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!

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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.

Amazing Antlers

I saw a designer ad for a cream and blue-colored dining room with two tall, slender lucite lamps on the buffet and in the middle of the table there were two tall cylindrical flower vases and an even taller deer antler piece. The antler was fitted to a white base and was a sort-of antiqued silver/grey or at least bleached color.

There are a lot of people who take a lot of pride in their antlers. The more points, the better.

(Not all antlers are the result of hunting — some are simply scavenged. Deer do shed their antlers and deer are also prey to larger predators so sometimes a simple walk in the woods will lead to the discovery of amazing antlers.)

Outdoorsmen and hunters love to display their antlers, which they collect like trophies. The idea of a leather man-cave comes to mind, with mounts hanging on the wall or treasured finds placed strategically across a natural stone and wood mantle.

But this designer ad got me thinking — in what ways can the natural beauty of a deer antler fit into a less bachelor-esque/bear-cave setting? How can we incorporate them into a modern theme or even other styles?

I love the idea of this Deer Antler Jewelry Stand & Display from leonasheffield. Imagine if you surrounded it with pretty jars or bottles with fresh cut flowers in them?

Deer Antler Display | leonasheffield

NEW MEXICO RUSTIC STYLE WEDDING By Maggie Lord  on  Rustic Wedding Chicfrom Lisa and Cody, Part 2 by  The Cutting Garden at Flora Grubb Gardens

Speaking of fresh cut flowers … here’s a do-it-yourself Antler Flower Display via A Subtle Revelry. (Click here for the How-To.)

DIY Antler Flower Display | A Subtle Revelry

Okay, enough with the flowers, right? (And I promise this blog isn’t all about combining antlers with plants.) I just had to show you this totally awesome Tillandsia Antler Garden (air plants!) from FalconandFinch. If you don’t like it, I’ll be amazed and dismayed!

Antler Air Garden | FalconandFinch

Another nice idea is displaying your antlers under a glass dome, as seen at this DIY wedding by Wednesday Inc. on Ruffled. (Photographed by EE Photography.)

Antlers Under Glass Dome | Wednesday | Ruffled

You can buy glass domes on Amazon.com, at Hobby Lobby, or at similar stores.

How about if you just want a pop of quirky color in your room? Think paint. Check out these awesome antlers!

Aqua Resin Antlers | 2CountryChics Dressing Room w/ Antlers

Okay, so the antlers on the left are actually resin but they are meant to inspire you! They come in a variety of colors from 2CountryChics on Etsy.  I found the picture of the dressing room with the antler chandelier on Houzz but I have no idea where it originally came from.

Another use for many-pointed antlers — whether real or faux, painted or natural — is a jewelry holder, key hook, or even coat rack (assuming you have a strong way to mount them to your wall).

Here are Shed Hunting Wall Hooks from Huset.

Shed Hunting Wall Hooks | Huset

LucyHaus suggests using the colored deer antlers to hang jewelry, scarves or mugs.

Faux Deer Antler Rack Mint | LucyHaus Faux Deer Antler Rack White | LucyHaus Faux Deer Antler Rack Black | LucyHaus

A Beautiful Mess posted a DIY guide to making this Floral Antlers Necklace Display. (Click here to see how they did it.)

Floral Antlers Necklace Display | A Beautiful Mess

I also loved these curtain tie-backs that were a good, practical, subtle use for antlers, especially in (but not limited to) a country setting.

Antler Tie Backs Antler Curtain Tie Back | UpscaleDownhome

The antler on the left was posted by Shelter. The one on the right is from UpscaleDownhome. These are mounted to the wall and if you would like to see how that works you can view this item on the shop by clicking here.

They would actually look great with an antler basket. This one is available from McGregorCustomInlay but you could also make one with a basket that did not have a handle — which you could probably find at a craft supply store or from your local basket-makers.

Antler Hen Basket | McGregorCustomInlay

Of course another option if you love the rustic look of antlers but don’t want them actually hanging out in your house is … wall art! If you are a friend or family to an outdoorsman and you have an artistic flair, take a well-composed picture of the antlers and frame it for posterity.

If you are interested in the fine art of antlers but would rather just buy some amazing photographs to hang on your wall, Kari Herer has some beautiful photos and illustrations. These pictures feature Antler and Magnolia No. 6935.

Antler and Magnolia No. 6935 | kariherer

Antler and Magnolia No. 6935 | kariherer

Here is a more plainspoken antler photograph from gullylux:

8x10 Fine Art Photograph - Antler Print | gullylux

Whether you plan to have actual antlers incorporated into your decor or not, this print from frenchprints would look whimsical and colorful in any room. I saw a similar print with butterflies around the antlers in a picture of a nursery. If you plant to paint some antlers or buy some colored resin antlers, you could coordinate them with the colors of these birds.

DEER ART Print With SPRING Birds On An Antique Dictionary Book Page | frenchprints

Do you have any more ideas for antlers? How have you used them? Leave a comment below to keep us inspired!