Holiday Tablesettings!

Holiday Tablesettings!

I was told that several of my interviews were to be found on the internet, This is one of them from November , 2000 originally published the Cleveland Plain Dealer!

Don’t forget special table settings,

Sunday, November 19, 2000



  Turkey, stuffing and cranberries aren’t the only important Thanksgiving dishes.

There are also bowls, platters and plates to consider.

A turkey dinner and all its fixings deserve a beautifully set table, said Boo Geist, a sales associate at Potter and Mellen, a Cleveland china and jewelry shop. A well-dressed table not only complements the meal, it makes guests feel more welcome, said Beth Schreibman Gehring, president of Schreibman Jewelers East.

Take the extra time to create a beautiful table, particularly if your guests are "just family," urged Schreibman Gehring.

"They’re the ones whom it’s worth going to all that trouble for," she said.

Like your Thanksgiving menu, table trimmings require a bit of advance planning. If you’re tired of pulling out the Tom Turkey platter and salt and pepper shakers, there are other ways to set a table that says Thanksgiving.


Tap into the natural elements of fall and the harvest, Geist suggested. Serving pieces in greens, browns and oranges or trimmed with leaves, birds or nuts lend a fall feel to your table, she said. Chargers, or accent plates that sit under dinner plates, can give any china a fall look. Centerpieces made from fruit, vegetables or gourds work well for Thanksgiving.

Look at the colors in your china pattern and determine a fall color that complements it, Geist said. Don’t be afraid to introduce new patterns or colors onto your table. If you inherited grandma’s gravy boat, use it. The history and tradition associated with the piece will conjure up the sentimental feelings associated with Thanksgiving.

"Mixing and matching is today’s trend," Geist said.

People often are afraid to introduce new colors onto their table, Schreibman Gehring said. She suggests taking a plate to the fabric store or the paint store to see what colors it matches. Holding the dish next to a full palette will inspire new uses for color on your table, she said.

Warm with color Color can warm up modern black dinnerware. Adding yellow, rust, taupe or red pieces will create a look that’s seasonal and modern, said Adam Norris, one of the owners of Secret Closet, a new home decor store in North Olmsted.

Often Schreibman Gehring hears from women who have grown tired of their china but are unable to replace it. Schreibman Gehring, who grew up working in the store, encourages them to consider chargers, glassware and linens to change the look. A gold charger under a plate gives the piece a formal look while a wood grain charger makes it more casual.

Glassware also can create a new look. Colored glassware can highlight a particular color in your china. Adding a festive champagne glass to the table is another way to change the mood, Schreibman Gehring said. Mix different styles and colors of glassware, she said.

"I love colored glassware. I use it all the time. It just sings," Schreibman Gehring said.

When introducing new colors, use linens to pull the pieces together, Geist said. Linens are a crucial part of the table dressing, she said.

Don’t limit yourself to traditional tablecloths, said Schreibman Gehring, who has used blankets, hemmed fabric and scarves as table covers. "I like to use a lot of color and texture," she said.

Too often the tablecloth is an afterthought, she said.

"The tablecloth is really the canvas for the whole table and so often people just have a plain white tablecloth. That’s fine. It just doesn’t create something new and exciting," she said.

Centerpieces also add excitement to the table. Geist suggests finding your table decorations outside. Cut down an evergreen bough or branch of fall leaves and nestle pumpkins, gourds, pine cones or candles around. Gather feathers and put them in a vase. Fill a bowl with bright orange kumquats. Use other fruits and a basket to create a cornucopia.

"Be a little creative about it," she said.

Once your centerpiece is in place, sit in every seat to see if it obstructs the view across the table.

To avoid the overwhelming centerpiece, Schreibman Gehring sometimes creates individual centerpieces. She’ll use demitasses filled with flowers, miniature terra-cotta plants stuffed with nuts or mini-loaves of bread trimmed in ribbon.

A glass hurricane globe turned on its side becomes a great low centerpiece, Schreibman Gehring said. Anchor it with some apples or Indian corn and fill it with greenery, pine cones or flowers.

Instead of putting a napkin on the dinner plate, consider laying a stick across the plate, said Marc Goohs of Secret Closet. He suggested a tray full of warm-colored candles and leaves, two or three decorated grapevine wreaths lying flat on the table with bowls of food in the middle and fall-themed topiaries as possible centerpieces.

If you opt for candles on your table, use unscented ones. Scented candles might fight with the food smells, Goohs said.

Homemade centerpieces fit nicely with Thanksgiving, said Schreibman Gehring, who has paid a florist to do Christmas arrangements but prefers to do her own on Thanksgiving.

"Thanksgiving is really associated with nurturing," she said. "Nobody deserves beauty and enchantment and grace more than your family does."


Phone: (216) 999-4240


©2000 THE PLAIN DEALER. Used with permission.


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