Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family, not just the immediate group, but also extended relatives like Uncle John, whom you haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving, and, if you’re lucky, the hanai twins who are in their teens and try to skirt every family gathering possible.
With all expected to show, the pressure to perform and impress may be on. But Cathy Lee, founder of RSVPstyle.com said, "Anything goes — as long as it is laid out with love."
She offers a couple of tips for setting the holiday table.
"Hawaii tends to be casual, but Thanksgiving is the time to make it just a little bit more formal and special," Lee said.
For holiday table top and decorating ideas, visit C.S. Wo and check out the "Home for the Holidays" display, a partnership with Neiman Marcus.
The exhibit runs through Nov. 28 during store hours, 10 to 7 p.m. weekdays; 10 to 6 p.m. weekends.
She said most have a 12-piece china set given as a wedding gift or handed down from Mom and tend to think they won’t have enough settings for a big family gathering.
"But don’t be afraid to mix and match when it comes to china; have fun with it. Ask your sister or brother and mother to borrow their sets, and it will bring in the memories of who gave it to them or when they bought it and they can share those memories with others there."
She suggests using a simple tablecloth, white or neutral in tone, to help make the eclectic combination cohesive. "If there’s ever a time to use a tablecloth, it’s Thanksgiving," Lee said.
Flatware and centerpieces should be simple as well, not fussy.
"If you’re doing mixed china, use clear crystalware. They don’t have to match."
Also, "Get the kids involved in the tradition," she said. "Have them write a little message to family members and say what they are thankful for."
Her daughter, Nicki, 11, helps with place cards and place settings. "She loves to write notes to people; she’s my inspiration for that one." As such, a simple phrase on a note card like "Grandma, I’m so thankful for the chicken soup you make" can be attached with raffia to the silverware, and you have a lovely place card, Lee said.
The main thing is to try and personalize the holiday, "from your place cards to mixing your china with your family’s collection," she said. "We should focus on the spirit of the holiday and make it about family and not have it too stuffy."