Thomas J. Story
An assortment of wooden chairs surrounds a table adorned with rustic linens local ceramic dinnerware mix-and-match silverware and a tablelong centerpiece of richly hued plants growing in weathered pots.

Create a chic and sustainable tabletop with inspiration from the pros.

Jess Chamberlain  – September 28, 2007 | Updated November 9, 2020

Back-to-the-roots simplicity defines Lucas and Margi Heldfond’s environmentally sensitive holiday style. “It comes from an appreciation of things inherited, things collected, and things grown in the garden,” explains Lucas.

To create your own eco-table, they say, start with what you have. Chairs and utensils don’t have to match―in fact, an eclectic mix adds a personal touch. Stock up on sturdy ceramic dishware and quality table linens in muted colors that can be dressed up for any occasion. “Durability is the ultimate green choice,” Lucas says.

Finally, sprinkle in nature’s bounty. “There’s something about sitting down at the table and smelling a plant’s freshness or the scent of herbs,” says Margi. “It’s a foreshadowing of the meal to come.”

Tabletop Ideas

The Heldfonds, owners of healthy home store Spring in San Francisco, share some resourceful ways to dress your Thanksgiving table.

Timeless Place Settings

Rather than purchase season-specific tableware and decorations, simply accent what you already have. Pair natural-toned ceramics with assorted silverware and everyday glassware. Adorn napkins with name cards, herbs, and a ribbon for a dash of holiday color.

Repurposed Wrappings

Small guest gifts can be wrapped in brown shopping bags or Kraft paper (sold at craft stores), then embellished with colorful patterned paper remnants.

Children’s Crafts

At the kids’ table, recycled paper makes great restaurant-style placemats. Personalized sets of crayons invite the kids to have fun.

Harvest Candle

“Illuminating natural elements gives such nice texture and warmth,” Margi says. Try placing a small glass hurricane inside a larger one with about a ¼-inch space between. Slip leaves or plant stalks in between the layers of glass and place a candle in the center (be sure your candle is shorter than the height of the inner glass).

Design: Lucas and Margi Heldfond, Spring, San Francisco (415/673-2065).


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