For most holiday hosts, Thanksgiving is all about the food.

They slave away for hours, cutting, prepping, basting, and baking, and when all is said and done, they hurriedly dig in — desperate to eat up before the turkey gets cold and the last slice of pie is scooped up by Uncle John.

It’s understandable, but the truth is, Thanksgiving shouldn’t just be a race to the end of the meal. It should be a time to enjoy, revel in gratitude, and catch up with friends, family, and loved ones — and the right table setting can encourage just that.

Want a more enjoyable meal this year? Here’s how to set the perfect Thanksgiving table:

  • Have a seating arrangement. Put thought into who should sit where and by whom. You want guests to feel comfortable and have plenty to talk about, so think carefully, and use simple white place cards to make seats easy to find.
  • Offer cloth napkins. Paper napkins might be budget-friendly, but they’re not great at cleaning up messy gravy or whipped cream from pumpkin pie. Make it easy for your guests to dig in wholeheartedly, but still keep clean in the process.
  • Avoid the pressure. To keep it nice and relaxed, avoid the fancy china and the expensive wine glasses. These will only make guest anxious about breaking something or making a mess. Instead, invest in a natural-looking wood plate, and hard plastic champagne flutes. These still have a classic look, but don’t come with all the pressure.
  • Add natural elements. Go natural when it comes to your table decor. Consider gourds, seasonal leaves, and flowers, or even berries for centerpieces, and use herbs like rosemary and thyme as garnishes on your napkins and settings.
  • Consider a non-white tablecloth or runner. White table clothes are just waiting to be spilled on or stained, and they can make guests feel on edge. Instead, consider a linen cloth in a light tan or brown — something still seasonal but able to withstand spills and messes better. If you have a solid wood table, a simple runner can suffice.

This year, don’t get caught up in all that busywork in the kitchen. Spend some time setting up a cozy, candlelit table where you — and your loved ones — can enjoy that slaved-over meal.

Need cash to renovate or upgrade your kitchen or dining area before next year’s Thanksgiving? Contact an Embrace loan officer today to see if a cash-out refinance is right for you.