DIY Thanksgiving Buffet Table – Free Printables

The Thanksgiving table can get very crowded.  What with the turkey, side dishes, gravy, and sauces, there’s no place for anyone to actually sit down and eat! I solved this problem long ago by setting up a Thanksgiving Buffet Table for all the food and having an adult table as well as a kids’ table.

Depending on the space you have and the number of guests you are expecting this could take some doing. You might consider setting up different stations or bars; appetizer, sides, desserts, and drinks; or any combination there of.  If you’re limited on space your stations may have to do double duty after dinner; appetizer station can be converted to dessert bar.

You may have to think out of the box and re-purpose furniture pieces to hold food and tableware. You will more than likely have to rearrange furniture to accomplish your goal.  However you decide to set up the meal it will require advance planning, so much easier to move furniture without a ton of guests milling around.

Here are a few tips to help you set up a Thanksgiving Buffet Table.

1.  Plan your serveware.  Know ahead of time what dishes you will be using.  I usually do this as soon as I’ve planned my menu, making a note beside each dish what I will be serving it in.  Be creative, make your buffet interesting by adding height, this also creates space.

I love tiered stands and racks, but you don’t have to spend a fortune buying them.  Stands can easily be made from dollar store items with very little time and effort.  Check out Savvy Nana’s DIY Hurricane Vases & Lamps to learn how to make your own tiered stands.

You can also stack platters on upside down stemware or bowls to create height.  Or use books or boxes wrapped in pretty paper.  If you don’t have time to wrap books or boxes, just place them where you want them on the table and cover everything with a large tablecloth. You can even set Plates on pumpkins to create varying heights
For some great ideas on how to set a buffet table watch Kid’s Smart Living‘s video tutorial

A table in the middle of the room allows several guest access to the table at the same time, in this case taller dishes should be placed in the middle of the table.  If the table needs to be set up against the wall meaning it will be front serving then taller dishes should be in the back.

2.  Once you know which serving pieces you will be using you need to decide what you’re going to put them on.  Breakfast tables, sideboards, baking racks, kitchen islands and counters work well as long as at least 2 people can serve themselves at the same time without blocking the way for everyone else.  You may have to move furniture to accommodate the this traffic and arrange your serving ware accordingly.

Consider setting out trays of appetizers on coffee tables and end tables in the living or family rooms.  This frees up space on the buffet table for the main event.

If you don’t have enough room on the table for plates and eating utensils consider setting up another table, shelf or rack to place them on.

Dinner plates stacked neatly on a chair will work!


Make use of all the flat surfaces in your house.  Setting up a bar on the mantle works well!

 

3.  Keep eating utensils neat and within reach by placing them in mason or apothecary jars, or on trays.

    

 

Free Printable

4.  Decorate your buffet or bar with centerpieces and even a backdrop.  You don’t need table cards but they’re a nice touch as is a framed photo or sign.   You can hand write your own on card stock or use one of these printable.

 

Click here for this free printable from Home Cooking Memories.
Click here for this free printable The Tom Kat Studio

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