reuse it be careful with that red wine.  For my small table I borrowed a fall table runner from my mom. it’s a little old so I can’t tell you where to find it, but there are plenty of similar ones out there. I like that the runner still has a natural color scheme, but also adds details for a smaller table because I don’t want to overload it with objects.

2. A Hint of Pilgrim

Ha, the term “a hint of pilgrim” is really amusing me right now. Hopefully it amuses you too. Anyway, I’ve seen plenty of pilgrim hat decor before, but come on. I don’t want a giant hat on my table. So instead, to keep this first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape going, I’ve made candles in the vein of their buckled hats without being a hat. All you need are some black candles, white ribbon, and gold buckles (you can pick the last two up at a crafting store). Cut a ribbon to go around the bottom of the candle, put two buckles on it (so both sides of the table see a buckle) and then tape or glue the ribbon. Super easy crafting.

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

3. Cranberries for the Wampanoag

If you don’t already know this, the Wampanoag are the American Indian tribe that joined the pilgrims for the first Thanksgiving. Now, we live in divisive times, and some American Indians actually call Thanksgiving their “Day of Mourning.” Because of that I don’t want to try anything that’s stereotypical American Indian, but I know the Wampanoag celebrate cranberries, so I figured it would be a good idea to have them represented that way. These cranberry decorations are super simple. Cranberries float, so just throw them in something cute with water. Add a tealight. Done.

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

4. First Foods

Unsurprisingly, we don’t eat the same way people ate back at the first Thanksgiving. So, instead of forcing your guests to eat those foods and really sticking to your theme, just add a few odds and ends to your table decor. Walnuts and chestnuts are great and easy. Corn is good too, and wheat adds for a fun centerpiece. I got the fake items from Hobby Lobby and walnuts from the grocery store. I chose not to use any of this on the small table because there just isn’t room. To make a smaller table pop, see the next idea.

5. Non-Historical Color

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

Okay, so your table is probably looking like it knows a lot about history now. But it’s probably also missing color. Time to add some place mats, charger plates, napkins, silverware, cups, whatever. I’ve got two different color schemes going on each table, so there’s definitely room to play with your own. The dishes on the big table are my actual good dishes, so I happened to luck into that particular color scheme. I used alternating color schemes for each table. On the big one I switched both the place mats (last season’s from Target, but here’s a similar one) and ribbon napkin rings, and just the napkins on the small. And yes, those are my interchangeable holiday plates on the small table. See? Versatile.

As a time saving tip, I do want to tell you one thing. Once you pick your color scheme, commit. It shouldn’t take that long to set a table, but it can take forever if you second guess yourself. Really, whatever you choose is going to look awesome, because you have  so many options to make a first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape. Take ideas from the big table, small table, or both and see what you can come up with. Now have a happy holiday!

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorationsFirst Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

first thanksgiving inspired tablescape collage
first thanksgiving inspired tablescape

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  1. I love that you are showcasing history with your design. Such a fun way to teach children, and remind ourselves what the origins of our tradition are.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Thanks! My kids aren’t even old enough to understand, so really I’m just reminding my family. Lol

  2. robin rue says:

    I love this table set up! I will be traveling for Thanksgiving this year, but I am hosting a big turkey dinner for Christmas, so I might use some of your inspiration.

  3. What a great little history lesson. I’m always looking for new creative ideas for the Thanksgiving table. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Such a great reminder of Thanksgiving history! And I love your little nod to the Pilgrim hat with your candles. Such a cute idea!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Thanks! I will admit the pilgrim candles were my favorite. They amuse me.

  5. These are all such wonderful ideas. I do struggle with tablescapes quite often. I end up using the same table cloth and the same settings – so boring!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      But also cheap! Lol. You can’t buy new everything year after year. Well, I guess you can, but it’d get expensive. You can always keep your tablecloth and add other little odds and ends. I have a bunch of clear vases, so I just switch out what’s in there to have variety.

  6. I love the table set-up! The decor is festive and really sets the mood for your history of the first Thanksgiving.

  7. Haha a hint of pilgrim did make me smile and I love how instead of putting a black hat in the middle of the room you kept it simple! I love the look of this tablescape and I hope that you have a wonderful thanksgiving!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      I’m glad it amused someone else! I know you’re in the UK, but have a happy holiday season yourself. 🙂

  8. Beautiful arrangements! I just love how the colors are very well put together as well. These are beautiful themes for Thanksgiving!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Thank you! I was just excited my plates finally matched the color scheme I was going for, usually they throw everything out of whack.

  9. I love this! We homeschool, and will be talking about the first Thanksgiving, so what better way than to bring some of this into our study.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Oh thanks! My sister and I were talking about having a real first Thanksgiving, but we didn’t want to eat a lot of fish so this seemed like the next best thing. Hopefully you can use some of it!

  10. reesa says:

    I love making pretty tablescapes and I am loving these! Great inspiration to pull from too!

  11. I always love to see what people think of to decorate their tables. It should be pretty and enough space to see across the table so you can talk to people. You did it!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Oh thanks! I’m glad you said that, because I feel the same way about space and even the wheat seemed kind of tall to me. At least it’s not a whole forest on my table. 🙂

  12. Love your hint of Pilgrim idea. It is so simple, yet elegant. Will definitely have to use the idea somewhere!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      You have my permission to use it and call it something other than a hint of pilgrim, it will still make a pretty candle in any color. 🙂

  13. This is such a pretty table scape. I won’t be hosting Thanksgiving since we are going to my parent’s house this year, but I really love these ideas! I may decorate just because lol

  14. Everything looks so amazing! I love all the little details! Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. These decorations are beautiful. I love that you incorporated history and elements of the first Thanksgiving!

  16. I really love the simplicity of this tablescape, as well as its hints to the holiday. The little buckle on the candles is perfection.

  17. I really loved reading this! I think it is so fun how each item is inspired by something from the first Thanksgiving.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Thanks! I was hoping people would appreciate a little history and not just yawn at it. 🙂

  18. I really love the simplicity of this decor. It is actually something I would use in my home. Totally beautiful.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      That’s the goal. I love looking at interior designers’ tables, but I don’t have time to deal with all that!

  19. The table set up looks amazing, I love the candles with the cranberries, it’s so original!

  20. Jeanine says:

    What a gorgeous table. We had our Thanksgiving in Canada in October but I am keeping this in mind for next year! So pretty

  21. Excellent ideas and I love that this tablescape could be put together quickly with supplies I know I already have at home!

  22. It’s my first time hosting Thanksgiving and I’ve been planning my tablescape and menu for weeks. I love all these tips! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Lovely table decorations. I really enjoyed them. I need to come up with some creative way to decorate our Thanksgiving table.

  24. lydia says:

    I love your table decorations, can’t believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday! Love that you are including history in your design, too!

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