How-To Warm up Your Thanksgiving Decorating, with Creativity, Not Cash!
By Kathleen Wilson
Thanksgiving is a special time in our homes, when we all take a little
time to appreciate the gifts and blessings in our lives. My number one
blessing, as yours, is my family and friends! So let's find some great
ways to make your home a warm, inviting place this Thanksgiving Day
for all your loved ones, including you!
Use a natural theme. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be
surprised how many people spend big bucks trying to glitz up this
holiday. It's about the harvest; being thankful for this beautiful
earth we live on, and the wonderful food we are so blessed to be
given, so let's celebrate that! It also happens to be a great way to
decorate on a small budget! So bring nature into your home, and be
Most people just focus on the table for Thanksgiving decorating, and
while that is indeed important, don't forget to bring the beauty of
autumn splendor into other areas of your home. Some quick ideas
include picking up some silk garlands (right now they are on clearance
to make room for Christmas stuff, check your craft store!) of autumn
colors and drape them over doorways, windows, mantels, and artwork or
mirrors. Collect leaves on your next walk in the neighborhood, and
then press between paper towels and a book. Because they were already
drying outdoors and were low on moisture, this will only take a few
days! Now use your leaves to sprinkle over the hearth, the
countertops, under candle displays, under glass top tables, tuck into
picture frame edges, make them a picture in a frame-you get the idea.
Gourds anyone? These are a wonderful traditional decoration, but
here's a little money saving tip. If you have produce stands near your
home, these are much cheaper than the grocery stores for gourds,
squashes, and pumpkins. Don't limit your self to the little mini ones,
pile full size versions next to your front door, line a windowsill,
fill baskets or fill the planter boxes or a wheelbarrow on the porch
with great harvest vegetables!
Consider setting out simple ceramic or wooden bowls lined with a
pretty cloth napkin or scrap fabric, and fill with some treasures from
your next nature walk . Texture abounds with natural elements, and
will warm up a tablescape, a coffee table, and a fireplace hearth. Try
getting out the hot glue gun and affixing your items to the candles
you packed away at the first sign of summer. Small glass jars make
great votive holders when dressed up with a few pressed leaves and
acorns. Fill a bowl or plate with goodies around large pillar candles
and use as a centerpiece. If you can't find enough natural material
near your home, check out the bulk grain section at your supermarket.
Fall is about harvest, so any grain can be used to add that element to
your home. Even cracked corn meant for the bird feeder can look great
in a jar as a base for a candle.
Now, we aren't going to forget the Thanksgiving table! This is your
opportunity to show your loved ones how important it is to you that
they are sharing your table this year. If you don't have tablecloths,
pick up a couple of green or gold sheets from Wal-Mart or a discount
store for less than $3. You can even layer a couple of them if you
wish. Don't feel shy about pressing coffee tables or card tables into
service if you need more room, just use those cheap sheets! If you run
out of chairs, push a table up to a couch on one long side, and you
will only need chairs for the other side. Set your table with all your
dishware-it doesn't matter if it all doesn't match, or you had to
borrow salad plates from a neighbor! Just keep the arrangement of each
place setting the same, and it will tie it all together. For
instance-dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl, repeat with next
placesetting. Distribute the different styles of dishware evenly
throughout the tables, much the same as you would do with accent
colors in a room!
Use cloth napkins, fold them into accordion pleats and place them in
the water glasses. Don't have cloth napkins? One twin flat sheet, a
pair of scissors and some iron on hem tape (you could sew hems if you
prefer) and you will have elegant napkins you can use again and again.
A good size is 18x18 inches.
The highlight of the event? Your centerpiece of course! This is where
your creativity comes most into play. Keep the centerpiece low so that
guests can easily converse. I know many designers make beautiful
tablescapes on lifts, and talk about height in an arrangement, but
isn't the people what it's all about? Use your nature theme, gather up
some pretty dishes and pitchers, and pick some fall flowers or grasses
from the yard. Pile up gourds on platters, fill bowls with nuts and
insert a pillar candle, add pretty dried grasses to a wonderful vase,
use bowls of apples, lemons, or limes. Take small bunches of flowers,
wrap a wet paper towel and some plastic wrap around the stems, and
insert randomly into the bowls of produce. Float some mum flower heads
in a clear bowl of water, or add some greenery between the other items
on the table. Experiment with what you have available, what is
affordable in your area, and what creates warmth in your heart. Try
things several different ways, until you find a combination you like.
Above all, remember this is not about impressing others; it is about
making a statement about how much you care they are in your home, and
in your life. Enjoy your family, enjoy being creative while saving
lots of cash, and enjoy the beauty of nature-and give thanks.
Kathleen Wilson is an author, national columnist, and editor of the
free ezine, The Budget Decorator. For hundreds of free budget
decorating ideas and to sing up for her free newsletter, visit her at