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Happy Thanksgiving (And How Birdie and I Decorated For Our Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dinner)

Like many people, our usual thanksgiving was canceled. We’ve done the last 20 years at Brian’s parent’s house in Sacramento with all the cousins, aunts, uncles and it’s the ONLY time of year that we all get together and it’s an EXTREMELY fun day. Like epically fun. But 30 people, from 8 different households (and a few college students) wasn’t a great/safe idea this year. So a couple of months ago we all decided to cancel but planned on still going up and having it be super small – just us, Brian’s brother, and his parents. But two weeks ago, heeding all the warnings, especially with the crazy spike we decided even that was risky. So instead we are having a very small family thanksgiving here, which is totally fine and worth the non-risk. I want it to feel at least a little bit special, so Birdie and I planned out how we would set the table, and she really wanted to help and even make things for it. I was in heaven. It was the first real time that she and I collaborated on how something should be styled, and I let her really take the lead (while guiding her towards certain things obviously). Here’s how it turned out:

Sherpa | Vintage Fabric Table Cloth (similar) | Candle Holder| Candles | Vase (similar) | Wine Glass | Water Glass | Flatware | Placemats | Plates | Oversized Stripe Pillow | Sherpa Pillows | Faux Fur Lumbar Pillow | Wood Garland | Napkins

She took it so seriously, it took 3 hours of our undivided attention and it was so fun I can’t even tell you. This girl loves to ‘help’ more than I thought possible for a kid. And not for like just 10 minutes, she FINISHES the job (even with cooking she is so invested). I taught her where everything goes, how to fold napkins, and even how to stand back and look at it all together and edit. At one point she said ‘mama, I think there is too much going on’ and she was RIGHT. We used what we had on hand and it turned out pretty darn cute. I think when you collect a certain style of stuff for a certain style of house it can just look good together when thrown on the same table.

I’ve been hoarding vintage plaid (this Japanese fabric is from Etsy) for a long time so I threw that down as the tablecloth which feels super cozy (even though it’s very ripped) and “fall” in a fun way. The leather chargers I’ve had for a couple of years (from Target) and the plates and flatware are our Made by Design everyday dinner plates. Of course, I wanted to buy some more handmade stoneware plates (and salad plates) but we don’t need or want them post-thanksgiving, so these white ones will do just fine (plus they are so lightweight and easy to wash in the dishwasher).

And then we foraged for fall leaves and branches for each place setting and the centerpiece which was VERY “fall.”

My Dress | Birdie’s Dress (unavailable)

I had these cute little tags that Birdie wanted to use as place cards (not that we needed them) and she wrote all our names and even a little drawing of ‘thanksgiving’ (turkey, leaf, heart, etc). They were SO CUTE. We threw on some candles (Birdie made the pillar that is wrapped in leaves and twine) and I already had those colorful tapers, in these candle holders I bought last year.

Now here’s a photo a little farther back so you can really get the whole picture of what it looks like:

It was VERY thrown together and no, Sara did not come to professionally shoot this (and I tried hard not to care too much about the styling being perfect), hence the slightly crooked candles. Or maybe it’s the new way to achieve the “organic, effortless, thrown-together” kind of look we had no choice but to go for since it was so last minute. Here’s another angle with (slightly) straighter candles:

All in all, Birdie was so proud of it that she wanted to get photos “for my portfolio” (I DIED WHEN SHE SAID THAT) so we went ahead and set the whole table so we could take better photos. I want to permanently bottle up and save forever the pride that she exuded, and I’ll start by framing one of these photos…

It’s a different thanksgiving this year and I know there are a lot of mixed feelings out there. Our household hopes that you are all staying safe, cozy, and filling your day however you want. Cooking or not, family or not, hopefully next year we can have an EPIC family thanksgiving in a safer world. xx

For more info & resources on our dining nook (or if you want to see it styled out for everyday) click on this post 🙂

Design by Emily and Elliot Henderson:)

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2 years ago

How lovely! She did an excellent job!!

2 years ago

I enjoyed reading this post so much. Birdie’s candle looks great!

I went for a walk looking for fallen leaves and nuts to use on my table yesterday, but all the leaves in my neighborhood were brown (I might just use them anyway). You’re lucky to have colorful leaves where you are. Will these last until tomorrow, or will you be picking up more? Enjoy your meal tomorrow!

2 years ago

Great job Birdie! (and mom). I love it so much!

2 years ago

What a cutie pie!

As a healthcare worker, can I please just say thank you to your family for making the difficult but ABSOLUTELY SELFLESS AND CORRECT decision to stay home?

Thank you for giving me something awesome to entertain myself in the tub, with a cocktail, at 3pm after a LOOONG short week of work.

Cheers to the Henderson family.

2 years ago

That couldn’t be sweeter! Happy Thanksgiving.

2 years ago

Well done!

2 years ago

How special for you!!! This makes up for sooo much bad this year…just spending a few hours with your girl. Not a toddler, but a girl with plenty of opinions and thoughts of her own. That transition is so wondrous and you end up wishing you could freeze time so that it’s right there when you want it. But of course it is…a precious memory that will always be with you. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

2 years ago

I love that “mom too much going on”

2 years ago

photos for her portfolio!!!!! this post is what the world needs right now

2 years ago

The table setting looks great but what really comes through in this post is your love and pride in adorable Birdie. So glad you both could make this memory in these hard times.

2 years ago

This post is so sweet. Made me tear up a little! Your love and pride in Birdie really shines through. What special memories <3

Kristine C.
2 years ago

Such a lovely story. And the attention span of such a young girl is really impressive. It’s evident that Birdie really loved what she was doing. Brings back fond memories of my kids at that age. sniff.

Heather Obrien
2 years ago

Love the sherpa sheepskins on the dining chairs!!! Cost Plus World Market and IKEA also have them. I have a large one from Costco covering a comfy old leather club chair. You will not be able to stop running your fingers through them.

shannon fleming-wood
2 years ago

i loved this. thank you for the sweetness!

2 years ago

What a lovely post! Thank you, Emily. I loved everything about it—eco friendly, Birdie’s pride, and the COVID safety. And it’s so pretty!

I hope my 16 y.o. daughter will join me in similar activity for our household-only table when she wakes up later today 🙂

2 years ago

Freakin’ adorable.
And as a (now retired) HCW, thank you so much for staying home.

2 years ago

The rwo photos that made me cry happy, happy tears are the one of yourwo at the table and the one of you two from behind, walking gand in hand collecting your design bounty for your table! Gah! Beautiful! 💜

I’ve decided (given my current situational ex-relationship/living predicament: no Christmas tree, birthday next week that I wish was already gone…) that, even though Thanksgivibg is not a thing in Australia…
NEXT YEAR I’M CLINGING TO MY BORN IN THE USA HERITAGE AND HOSTING A THANKSGIVING FOR MY FR-R-RAMILY (family and friends who are family), specifically those dear souls who’ve very secretly helped me for months to get out of this coercive control!!!
I am giving thanks, forever.

veronica crawford
2 years ago

this is so sweet!! turned out great 🙂

Inês Seabra
2 years ago

This is just adorable and absolutely perfect. Crooked candles and all.

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

That is so sweet and this is a memory she will cherish for the rest of her life. Happy Thanksgiving!

2 years ago

Looks great! Why 8 place settings if there are 4 people in your family

2 years ago
Reply to  Paul

She says towards the end of the post that they set the whole table so that they could get better photos…

Gabrielle Murphy
2 years ago

Beautiful and sounded like a bunch of fun!! I love the sheepskin on the chairs.

Can you share info on the chairs?

2 years ago

This might just be my favorite post of yours ever. There’s is nothing like that moment when you first see your kids becoming themselves <3

Olivia Jane
2 years ago

This is so special, I teared up! And Birdie is already a pro. She can style my table any time!

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