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In a year like this — especially in a year like this — finding things to look forward to has been tough. Fortunately, the holidays are right around the corner.

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No matter how you celebrate, this is a reason to smile. In 2020, the festivities may not be as festive as usual, but that is precisely why you need to go the extra mile this year.

Instead of going through the motions, make it as special as you can. From guests and food to preparation and decorations, now is the time to kick it up a notch.

One great option for Thanksgiving is tablescaping.

What is tablescaping? Why is it perfect for this holiday? How can you do it best?

The following breakdown answers all those questions — and more — for anyone looking to make a great Thanksgiving tablescape this year.

What is Tablescaping?

You have probably already done some tablescaping. You just didn’t know the term. Basically, it is just a way of describing the various ways that people use centerpieces, place settings, and other decorative elements to spruce up their table before entertaining guests for a special event.

Interior designer Sarah Bartholomew summed up her philosophy of the now-fashionable art form in a New York Times trend piece: “A room without accessories or styling is soulless,” she said. “Styling a table makes a room feel finished and lived in. It’s a way to personalize your home while adding depth and style.”

Why is Tablescaping Right for Thanksgiving?

Tablescaping works great for any holiday with a meal involved. Moreover, particularly in 2020, Thanksgiving is the type of low-pressure holiday that we all need right now. It doesn’t carry the same level of stress as most end-of-year traditions.

Really, we’re just talking about getting together with some people you love for a big, gluttonous meal. Why not ramp things up to get in the right mood? At this point, there hasn’t been a lot to celebrate this year.

Have fun with it and go big!

What Are Some Popular Tablescaping Ideas for Thanksgiving?

While there are no hard-and-fast rules, the best tablescapes often follow a cohesive theme — plus a little something extra. The best option is to tie in something meaningful to you, such as family heirlooms, homemade arts and crafts, or something like a nautical component if you’re a boating enthusiast, for example.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, you can pair this individual flair with the holiday theme by using a base of a pumpkin, gourd, cornucopia, or other autumn staple. They look great and won’t even take that much time to assemble. Remember: Simplicity and elegance go together well.

That’s all you need to create a fantastic display to accompany your meal.

How Can You Easily Create a Great Tablescape Without All the Fuss?

One easy way to create a great Thanksgiving tablescape is to simply buy the right centerpiece and pair it with matching place settings. Just like that, you’re ready to go.

On the other hand, what’s the fun in that? Not only is it the more expensive option, but it takes most of the creativity out. Instead, start by looking around online for some inspiration. Pinterest is a great resource, and you will quickly get a feel for what style suits you best. You can also check a local farmer’s market for seasonal goodies or even an antique store for something more unique.

If you are still lacking the spark of inspiration while going down the DIY route, consider a theme based on colors. Even a classic patterned cloth that complements the wall, a candle with a pop of color, or a showpiece serving tray can tie everything together.

What Else to Keep in Mind When Planning a Thanksgiving Tablescape?

As with most things now, the biggest obstacle is the ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 means that a lot more precautions are necessary before traveling or meeting up. This is particularly true when dealing with older relatives. It is very hard for families to decide whether or not to include grandma and grandpa this year.

Ultimately, it is an decision families must make, while remaining in accordance with any local restrictions in place and general health guidelines. One good practice, especially in warmer areas, is to set up your tablescape outdoors or in a well-ventilated/open-air environment.

Beyond keeping things safe, it is all about having fun and putting your own personal touches on display.

Take some time to make this Thanksgiving special, with a tablescape that is all your own.