A Small Thanksgiving & Making the Effort

For the last couple of years, we’ve decided to stay home for Thanksgiving instead of making the loooong trek to Kentucky in a crowded mini-van.  And, it’s nice.  There’s something to be said for not spending every second of your vacation traveling and just being home, with little to do and few places to go.


Thanksgiving table 


So, it’s just us for Thanksgiving dinner.  And, while I envision everyone sitting down to a beautifully set table and a real meal (like the kind with more than one side) that everyone eats and then ask for seconds, I know the reality will most likely be different. 

Either way, I think it’s still important to make the effort when our kids are little.  I like the idea of making holidays feel special, even if it’s just the seven of us, and even if they’d be happier eating a whole meal of Cheese-Its than green bean casserole.  I like the idea of starting traditions with them now, even if it turns into a fiasco, with hair-pulling and whining. 


black and gold Thanksgiving table setting


And, I like the idea idea of sitting a pretty table for the occasion—keeping it simple, of course.  For this set up, I added little touches of black and gold by spray painting some apples (easy!) and adding a cute new set of owl salt and pepper shakers.


I also made these placecard/postcards by using this free printable and taping on an old family photo.  (For bigger family gatherings, these could be good conversation starters, and guests could write what they’re thankful for on the back. . . )


Thanksgiving place holder


If your Thanksgiving celebration is small, what do you do to still make it special? 


sponsor divider


Thanks to Target for partnering with me on creating #MyKindOfHoliday and providing me with a gift card.  You know Target is one of my favorite places, anyway, and a great stop if you need to make your Thanksgiving table special (whether your kids appreciate it or not).  See more of their holiday entertaining collection here:



  1. says

    Great minds!!! I just wrote about this yesterday! I’m doing the same thing for our little family of 3 the day before Thanksgiving (when we spend our day traveling to at least 4 different destinations). I dream of hosting big dinner parties, but don’t have the space, so I thought this would be the next best thing. Even challenging myself to a table setting and meal on a budget!

  2. says

    I love that photo idea, that is lovely! I think it’s wonderful to make a big deal of a holiday even if it’s for 2, or 7 in your case :) I started the tradition of going around the room and making everyone say what they’re thankful for years ago, everyone groans but I think they all secretly love that I do it every year. Enjoy your day and enjoy not traveling!!

  3. says

    Thank you Emily. I love the “give thanks” cards with family photos. This will be our first Thanksgiving without my dad and I am determined to be thankful for the 47 Thanksgiving dinners we shared instead of focusing on the empty chair at the dinner table. I would love to follow your lead and make these cards. Can you please share the details of how you set the image to print on one side and what paper you used? Thank you.

    • says

      Stephanie–I’m sorry about your dad.

      I actually didn’t print the photos on them. I just printed the free printable graphic on gold-colored card stock paper. (I have a book of it–I think I got it at Target or maybe Big Lots?) Then, I just cut it out, leaving an equal amount of gold card stock showing where I taped on the picture.

  4. says

    Your table looks great and it’s so nice to hear that you will make it special, despite the normal mayhem of little ones around the table. I truly believe in my heart that the stage is set for holiday reverence and tradition when kids are really young. You will be giving them such a gift to learn that holidays are a great way to express love and respect for family and friends. I hope yours is wonderful.

  5. says

    You had me cracking up with the “more than one side” and “green beans instead of cheese-its.” I have no idea what you’re talking about. :)

    Such a beautiful tablescape! Great work as always!

  6. says

    In my opinion, it’s the traditions that really matter. A smell, taste, or song brings back such a rush of great memories. They’re what I cherish the most from my childhood no matter how little or silly!

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