How-To Warm up Your Thanksgiving Décor, with
“Creativity, Not Cash!”TM
by Kathleen Wilson
Description: Creative ways to decorate your home for Thanksgiving on a budget.
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,
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 thankful!
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
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 info on
her online workshops, visit her at
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