Thrifting Denver

Create a Stunning Holiday Table with Goodwill® and a Sharpie

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a table full of– Sharpies. No? Well, maybe we can convince you that it’s worth setting one out for each of your guests with the same care you place your grandmother’s finest silver.

When I was 19 I found a beautiful old turquoise formica table at a yard sale for $15. I dined at that table with a laundry list of college roommates, various boyfriends, dear friends, family members, strangers, co-workers, hungry pets, and eventually my own little growing family. It was a glorious table that witnessed 16 years of birthdays, holidays, special days and everydays. But during its ninth and final trip in a moving truck, it bent so badly to one side that I had to consider that all the memories I had invested in it may not follow me forever.

Table cloth thrifted from Goodwill covered in signatures

Credit: Deb Mills

Which is why I especially love this woman’s super-easy DIY idea to keep the memories of all our dinner guests past and present alive each year at the holidays, or at any gathering. I only wish I’d known about it years ago and made one sooner!

Simply visit your local Goodwill  and find a table cloth, runner, or even a plain white flat sheet. Put it on your table for Thanksgiving and invite each dinner guest to write what they’re thankful for, sign their name, write a message, trace their handprint, or draw a little doodle to remember them by. Then each year you can bring it out again and again to add more and more, like a blank canvas for holiday memories that you can hold onto forever and cherish alongside guests past and present.

White table cloth thrifted from Goodwill with messages written in different colored sharpies.

Credit: Kathryn Thompson

You can leave it at that and reuse it each year, maybe cover it with plastic to keep it clean and safe — OR you can take it a step further and embroider over their doodle for a more lasting mark that you won’t have to worry about fading with wash and time.

Don’t know how to embroider? It’s simple. Here’s a few quick tips to get up to speed. And if you’re lucky enough, I’ve occasionally found embroidery floss and other crafting supplies for sale at Goodwill, too! Need help with thrifting the rest of the table setting? Mary Elizabeth has a few tips for you.

The name Mary embroidered on a table cloth thrifted from Goodwill.

Credit: Deb Mills

The best part about these memories are that you can take them anywhere and relive them anytime you want. It’s a treasure that can be enjoyed and added to over and over again. And by creating one of these heirloom pieces with linens from Goodwill, you’re helping to prevent one more piece of textile from needlessly entering the waste stream and helping other families in your community. A thrifted canvas for your family’s memories will help to connect people to support services through Goodwill’s programs, including financial education, transportation, and youth services that help people reach independence. And we all know, that’s truly something to be thankful for.

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