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.

dageninnan

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!

tableidea

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.

53C7057-copy

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!

snowball1twojunkchix

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!

Rattan Lines

(Click any picture or link in this post to see the item in store.)

I saw a beautiful table in a Michael Amini advertisement for his Bella Cera dining room furniture that inspired this post. I was amazed at how it looked so down-to-earth and elegant at the same time.

The solid wood table had no tablecloth. Each place had a woven round place mat or charger. (There are square versions of these out there if you have square dinner plates.) Before you decide that I’ve fallen back a couple of decades, wait for the finished result!

Any of these chargers I found individually for around $10.00 looked cheap or like they might fall apart after several uses, except for this one for $10.99 from Crate&Barrel.

Rattan Placemat

I would suggest making the place mat/charger contrast with your table — as in light table, dark chargers or dark table, light chargers.

Most of these come in sets of four and the prices are comparable at common department stores. This dark brown rattan charger is from Kohl’s and comes in a set of four on sale for $35.99 (from $59.99).

Charge It 4-pc. Charger Plate Set

There are similar styles from Bealls (Round Rattan Charger Plate (Set of 4))
for $31.78, and Target for $32.49, or there are these chargers for $9.99 at hayneedle.com (sale price).

I really loved the look of these Round Madras Chargers from World Market. Again they are comparable in price as a set of four is $35.96. I love the contrasting colors and unique weave.

ROUND MADRAS CHARGERS

Pottery Barn also has a Paros Rattan Round Charger for $19.50 and a Tava Round Charger for $18.00 (sold individually) if you are looking for something a bit different.

Directly on top of these chargers were elegant plates. They appeared to be a blue floral pattern that matched the bowls sitting on top of them, but I envisioned instead solid white plates with a pattern around the rim. I love these Mikasa Dinnerware American Countryside plates for this look. They have little flowers scrolling around the rim. You can get them at Macy’s. (Click the image for a link to a closer look.)

Mikasa Dinnerware, American Countryside Dinner Plate

Next came the blue and white bowls. Again, I’m going to use my own inspiration here, but I think something like these Paula Deen Tatnall Street Blue Bell Soup Bowls would look really pretty here. (And wouldn’t you know it — they’re on sale!)

Tatnall Street Blue Bell Soup Bowls

(If you prefer the matching plates, there is a whole collection of coordinating items.)

The napkins are what really made this entire table look so charming. They were tucked slightly under each bowl, on top of each plate, and were clean and crisp but a bit rustic and rough around the edges. The ones in the ad appeared to be a soft pink or mauve, maybe even pastel purple color, which looked amazing and cheerful next to the blue in the bowls.

I really really like these purple napkins I found on Amazon, though I suppose you might want green, red or a peachy-orange for winter or fall. (And yes, these come in other colors!)

The table was decorated with plants, white votive candles and appetizers like a bowl of fresh-picked fruit, a loaf of bread on a wooden cutting board, and what appeared to be condiments like honey and jam. You can see the table by clicking the link in the first paragraph of this entry, but I am not going to post the original image because it had a sort-of European background and I want you to picture it in your own home, on your own table. I’m going to say it is “rustic elegance.”

I also ran across a couple more items that might be fun to add. How about some rattan coasters for cool drinks since there wasn’t a tablecloth? (The table was set with wine glasses in the ad.) A set of four is $12.95 at Pier1.

Rattan Coasters

And I don’t know … I just liked this Pfaltzgraff chicken canister. Normally I would avoid decorating with chickens but this just seemed to fit the theme somehow. Maybe because of the woven basket design on the bottom.  (It is labeled as a rooster. I disagree. I strongly believe this is a hen!)

Pfaltzgraff Dinnerware, Country Cupboard Rooster Canister

I’m thinking this table would look beautiful for any occasion but I can seriously picture it next to a homemade easter egg tree in the spring. You know — the kind with the blown egg shells, dyed by kids and hung on a tree branch with a piece of ribbon? Or how about with pale orange napkins and harvest decor for fall? Switch to gold embellishments with deep reds and greens and maybe an evergreen centerpiece and it would be a beautiful rustic or old-fashioned Christmas table. The beauty is that it is very versatile.

Inspired by the Diesel Social Kitchen

Diesel Social Kitchen

Diesel Social Kitchen

What you are seeing in the picture above is the Diesel Social Kitchen. If you click the image it will take you to Scavolini’s website where you can drag and zoom to get a better look. (This is image number six in the slide show!)  What you don’t see in this photo is the beautiful antique (-style?) rotary pay-phone hanging on the wall off the left of the picture. Note, however, the bottles on the countertop, the metal kitchen cart and the steel and glass cabinets.

This design is inspiring, and not only did I want to find some of the items that decorated this kitchen, I also wanted to find some pieces that I would add to my own kitchen if I had this one.

Since I saw a picture of this kitchen with the antique phone, I had to find one myself. Here is a pay-phone you can incorporate into a black theme. This one is from Nostalgia Factory Outlet for $69.95 and other colors are pink, red and chrome!

Crosley 1950's Pay Phone - Black

There are also authentic antique pay-phones out there if you know where to look. Some are listed on eBay.

There are numerous antique bottles that would look good in your kitchen at antique shops, flea markets, and online. (My parents once had a pretty big collection of vintage bottles – many collected at estate auctions.) I found this awesome vinegar bottle on Etsy.

Antique Bottle-c1910s-1920s Embossed White House Vinegar Jug with Glass Stopper

If you need your bottles to function as well as looking pretty and you just aren’t all that comfortable with reusing, there are plenty of fresh-from-the-factory kitchen accessories that would fit this theme.

(And while we’re talking about bottles, don’t forget about the Enlightening Bottles that can be used as lamps!)

Do you know what else I think might look nice in this awesome modern kitchen? Answer: A wrought iron or hammered steel pot rack like the one below. Imagine it with shiny copper and stainless steel pots hanging from it!

Pot Rack

I also found this beautiful Cuisine Paper Towel Holder from Pottery Barn for $49.50.

CUISINE PAPER TOWEL HOLDER

Another lovely piece that would fit well here is this $1,799.00 Crate and Barrel Exclusive Crockery Cabinet. Picture it filled with your best china, stoneware, and/or drinkware, or filled with your favorite accent pieces. I can just imagine a refurbished ice box or pie safe setting next to something like this.

Crockery Cabinet

How cool is this Adjustable Iron Table that I happened to come across at West Elm’s website? It is on sale for $764 and supposedly fits 4-5 people though it is hard to get a perspective from the picture.

ADJUSTABLE IRON TABLE

Now if you look really close on the left side of the kitchen counter at the top of this post you will notice a bronze/gold robot. The only other place I could even find a mention of it was on the Penny Street Interiors blog where they mention finding it at a shop called A Trip To The Moon.

However, with some help pinning down the era this robot came from, I figured out that the metallic robot pictured is just a decorative replica of a “Smoking Robot” from the toy company Yonezawa in the 1950s. There are reproductions of the original toy out there that come in blue, green, grey and silver. Apparently, even the reproductions of these toys are hard to find in great working order, but TinToyArcade.com has this Grey Smoking Robot for $79.98.

R14032-B

I don’t know if they did this on purpose, but having a robot in the kitchen is a bit of a modern-day joke with restaurant owners and chefs, as there have actually been real robots developed to cook and help with cooking.

Some other ideas I had to go along with this kitchen were an antique, galvanized bucket, a black barrel, or a shiny new metal egg basket — preferably a square or rectangular one that could be used for any number of things.

Another thing I love for this kitchen is an Aviator Style Kraken Alarm Clock from The Kraken Supply Shop ($49.99) — yes, you have to be 21 to look since this is on a rum website — but I love the retro modern style. Note the little Spirit of St. Louis on the right of the clock.

Aviator Style Kraken Clock

And finally, what well-decorated kitchen would be finished without wall art? Here are some city and country ideas that I found appropriate for my dream Diesel Social Kitchen. I hope you’ve enjoyed and been inspired by it as much as I have! Leave a comment below with your own ideas!

Black and White Windmill Photography by Erin Johnson Photography/eireanneilis on Etsy

Hollywood Blvd (Academy Awards 1956) Photo Print Poster by Poster Revolution on Amazon

Hollywood Blvd (Academy Awards 1956) Photo Print Poster by Poster Revolution on Amazon

Farm Architecture No. 2 Metallic Print by The Gallivanting Girl on Etsy

Manhattan By Richard Berenholtz on AllPosters.com

Manhattan By Richard Berenholtz on AllPosters.com

Rustic Farm Table No. 1 by Keith Dotson on Etsy

Subway Art Sign New York Destinations Typography Print by Paper Bleu Studio on Etsy