Creating an Elegant Thanksgiving Table on a Budget

Thanksgiving full table


By Bernadette Noll

It’s your turn to host Thanksgiving this year, and you want it to be perfect. First, excitement sets in, then maybe a little panic, as you realize you don’t even have enough dishes for your little family, let alone an entire tableful of guests. No pressure, right?

You’ve totally got this! Goodwill is there to help make sure you can dress up your table WITHOUT spending a lot. Take a deep breath, and follow these simple steps for setting a lovely, affordable Thanksgiving table – Goodwill style!
table set with white cloth and china

  1. tray tablesTHE TABLE. Do you have one? Is it big enough? Do you need some smaller ones for the kids or a buffet? Many Goodwill stores carry furniture and you can find a table (or a few extra chairs) starting as low as $4.99.
  2. THE TABLECLOTH. A nice tablecloth goes a long way in making even a not-so-pretty table look festive. If you can’t find a tablecloth you like, search the linens section for a pretty sheet or other large swath of fabric that will do the job. tablecloth assortment
    stack of paper tableclothes

    If you prefer paper or vinyl, many Goodwill stores have a supply of seasonal paper goods available, starting at just $1.99.
  3. THE DISHWARE. While it might be difficult to find all the dishes you want in one style, go with a color theme instead. For this table, I chose white for a classic modern look. place setting of light china with dark rim
    But there are many color palettes to choose from, and you can use a beautiful array of mismatched, color-themed dishes. Beautiful!
    various place settings
  4. THE GLASSWARE. Whether you need wine, champagne, or water glasses, they are plentiful in all shapes and sizes. To match the classic look I was creating, I found simple wine glasses for just 99¢ each, and added canning jars for water glasses.
    shelves of glassware
  5. glass serving dishesTHE SILVERWARE & SERVING DISHES. Most of us have silverware and serving utensils, but adding a few never hurts! Extra serving bowls and dishes are good to have on hand for guests that bring their dishes in plastic ware.
    racks of serving utensils
  6. candle sticksTHE TABLETOP DÉCOR. Candlesticks or flower vases can transform your table from dowdy to dramatic. Most Goodwill stores have a variety to choose from. You may even find candles (I did, starting at just 99¢).
  7. THE TURKEY. While they don’t sell the turkey, turkey platters and serving dishes are so plentiful at Goodwill, the hardest part was choosing which one! This large platter was just $6.99.
    large china platter
  8. OTHER SEASONAL DÉCOR. Before your guests arrive, don’t forget to add a touch of the season around your entire home. Goodwill makes it easy to find the seasonal items you need, from wreaths to gourds! colorful gourds

christmas treesSo before you start food shopping, do some Goodwill shopping! Your home will be beautiful and festive, without breaking the bank. And don’t forget to come back soon for your tree!

cranberry wreath




Goodwill Tulsa, November 17, 2015

This looks beautiful, amazing, all that! The sheet-music runner would be a year-round hit.
Would you extend the mismatching to the dinnerware in case you couldn’t find a complete set?

Karen Nance, April 05, 2016

I shop Goodwill for so many things!  I have been collecting candlesticks from there!  I have so many that I have to start painting and decorating with them soon.  Most are very ugly right now, but I hope to transform them into works of art!

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