The design firm where I work holds an annual Thanksgiving Feast the week before Thanksgiving. It has become one of the most beloved company events that we do. And I have the honor of organizing it every year (two things that I love: organizing and entertaining!). The shindig is pretty much a cookie cutter event, duplicating things we have done successfully over the past 7+ years that we've been having The Feast.
It's a pot luck meal, with employees covering all the standard Thanksgiving fare. And the company buys the ham and turkey. We have favorites that make their appearance year after year, and as new employees join our ranks, new dishes are introduced and added to the annual list of must-haves. In addition to the table as a place to congregate, we've also made a fake fireplace out of foamcore — complete with light-bulb-lit fireplace logs — surrounded by our big leather club chairs. I bring in granny square and colorful ripple afghans from home to throw over the chairs, adding a warm, homey feel to our office space.
My favorite part of the whole thing is that I get to design the table decor. We rent long banquet tables. We have an abundance of these white chairs from Ikea. Our office space is spectacular (a converted train roundhouse) and its sheer size lends itself to doing a long family table. The tablecloths are painter drop cloths which we purchased, cut and sewed to size (same drop cloths I used to make my bedroom curtains). In the past I've done tablescapes using fall themes, but this year I was feeling a connection to home and family. I decided to put to use my own collection of vintage floral tins and go with flowers in all white. Courtney Garvin, one of our designers, has a green thumb, a natural talent for floral design, and access to a wholesale florist. She handles all floral arranging at every Feast. (And as you can see in the one picture, she has also, as of late, been hooked on the PBS series Windsor Castle, where the staff measures the space between table and chair so that everything lines up perfectly.) We usually get a turkey breast, but this year we went with a 20-pound turkey (and you can see we even made the leg frills!) . . . another nod to making the event feel more homey and family.
The tins evoke a sense of going to grandma's. There were lots of comments like "oh I like this one best," that made me think of going to my own Nana's, and my sister and I fighting over which juice glass we'd get or which washcloth was ours for bathtime. The colors of the tins work so beautifully with the white flowers. A very serene feel, perfect for a relaxing meal filled with an overabundance of good food, good company and good conversation. We are blessed.
[Photos courtesy of co-worker and photographer extraordinaire David Naugle]