"Simplicity" is the word of the season at Twist, a Rogue Valley interior-styling company owned by Jennifer Bright and Laurel Walter.
This year, Bright and Walter look to neutral fabrics, notes of nature and hints of homespun history to accent the welcoming warmth of the holidays.
Keep it simple with burlap and dropcloths. Dress tables in white tablecloths (to the floor if possible) and add a burlap overlay or burlap runner. Or reverse it.
"Burlap not only looks great, it's inexpensive," says Walter. "Same with dropcloths — we are using them for curtains, tablecloths, etc."
Fruit, vegetables and leaves arranged down the middle of the table is simple and gorgeous, with or without flowers.
"Go to the market and see what's fresh," says Walter, who is drawn to figs, dark grapes and zinnias or a runner of Rogue Valley pears and nuts.
"If you have access to a persimmon tree, this alone can be stunning. Just cut branches with persimmons attached and lay across the center of the table."
The idea also works well with apple branches. For an arrangement, place the branches in a vase or pitcher, strewing some fruit on the table.
Pare it down even more by filling a bucket with red apples and using leaves gathered from the yard as a runner — that's all you need.
Use what you have, says Walter.
"Break out the china or mix and match," she says. "Always vary the height and size of your serving pieces as to not be boring."
Invite family members to contribute — many moms, aunts and sisters love sharing favorite pieces. If you don't have cloth napkins, substitute clean, colorful dish towels or make some out of fun fabric.
For favors, think caramel apples, candied popcorn or doughnuts. How about a single, perfect pear on each plate? Maybe tuck a great recipe or sentimental poem into napkin rings; give each guest a book of prayers, prose or history about the Thanksgiving ceremony.
Welcome visitors with a spare arrangement of uncarved pumpkins and squashes by the front door; add twinkling lights and a wreath if desired.
Inside, evoke the season's colors of orange, red and brown with lighted candles and a big, roaring fire in the fireplace.
"Don't forget the pine cones and nuts," prompts Walter, who builds bountiful runners on bare, wood tables throughout her house.
Appoint a beautiful piece of furniture as the bar, set a tray with coffee and cups on the coffee table and serve dessert from an old desk.
Then raise a glass and give thanks for friends and family.