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Happy Hour : Thanksgiving Tableau

Every been in a restaurant when it turns "Happy Hour?" You notice the mood instantly changes as everyone is ready for fun. Whenever I'm having a Bad Hair Day, my cure is always a personal Happy Hour. Of course, I'm hopeless addicted to interiors; so for me, this hour is all about decorating. In this series, we'll look at some quick and happy mood changers for our very own Happy Hour. Each should take about an hour - a mere 60 minutes - to perk up our minds and our rooms. Let's get the party started.

It's not too late to start planning your Thanksgiving Tableau for this year. Over the years, my friend Jennifer has set some spectacular Thanksgiving tables. This year, she has a fun and unexpected plan forThanksgiving. Before we take a look, here's some quick and not-so-quick Happy Hour table ideas.

A table can be decorated as simply as buying fresh, aromatic herbs at the market. Just decorate right before company comes so herbs stay fresh.

A slightly more complicated table tableau is based on an inexpensive roll of kraft paper. You can buy a 12" wide roll on Amazon for under $14. Use it as your table runner to set fall gourds, candles and leaves on or add additional layers to make "placemats."

This adorable kiddie table takes a bit more time but who wouldn't love to sit at it?

This festive tableau is really easier than it looks. For the centerpiece, a twig wreath forms the base, layered with a leaf wreath to which a pumpkin is added. The candlesticks have small wreaths, easily made. Wouldn't this table look beautiful at night?

If you run out of time, look to your yard for a few branchs of fall leaves. If you don't have large pitchers, smaller groupings of branches would look great in drinking glasses or mason jars. After all, your guests only expectation is a gloriously bronzed turkey. Anything else, is just gravy.

And now for Jennifer's fun and unexpected Thanksgiving plan in San Jose, CA.

Jennifer's Thanksgiving plans cover more than the table setting. Did someone say, "Sangria Bar?" Talk about setting the stage for a fun party! First of all, Jennifer alerted her 20 guests that there's a Spanish theme this year and feel free to dress for the occasion. She's getting her Spanish music playlist ready. She's ordered Spanish-type charcuterie trays, a paella pan and a smoked ham is coming from the neighborhood BBQ place. Then, suddenly, people were asking, "Can you make such and such?" So now, it's a Spanish meal plus turkey and all the trimmings. And for dessert, a berry chantilly cake from Whole Foods. Yummy!

Jennifer carefully thinks through her Thanksgiving table setting. This year, she's using her new gunmetal flatware and clear bodega drinking glasses, made in Spain, and purchased from Pottery Barn.

At Jennifer's house, Thanksgiving is more than a meal and football. A memorial table includes dollar store frames containing photos of family who have passed, along with prayer candles family can light. For fun, Jennifer plans to play a speed round of a "get to know your family" game. You draw a question about your heritage, fun family stories and so forth. If you don't know the answer, you can defer to an elder family member or a sibling for help. Jennifer's Thanksgiving will include everything Thanksgiving is meant to be - celebrating family and the blessings of the year.

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