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A $0 Thanksgiving Place Setting: Using What You Already Have

I was pretty content to enjoy my fall decor here at home...until I went to Target yesterday. I found myself engulfed in Christmas decor, with aisles laden with adorable mini Christmas trees, snowflake pillows, Santa plates and all manner of North Pole tabletop decorations that were unique and on-trend. Suddenly, I felt like fall was over, and I needed to get home and dig out all my Christmas decorations right now...and buy a few new ones on the way.

The thing is, I love fall...and especially Thanksgiving. Temps here in the Houston area have just dipped into the 50s for the fist time all season so it feels like autumn. How had I gone from happiness with what I had to coveting a whole new look within a few short minutes?

Step away from the shopping cart, I told myself. Reluctantly I backed away from all the holiday cheer and left with the floor cleaner and toothbrushes I came in for.

As an organizer, I see how the quest for more stuff can bury people. Holiday decorations can be particularly overwhelming. People collect them over a lifetime and, because of the emotional attachment we naturally have to the holidays and the memories they hold, it can be very difficult to part with them. The pumpkin soup tureens and oversized Santa cookie platters take up valuable storage space, and each season we are bombarded with the newest holiday items that beg to be taken home, adding to the avalanche of stuff.

While there's no denying it's fun to shop and decorate with the latest trends, doing so regularly leads to owning and storing a lot of stuff. Eventually there can be so much stuff, we may not be able to locate or remember what we have.

I returned home with fresh eyes, taking a new look around my house to see how I could make the most of what I already had and enjoy the moment of the current season.

Since our Thanksgiving is all about the food and family, I focused on my dining table. I'm a big fan of solid white dinnerware, and I usually start there. Here I used my wedding china from 1995. I love my versatile rattan chargers from Target, purchased several years ago, for the texture they add. My wedding flatware is a classic neutral pattern that I still like just as much today as I did 23 years ago. I also included copper mugs, which are great for the color and warmth they add.

The goal: setting a beautiful Thanksgiving table without spending any money. Take a look at a few of the results:

Here's the breakdown of what I used, where I got it and approximately how long ago:

- Denim tablecloth: Wedding gift from 23 years old

- Gray tablecloth: Homegoods last spring

- Beige striped tablecloth: Remnant from a reupholstery project - Blue and white dessert plates: We have a mismatched collection that includes items passed down from my grandparents, from our travels, or simply purchased at Homegoods or Tuesday Morning

- Turkey placemats and plaid napkins: Pottery Bard Kids, about 20 years ago

- Pumpkin pie plates: A gift from my mother about 6 years ago

- Copper napkin rings: Homegoods last spring - Brass chalkboard napkin rings: Target several years ago

- Red napkins: Homegoods several years ago

- White napkins with black stitching: Target last fall

- Gray napkins: Homegoods last spring

- Red leaf and berry garland: TJ Maxx, about 10 years ago

- Greenery: Cut from our flowerbeds

The end result: With a few basic pieces that have stood the test of time, I was able to create several different looks for our table, including some that would be fun for a kids' table. The looks range from simple and elegant, to colorful and bold, to kid-friendly.

I was able to pull it off rather quickly because I used neutrals like white plates and simple chargers. The rest of my supplies were stored and well organized so I could grab what I was looking for without spending time digging around.

Which place settings do you like? What do you have on hand that can can be creatively used this season?

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