Thanksgiving doesn’t need to be the same old song and dance each year.
Sure, things like turkey and family-style settings may always make an appearance at the table, but there’s a way to breathe fresh air into the holiday. And that’s by doing less—yep, I said it. Edit down your menu and stow away those knick-knacks. A simple and clean (dare I say, minimalist?) Thanksgiving dinner allows for less distraction and more time to focus on what matters most: The people around you. Oh, and the food, too.
Whether minimalism is your middle name or you’re still hoping to clean out that kitchen junk drawer, we’ve rounded up our favorite simple and chic Thanksgiving ideas for your celebration this year.
Simply Beautiful Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas
Scaling down the menu doesn’t mean serving measly portions. After all, you are going to want to save some leftovers! Narrow down your list to 4-5 list of your cant-live-without it dishes and put your time and energy into these. For instance, this recipe for Green Bean Bundles with a sugar and white wine vinegar dressing was a Test Kitchen favorite. Not only will the presentation delight your guests, the sauce gives the bacon-wrapped beans an addictive sweet-and-sour kick. The perfect mix of style and substance!
A simple menu will also give you more time to put care into the quality of the ingredients you buy. Maybe this year, opt for a heritage turkey or one that’s pasture-raised. Instead of frozen or canned foods, source your ingredients from local producers. (It’ll make sides like mashed cauliflower and minted beet salad shine!) Or splurge on a fig spread that will elevate your dinner rolls. You’ll find yourself with a wonderful story to tell at dinnertime—and the food will taste fantastic, too.
Taste of Home
Some people can take minimalism to an extreme and be left with something that’s cold and sterile—but where’s the fun in that? With extra time and energy, a non-traditional Thanksgiving feast like this is the perfect time to try sport out new recipes. Our Test Kitchen fell in love with Salty Dog Sangria. It’s a mix of grapefruit, ginger ale, vodka, simple syrup and wine that tastes super refreshing. Dip your glasses in a mixture of salt-and grated grapefruit peel to take it over-the-top.
Test Kitchen Tip: Try to find salt that is as coarse as possible. Regular table salt can be very salty and overpower the flavor of the sangria.
Check out our best (and most-beautiful) Thanksgiving recipes for more inspiration.
Simply Beautiful Thanksgiving Decorations
Take this quote from style icon Coco Chanel, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” It sounds silly, but the same advice can be applied to your Thanksgiving table. Remove any extra garlands or towering centerpieces from your decor lineup. To start our look, we chose a simple white linen tablecloth which gave the entire table a clean slate to build upon. Then, we elevated a few basic items. For example, everyday flatware was swapped out for this stunning rose-gold set and these glittering stemless rose gold wine glasses from Pier 1 replaced the standard wine glass.
To fill out the table, try adding thoughtful decorations that won’t draw too much attention away from the turkey or mashed potatoes. We kept things modern with geometric gold accents. The transparent edges of these pieces helped ease the clutter! You can find all of the products to recreate this look here.
How to Give Thanks: Pumpkin Pass
Even when you’re hosting something simple, all of the planning and a house filled with guests can distract you from the true meaning of the holiday: giving thanks. Bring this feel-good Thanksgiving activity to the table:
• Purchase a small faux pumpkin—preferably one that’s white!
• Decorate the front by writing “Thankful” in permanent marker.
• During the party, pass the pumpkin and a marker around to all of your friends and family so they can add their own thanks.
Want More Ideas? Find Your Thanksgiving Style.
Transform your table this holiday by planning your Thanksgiving feast around one of our fun (and delicious!) themes. Take our quiz to find the perfect menu, stunning tablescape decorations and more—all based off of your personality.