Ideas for Thanksgiving and Beyond

The holiday of gratitude is upon us! One of my favorite parts of the holidays is decorating for the holidays! It really is a lot easier to transition from fall decorations to Christmas decorations if you consider Thanksgiving to be a transitional winter holiday — as in the colder season, not the literal season which doesn’t start until around Christmas. Winter decorations can stay up from Thanksgiving through spring, really. They’re meant to fill your house with warmth and cheer during the dark, cold months and usually involve things like berries, nuts, pinecones and evergreen branches … and, of course, warm, cozy, cheerful items and colors.

I love this idea that Sofia posted on Mokkasin last Christmas Eve. Light sleigh bells hung in front of a register, blower, fan, or on or near a door will bring a heartwarming, welcoming sound each time they’re stirred.

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If you were to also hang a bundle of herbs or a sprig of mistletoe, it would make your home look as bountiful as it sounds cheerful!

My grandmother had an enormous table that could be lengthened from one end of the dining room to the other for family gatherings. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter the adults sat around it and passed food right to left after the traditional family prayer. Her table was fiercely protected with a pad and/or plastic tablecloths under the formal tablecloth. My great-grandmother had a similarly long dining room table and I think it is the memories of our family gatherings that make me desire a farm-style table.

This table was shared by Kristi on her blog Simple, Everyday, Glamour. I thought her table decorating was beautiful and could even inspire a table set for only a few people. It also reminds me of the pilgrim tables depicted in artists’ renditions of the first Thanksgiving. (Note the milk-jug style centerpieces.)

I love the idea of “thanks jars” as centerpieces, or across a mantle or counter. A Google search will provide countless examples of these used in various ways — from vases to votive holders. They are simple to make. Some are painted mason jars, some are decoupaged, some have letters cut out of pretty paper and tied or glued to the jar…. Here is one of my favorite examples, shared by Country Girl Gourmet.

thanks-votive-009

When my aunt started hosting Thanksgiving dinner a new tradition emerged. The table was covered with a plastic tablecloth and she left permanent markers in the center. Every year we would write the date and what we were thankful for on the tablecloth. In years following we would look back to the years before as if looking at a time capsule of our own lives and the dynamics of our family.

An alternative idea is a thankful tree, like this one shared by Emily Rose on Simply Vintage Girl. Hers is made from a bouquet of branches collected in a jar with paper tags hanging from them. (She also shares how to make a thankful tree with chalk ornaments on her blog.)

If you’re not interested in making your own paper tags, there are so many to choose from on Etsy — like these from TinHeartDesigns.

Tags by TinHeartDesigns on Etsy

If you are having a family gathering or dinner party for Thanksgiving, you can hand a tag out to each guest and have them add it to your shared thankful tree or make a garland with tags hung at intervals. You can keep the tags to display the next year or send them to your guests with greeting cards to remind them of both the time you shared and what they have to be thankful for. This example of tags comes from Southern Living.

thanks tags

The idea of stringing a list of blessings also comes from Southern Living. They suggest folding tabs over twine (glue the ends together so they don’t fall off!) and laying it along the center of the table. It could also be hung as a garland. For an even more rustic look you could use wooden clothespins and write on them with marker or use them to clasp your tags to the string.

Another idea I loved for decorating the Thanksgiving table was this collection of white pumpkins and vases. It is simplistic elegance!

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If you would like to duplicate this idea, I found the peacock figurine (or at least something very similar!) from Dwell Studio on Amazon.

This Aviva Vase from Crate and Barrel looks very gourd-like and would look nice next to a collection of white pumpkins.

aviva-vase

Or maybe this Juno Lacquer Bamboo Gourd Vase from Briers to compliment the collection?

briers vaseIf you would rather just use a pumpkin as a vase, Kari has shared a how-to for creating your own pumpkin vase on her blog, U Create. It isn’t a real pumpkin, but she explains everything! I think it is lovely!

ucreate pumpkinvase

And if you’re looking for more pumpkins, this stoneware white Pumpkin Squash Ramekin Bowl and white Pumpkin Gourd Salt and Pepper Shaker Set are available on Amazon.com. (Click the pictures to see the product details.)

The cute little pumpkin table accents could also be given as take-away gifts to guests if you don’t want to keep them for your own collection.

How about this so-simple idea from Glitter Guide? Why not take a gold or silver craft pen or marker (gold would show up better on the white pumpkin) and write in pretty scripted letters on your gourds or jars? Write words of thankfulness that can transition into the rest of the holiday season, or turn your decorations around to reveal new words like “joy” and “Noël” after Thanksgiving is over.

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I also happened across the perfect wreath to compliment this Thanksgiving table that would last from fall through winter. Tia and Andrea a.k.a. Two Junk Chix made this snowball wreath to ring in 2013 and their blog explains exactly how they did it!

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However you choose to decorate your home and dining table for the holidays, I hope you’ve enjoyed these suggestions. If you have your own ideas or suggestions, please be sure to share or link them in the comments. I will be adding more items I find to Pinterest, if you’d like to follow my discoveries!