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How to set a table like the grown woman you are

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

There's a proper way to set your holiday table, and we’re going tell you what it is

Hosting Thanksgiving is stressful, y'all.

Not only do you have to figure out how to defrost and perfectly cook an entire turkey, but you have to create a table setting that's a whole new level of fancy. Forget about filling plastic cups with forks and spoons — Thanksgiving dinner is the big leagues, and you've got a lot of expectations to live up to (your mother-in-law is watching, and totally judging).

More: How to cook a big meal with one oven — without ruining dinner

Why does anyone really need three separate glasses and a handful of forks? No one really knows, but it's Thanksgiving, and it's necessary.

So suck it up. Pull out your finest china — or borrow it from Grandma — and create a gorgeous holiday table guaranteed to impress even your toughest critics.

There's a proper way to set your holiday table, and we’re going tell you what it is
Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

Now that you know the basic layout, here are couple of tips to make sure you pull it off without a hitch:

1. Start with the plate

The dinner plate is the center of each setting, so lay it down first to avoid the whole thing being off-center.

2. Hold the cup and saucer

Coffee is usually served at the end of the meal, so if your setting is looking a little too crowded, hold off on bringing out the cup and saucer until the end of the meal.

More: 5 easy rules for cooking, without creating utter chaos in your kitchen

3. The silverware situation

Have you ever had one of those Pretty Woman moments where dinner is served but you have no idea which fork to start with? A good rule of thumb is that the pieces you'll use first are laid to the outside, so the salad fork is the left-most piece — a piece of information that's even more important when you're setting the table. Also keep in mind that the blades of the knife should always face toward the plate, not the outside. Safety first, right?

4. Keep the centerpieces low

You've gone this far to go full-out fancy, so don't stop short of a stunning centerpiece. Just be sure to keep it low enough that it won't cut off conversation across the table.

More: 13 hacks to be the best party host on the block

5. Skip the fragrant stuff

We're all guilty of pulling out the smell-good stuff when company is coming, but there's a time and place for everything and it's not the dining room. All that fragrance can be overwhelming when you're trying to actually taste your food, so avoid scented candles and overly fragrant flowers at the table.

This post was sponsored by Big Lots.

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