Carleton Varney: Thanksgiving table takes planning, too.

Carleton Varney: Thanksgiving table takes planning, too.

By Carleton Varney

Special to the Daily News

In November, “T” is for turkey — be it Tom Turkey or Tina Turkey – but “T” also is for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. Everyone I know loves Thanksgiving Day. The day conjures up so many memories and scenes — I always think about that famous Constable painting depicting the hay cart being pulled across a meadow road, with the idyllic stone house in the distance.

Whatever memory arises in your mind when you think about Thanksgiving Day, I hope it will be a very happy one.

Thanksgiving Day always brings to my decorating mind two other “T’s” — tabletop and tablescape. I’ve always liked the latter term. Now, some folks say my decorating colleagues and I create room-scapes, while painters tackle landscapes and seascapes. But during the holidays, especially, tablescapes get top billing in my book.

Think of designing your Thanksgiving tablescape as you would a room. Find a background color that you love and one that suits your dining room décor — perhaps pumpkin, cranberry, leaf green or white — and use it for your tablecloth. Whatever the cloth’s hue, I suggest topping it with a lace tablecloth, for this is the time to bring back some memories as you create your tablescape.

The lace may be relatively new, but it also might have belonged to your great grandmother, dating back to the time when lace crafts were the rage and an appropriate cover for the family feast. I’m hoping the two-layer effect might spark a peek-a-boo memory or two among your family or friends.

Choose your best china service for this special day, be it a Copenhagen blue on white or a contemporary Lenox pattern of blacks and golds. If you are a collector of fine porcelain, perhaps it’s a china pattern of kings and folks like Catherine the Great. Bring out your Floradora with the

Colorful napkins

Set your table with happy colored napkins, maybe cranberry for the season or leaf green or even black. Choose a napkin color that stands out, that says, “Look at me!” — no need to match it to your tablecloth. “Lapkins,” which are slightly more rectangular in size, are the choice of many a hostess, for they cover more lap surface than a napkin. Linen designers are constantly thinking of and creating new designs.

The holiday also calls for using the best silver service you own, perhaps your favorite Hampton design from Tiffany and Co. or the elaborately detailed Kings pattern, which is among my personal favorites. Whatever your silver pattern, now is the time to polish it up and show off its sparkle. You may not agree, but I find polishing silver a fun pastime. Maybe I’m crazy, but crazy for polishing silver I am.

On Thanksgiving Day, I think tables call for silver candelabra or simple silver candlesticks, or even small votive candles set into glass cups, even amber-colored ones. Plenty of sparkle — plus low seasonal floral arrangements that allow conversation to flow — will help make your celebration even more special.

A beautiful, seasonal tablescape always suits me to a T.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


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