Creating a Perfectly Imperfect Thanksgiving


Our front door

I have a confession. It’s not pretty. Sometimes when I entertain I drive myself (and my husband) nuts.

There are leaves on the porch! What if my pecan pies aren’t done in the middle?

We’re having eighteen people for Thanksgiving. Last week I stopped by Mother’s to borrow her yellow tablecloth.

“It’s full of wrinkles,” she said. “Better take it to the cleaners. You can try putting it in the dryer with a damp towel, but just don’t use it looking like this.”

She was only trying to help.

As soon as I got home, I spread the tablecloth across my kitchen table. Mother was right. It was wrinkled.

I tried the dryer trick three times. No better.

I called my BFF. “Do you iron tablecloths?”

She laughed. “No way. I decorate over the wrinkles.”

Ignoring her simple solution, I ironed the tablecloth on top of my table. Better, but not perfect. Then I ironed it on the ironing board slowly, carefully, one section at a time. Still not quite perfect.

You don’t have to do this. Relax. This isn’t what Thanksgiving is about.

I called the cleaners. If I could get it there STAT, they could have it back by Tuesday afternoon.  I raced it to them.

Nothing else mattered but having a wrinkle-free tablecloth.

At our porch party this morning, I studied the trees and had a feeling God had a message for me.  The trees were gorgeous but some leaves had fallen too soon.

Ahhh! What am I doing critiquing the trees?

My problem wasn’t the wrinkled tablecloth. Or the trees. My problem was pride.


Lord, forgive me.  I’d forgotten what’s important. Make our home a place of peace, healing, and beautiful imperfection.

P.S. I’m using paper plates tomorrow. Aren’t the best parties the kind where the hostess has fun? And she cares about her guests more than her tablecloth?

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! Luke 10:41 (NLT)




  1. Thanks for sharing. I so relate! I’m not a perfectionist, by any means, but I do worry about everything being just right on the holidays and always regret not having relaxed and enjoyed the family time together more. Christmas is even harder for me. But we’re doing paper plates tomorrow too! I usually get out my Grandma’s china and Great-Grandma’s golden dinnerware. But this year we’ve downsized to a smaller apartment and haven’t the room to even expand our dinner table. So — the dinner table is now the buffet table and everyone can just sit wherever they can find a seat — with paper plates on their laps! It’ll be crowded and crazy, but it’ll be fine. Heck, it might even be more memorable than other holiday gatherings, just in being different. Your story about the wrinkled tablecloth reminded me of the time when I was a young mother and was having Thanksgiving dinner in my small apartment. I put a couple card tables on either side of my small dinner table and looked for a tablecloth to fit. I thought I found a vinyl one big enough, though the color was rather ugly (!) and spread it out across all three tables. As we passed around the serving bowls, to my horror I realized it was not a tablecloth at all, but an old shower curtain, lol! I never told my mom or grandma about it, too embarrassed for words! But years later I’ve laughed over that many times with my boys, friends and co-workers. Sometimes those imperfect things are what we remember so fondly, don’t you think?!

    I’m glad as I get older and too tired to worry as much over perfection that I’m learning to appreciate simplicity, and even sometimes laugh over the imperfections I had thought were so horrible!

    Thanks again for sharing and I wish you and yours a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving 🙂

    Julie Gilleand

    • Oh, Julie! Your shower curtain/tablecloth story is priceless. And you’re so right–it’s the imperfect things we remember. What a memory, I’m sure. Loved reading about your china and dinnerware. I moved mine around in my china cabinet today to make room for the card tables that will have paper plates on them tomorrow. 🙂

      Much love to your and yours.

  2. I quit doing that a few years ago, Julie. I realized when I go to a friend’s home, I don’t look at the tablecloth to see if it’s wrinkled. I don’t look behind doors to see if there are dust bunnies. I look in my friend’s eyes and see her warmth and hospitality. I love it when she sits down and spends time with me.

    So that’s what I do now. Besides, dust bunnies are an endangered species. Do your part – help them propagate!

    • Love it, love it, Ane. Dust bunnies are an endagered species. You’ll have to add that line to a novel. It’s priceless. Thank you for reading and for your amazing friendship. You bless me so!!

  3. Paper plates, huh? You’re a woman after my own heart! Hope you have a lovely, stress-free Thanksgiving with your family! (The paper plates will help!)

  4. I had one of those tablecloths once. I tried to iron it too. Didn’t work. : )

    My two sons who live in different states are coming together to be with me this weekend. Oh the joy and happiness and silliness that will ensue. I worried about the housecleaning and then thought…oh, posh, they won’t care what the house looks like. Only I will. So I’ll give it what my mother used to call “a lick and a promise” and enjoy being with them. How I love having my loved ones around me. That’s all I need — ever.

    Enjoy your 18 for Thanksgiving, Julie. And remember to have fun and relax. The day after, no one will remember a tablecloth, but they’ll remember what a good time they had with YOU.

    Hugs & love,

    • I can feel your excitement coming through your comment!! So thrilled for you! And you’re absolutely right. People don’t care what the house looks like–but they won’t forget the love. XOXO

  5. Ginger says:

    Hope you and yours have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.
    Til next time…God bless.

  6. arie says:

    Wrinkled tablecloths and the mess of homemade cookies…..I cheated and read ahead in Daily Guideposts. Such things to worry about… we say in my circle of friends, problems of abundance. And it boils down to wanting to show love and appreciation for others, what a gift. Happy holidays.

  7. Lovely, Arie. Written so beautifully, my friend. Words I won’t forget. 🙂


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