Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thrifty Thanksgiving: Making a Classy Thanksgiving Table on the Cheap

First, I'd like to wish a "Happy Thanksgiving" to all of you in the U.S.

I thought that this would be a good holiday to not only thank the Good Lord for the blessings in my life, namely my children, husband and the fact that I was lucky enough to be born into a country where food and water are readily available for me to eat and drink, but this would be a good time to share a kind of special "Thrifty Thursday" with you all.

Namely, I wanted to share how you can swing a holiday on the cheap, with a little thinking in advance, and no one would ever know that it was "cheap" for you to swing.

Above is the shot of our Thanksgiving table this year.  With the exception of the food, table runner and pot holders (which I made all of those...well not the base ingredients, but you get the idea *laugh*) and the centerpiece (which I'll get to in a second), everything else on the table was purchased used from thrift stores and yard sales.

The french white plates I found at the used store a while back for .50 a plate.  I bought four to use for "fancy holiday" place settings as you can't go wrong with white.  The Corelle casseroles that I'm using as serving dishes I got at a yard sale for .50 each (complete with lids) or I already had in my collection of casserole dishes for years.  The Corelle platter my turkey is being served on my husband and I ran into at a used store a few months ago for 5.00...I kind of didn't want to spend the money but I've been looking for a Corelle serving platter for a LONG time, so I was thrilled to have it so I could get rid of the huge, clunky, and impossible to store serving platter I had previously.

The bowl the rolls are being served in?  Thrift store find for 1.00.  The tablecloth 2.00 at a thrift store.  You get the general idea.

Now, I did not buy all of these things at once, far from it. The tablecloth alone I've had for at least six years. It's taken me a while to accumulate enough to have a holiday table that pretty much matched (the Tupperware gravy boat I will not part with for the sake of matching unless I find a Blue Cornflower patterned one, sorry to say.  That thing keeps gravy warm for hours).  I use all of these things from day to day as well, with the exception of the plates.  Changing one thing at a holiday table, believe it or not, can really help to make a holiday special.  So, my advice would be if you are looking for a way to spiffy up your holiday?  Buy white plates and just go from there to decorate because you can use white for every single holiday I can think of and just change up the other decorations around it.

My centerpiece was built in a basket tray I bought at a used store for .50 a long time ago and I use for everything from harvesting stuff from the garden, hauling treats for hot cocoa or something on to using for a centerpiece like this.  I've gotten to a stage in my life that if I have something in my kitchen I want it to be able to perform multiple tasks if possible.  I have a small kitchen to begin with and then adding in my utilitarian nature...well I like multi-taskers.

The gourds were a great find that I ran into at the regular grocery store yesterday as I ran in to get the bare minimum of groceries for next week.  They had big bags of gourds marked down to 1.00 a bag (probably due to the holidays being pretty much over), so I bought them.  My original plan had been to harvest different fake flowers from different fall themed arrangements I have around the house, but this was quick, easy, and my kids loved playing with the gourds all day, so it was worth it, I think.

And that's another bit of advice I can lend.  When shopping with the holidays in mind, shop a year ahead if possible.  Sounds odd I know, but things like tablecloths, dish towels and decorating things go on clearance after the holiday has passed and it is a wonderful time to pick things up for the next year cheap.  Just be sure you label them and box them where you can find them the next year so you don't forget what you have.  And yes, I do in fact shop the sales at the used stores right before the holiday hits (a lot of thrift stores, at least around here, will have buy one get one sales or 50 to 70% off sales to help liquidate holiday themed donations).

I, honestly, don't keep a lot for any holidays other than Christmas (since we use a fake tree and such) and Halloween.  Halloween and fall tend to get kind of lumped together, so when Halloween is over the fall decorations roll over into Thanksgiving decorations.  I tend to use pine cones (like the one seen in the arrangement above) for fall and winter arrangements, so they do a lot of duty around here in the way of decorating.  I harvest a lot of pine cones from my own yard, even, to help fill space in some areas.

I normally try to buy a live wreath on Black Friday weekend for 5.00 or so, but this year I think I'm just going to harvest some pine from trees in my yard and see what I can make instead as I don't have the money to waste on something like that right now.

But I mainly wanted to do this post to just post up some encouragement.  Just because you are broke doesn't mean your holiday table has to be boring even if you are reusing a lot of things you use from day to day.

Enjoy your holiday everyone and I hope you all found things to be thankful for today!


  1. I was lucky enough to inherit a lot of fancy dishes from both my grandparents. Fancy dinnerware (I think one pattern has something like 20 place settings), glass and ceramic serving dishes of all name it I have it. Some are quite old and may have belonged to my great grandparents. They take up a lot of storage space, but I don't thing I will ever part with them. They are just too special!

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on buying used dishes, though. I've been at auctions where entire dish sets with multiple place settings are being sold for $1 because there is just no interest. If you keep watch, you can find just about anything you might want or need for very cheap when it comes to setting a table.

  2. Hi the table looks gorgeous..and even better if it cheap..i was lucky enough to receive my mums old china..its white with a light gold serving is stored upstairs in an old wardrobe i have for the coats and dresses that don't fit in my daily wardrobe..she also gave me some beautiful napkins and table cloths and runners that match the they get used on special occasions..for daily use i have a lovely blue/greeny dinner set that goes well with some bargain china i got from ebay for a few pounds..its has side plates big plates cups and saucers..i also like to charity shop for table cloths and napkins..thing is in England the charity shops have started to put the prices up on sometimes it works out cheaper to buy new..but i haven't given in to that yet.
    I love your center piece.its lovely..i have a silver candelabra..that i bought for £3 has 5 arms and is beautiful..when i remember to polish it.
    I hope you had a good thanksgiving..

  3. I wish I had inherited some china from my side of the family. Unfortunately, the everyday Corelle that my grandma gave me is as close as I'm ever going to get (and very much appreciated anyway). Out of four siblings, I'm the only one who had children (and am the only one who is going to have children from the looks of it), but my older sister, my mother and my younger sibs kept most everything that I might have inherited, so I kind of had to start pretty much from scratch on things to pass down to my children. They've sent me a few things throughout the years, but not many. Yet another way I learned to not put too much store in things and just pass love from one generation to the next.

    The few things that I have that have family history attached to them I take good care of and will pass to my children, but for the most part on both sides of the family we either have too much family to inherit things (on my husband's side) and my sister-in-laws get chosen to inherit first on everything that is household related and on my side...well I'm not quite sure why I didn't get things, but I learned not to take it personally :).