Published November 12, 2010
Thanksgiving is a holiday entirely devoted to indulgences. We get to indulge in the presence of our family and friends (overindulgence is certainly possible), in rich, delicious foods, in the colors of fall, and in spicy, warm scents. Decorating for the holiday can offer a lot of joy – if you don’t let stress overtake you. Here are some tips so you can create welcoming atmosphere that will whet your guests’ appetites and increase everyone’s enjoyment of Thanksgiving.
- Let wonderful fragrances do the work for you. Autumn and Thanksgiving are perfect times to bring in warm, rich scents. In addition to scented candles, you can make your own air fresheners. Here is an easy one: peel an orange – you want the peel, not the orange. Sprinkle some cinnamon and ground cloves onto the orange peels and place in a saucepan with just enough water to cover the peels. Turn the stove on low, and the heated mixture will smell incredible. It will be a light, subtle scent, which is perfect because it doesn’t overpower. Baking smells – cinnamon, apple, spices, roasting turkey, should all be considered part of your décor.
- Incorporate pumpkins and gourds into your décor. Even something as simple as a woven basket filled with various sized gourds is seasonal and festive. You can also use mini pumpkins to make great candle holders. To do this, cut the stems off of the mini pumpkins and make a hole to accommodate taper candles.
Decorate the pumpkin with colorful raffia or ribbon tied around the base or arrange flowers, leaves, fruits, or berries around the base. Keep the pumpkin on a plate for safety. The soft glow of candles is always a great addition to any room.
- Make a squash vase. Choose a nice butternut squash, which will stand up straight and which provides a nice sized container. Cut the top off and scrape out the seeds and pulp inside as much as you can. Don’t scrape too much from the sides though. Fill this with water or a piece of floral foam and arrange flowers. Good choices include roses, mums, and carnations. You can make similar vases with artichokes or use asparagus spears intermixed with black-eyed Susans in a clear vase for a fresh, unique centerpiece.
- Make a natural table runner with beautiful fall leaves. If you don’t have maple trees from which to gather them, you can order them from craft stores. On the leaves, place red and green apples, gourds, flowers, mini pumpkins. You can also use the leaves as place cards for your guests.
- Use warm colors for your napkins, tablecloths, chair covers, and more. You don’t have to go overboard with red and orange; don’t forget to add some contrast, including muted or mossy green, dark purple, and white for contrast.
- Depend on the classics. Cornucopias, dried corn, squashes and gourds, dried cranberries and currants, strawflowers, and leaves make excellent decorations, and there are infinite ways that we can use them in elegant, festive arrangements.
- Use your kids. If they make crafts at school, display them proudly. Take an afternoon and make some fun decorations, place settings, and cards with your children. It will be a perfect addition to any celebration.
If you don’t have time to decorate for Thanksgiving, pick up some gourds and pumpkins, pop an apple pie (premade is fine) in the oven for that homey smell, pick up some flowers and some green apples to make a centerpiece, and then relax and enjoy. Your guests will do the same. For a special touch, you can also order a festive Thanksgiving gift basket that can be used as the table centerpiece, host gift and pre-dinner appetizer!