Whether you plan to prep weeks in advance or the day before, the truth is, nobody has a ton of extra time to get the Thanksgiving table set with all the bells and whistles.

Table coverings

Dyeing an old tablecloth is an easy way to update your table without spending a ton of money. And the longest part of the process is just giving it a good wash and dry post-dyeing. Give yourself 20 minutes to dye, throw it in the wash, and get back to what really counts – holiday shopping, baking cookies, and just generally running around like a mad person. See how Brittni updated hers over on Paper & Stitch.

For an even simpler project, grab a roll of butcher or packaging paper as seen on Lemon Thistle. This works particularly well for all the mismatched tables you might have out to accommodate all your guests. For a little personalization, use a Sharpie or paint pen to draw each place setting, no dry time needed.

Or cut down the butcher paper into fun placemats with white accents. You won’t need chargers or anything fancy to get your table ready for feasting. Check out the full dinner spread over on The Tomcat Studio.

Place settings

Adding a simple card stock print out won’t take much time, especially since Bless’er House has provided a free downloadable PDF. Make your table setting more meaningful and give guests time to think about all they are thankful for this season. Not to mention, it could make for a great conversation starter.

If you can spare an extra hour (or less), snag some twigs and branches from the backyard or sidewalk and make these wintery place card holders from Martha Stewart. All you need are some trimmings, shears, hot glue, card stock and a pen. If you have a Home Depot or tree lot nearby, you can usually get trimmings for free – plus, you can use the leftovers for a beautiful centerpiece or wreath.

Of if you have leftover mini pumpkins from Halloween, reuse them for these simple labels (or sub them for place cards) by adding wooden skewers. Check out A Fabulous Fete to see how easy they are.


If you aren’t up for buying fancy cloth napkins for all your guests but aren’t a fan of paper napkins, make your own using cheap dish towels. Believe it or not, they don’t take much time to make – maybe an hour or two – as you just have to cut them in half and hem one side on each napkin. Kaley Ann has the tutorial.

Or forget the sewing and dyeing and focus on the presentation. Flax & Twine suggests a no-sew braided yarn napkin ring to bring a soft but worthy addition to your table. Finish off with a sprig of rosemary or seeded eucalyptus.

Go more rustic-modern with these leather and beaded napkin rings. Based on The Merrythought’s tutorial, it’s safe to say you won’t have to spend much time (or money) to make your napkins ready for the grand occasion.


Wheat is big this year, but it can feel a little bland on it’s own. The solution? Do a quick wrap with embroidery floss in a fun fall color palette like this centerpiece from Inspired by Charm. If this seems too time consuming for you, I bet you could bribe a kid or two to give you an extra hand.

Of course we can’t leave out pumpkins for Thanksgiving decor. My suggestion for making this project come together in a jiffy? Send the kids (or spouse) outside to scoop out the pumpkin guts while you prep food, and then fill with your favorite seasonal florals. You could also snag a few post-Halloween faux pumpkins from the sale rack, cut the top off, and fill for an even more efficient project. Check out Zevy Joy for the how-to.

How do you get your Thanksgiving table ready in time for dinner?

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