A table set with harvest colors.
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Take It Outside

A harvest table setting and Windsor-style chairs give dining room flair to a lakeside dock. Dress the table with sophisticated china, add a bountiful centerpiece, and pour a hearty glass of red wine to warm thankful spirits.

A place setting with bird illustrations, gold chargers and fresh flowers.
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Use the Good Stuff

Add elegance to your outdoor scene by incorporating fine china. Here, place settings showcase bird illustrations and detailed etchings in warm tones. Gold chargers, beaded napkin rings, and fresh blooms contrast with the rough-hewn pier and woodsy surroundings, giving the out-of-their-element pieces even more sophistication.

Seasonal Birds Dinnerware
$320 (20-piece service)
Available at Horchow

avian book and wine glass
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Get Back to Nature

Look for tabletop and flatware adorned with fall hues of flora and fauna. Avian-inspired dinnerware and bamboo-sculpted flatware are in perfect harmony with this outdoor setting.

Seasonal Birds Dinnerware
$320 (20-piece service)
Available at Horchow

Avian Book and Wine Glass
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Stay Grounded

Set the table with substantial décor that will resist breezy afternoons. A colorful woven floor runner takes the place of a wispy tablecloth. Flowers, anchored in oasis, are steadfast in a heavy ceramic bowl. And always, always, keep the wine glasses full.

Oil Latterns
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Light the Way

There's no need to fight waterfront winds. Oil lanterns take the place of candles for outdoor dining. And these camping necessities lend rusticity and practicality to the tabletop setting.

Natural Centerpiece
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Nature on Display

Create a centerpiece full of nature’s bounty: colorful leaves, berries, seedpods, and branches. Mix in a bit of indoor style with store-bought bouquets of lilies and mums.

Table Setting with Old Books
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Ponder the Universe

Spark campfire conversation with Audubon books and poetry readings. Fill a lull with timed, 30-second haiku contests:

Turkey and dressing...
Seconds, thirds, and back again
Need to take a walk.

Note: Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry consisting of 17 syllables broken into three metrical phrases (5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively) and typically containing a kigo, or seasonal reference.

A natural centerpiece.
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Kids' Table

Grownups may vie for a spot at this kid-friendly table. Set with personalized melamine plates and butcher paper stepping in as a tablecloth, this setting is all about carefree dining and quick cleanup.

Turkey Plates
$22 (each)
Available at My Clean Plate Club

Kids' Table with Crafts
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Get Crafty

Keep little hands busy with holiday projects in a "kids only" zone.

Cover a small table with butcher paper to minimize the mess. Stock the kids' station with beads, leaves, construction paper, plenty of crayons, glue, feathers, and googly eyes -- or anything else that catches your eye at the crafts store. Then, let them make a range of Thanksgiving-inspired crafts, from feathered headdresses to turkeys to colorful necklaces.

Tip: Use take-out boxes, plastic jars, and small bowls to hold all the crafting essentials.

Nature Scavenger Hunt
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Nature Hunt

Need an afternoon break? Send the kids out on a scavenger hunt for items from nature.

Have bags handy for little ones to fill with pine needles, colorful leaves, and bird feathers. When they return, record their findings and make a memory book.

Basket of Blankets
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Snuggle Up

Chase the chill with a basket of blankets. Always at the ready, these wool and fleece favorites offer warmth and a sense of nostalgia with their classic patterns.

Tote Go
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Tote and Go

A moveable feast is hassle-free when goodies are simple and easy to tow. Pack your favorites in a sturdy basket and off to the neighbor's you go.

Pilgrims and Indians
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Pilgrims and Indians

Teach the children about the first Thanksgiving by letting them dress the part. Then, set up a teepee for an afternoon of storytelling.

Meet Me in the Teepee
Available at The Land of Nod

A set of Adirondack chairs.
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Heat Things Up

Pull up some cozy Adirondack chairs -- complete with fuzzy throw pillows -- and heat up a brisk day outdoors. A round fire pit is just right for a family gathering.

Tip: If kids will be around, be sure to choose a fire pit that comes with a screen for added fire safety.

Toss Pillows
Available at Pendleton

Garden Treasures Fire Pit
Available at Lowe's

Plate Full of S'Mores
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Warm the Heart

It's the perfect campfire dessert that no kid should ever miss: the s'more. Though the origin is questionable (the Girl Scouts claim the gooey confection, calling it "Some More"), the taste is undeniably delicious.

(from Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, published 1927)
16 graham crackers
8 bars plain chocolate
16 marshmallows
8 sticks (for toasting the marshmallows)

Toast two marshmallows over the coals to a crisp gooey state, and then put them inside a graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich. The heat of the marshmallow between the halves of chocolate bar will melt the chocolate. Though you will probably want "some more," one is really enough.

Let Your Light Shine
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Let Your Light Shine

Prepare for a twilight hike or canoe cruise with camp-style oil lanterns. Lovely for tabletop and practical too, these hardware-store finds help bridge the afternoon into evening. Don’t forget to have cozy blankets and throws handy.

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