By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
For Thanksgiving, everybody's focus is on the dining table. Dress yours up in a bountiful fall harvest theme using these simple and affordable time-saving ideas that provide the extra wow factor. Natural elements such as pine cones, pumpkins, nuts, and gourds will serve you well.
Autumn Leaf Table Runner
Collect the prettiest, colorful autumn leaves you can find while they're still moist and begin to drop during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Press a leaf between two pieces of wax paper, cover with a light towel and iron for a few minutes on both sides. When cool, gently peel off the wax paper and place between the pages of a hardback book for safe keeping. For the simplest décor ever, place them along a plain burlap, linen, or light colored table runner before adding candles, gourds, a bowl of pine cones, or a bouquet of golden chrysanthemums.
Combining the Latin words for "horn" and "plenty," a cornucopia has long been a traditional symbol of the blessings of bountiful harvest. In modern times, the goat's horn is replaced by a specially-shaped basket. Source yours online and fill it yourself, taking care to let some items tumble out onto the table, using an assortment of mini pumpkins, gourds, ornamental Indian corn, sunflowers, and grapes. Visit Pinterest images to get more ideas for colorful fillings for your horn of plenty.
It's easy to turn a pumpkin into a vase for autumn flowers. Place a Mason jar or cylindrical vase upside down on top of the pumpkin and trace around it with a marker before cutting away the top of the pumpkin. Cut on the outline, taking care not to break the stem. Scoop and discard the pulp, place your container inside the pumpkin, fill with water and add your choice of fall flowers.
Even the most ordinary white votive candles can be decorated to look special for a Thanksgiving table. Place the smaller scented or unscented votives inside a larger clear glass, leaving enough space around the candle to add your choice of decoration. Ideas for autumnal themed items that work well include unshelled walnuts, hazelnuts, or chestnuts; small pine cones; bay leaves; or candy corn leftover from Halloween. Tie a ribbon around the base, light the votive before guests arrive and you're done.
Creative Place Card Holders
You've given thought to your guest list, so when dinner is served, let guests know where to take a seat. It's so much nicer to use seasonally inspired name cards instead of just pointing. Options include natural, bleached, or spray painted pine cones to prop up a place card, a pin through a card inserted into a hard pear or a gourd, an upright clothespin sprayed gold that displays a sprig of berries or rosemary and a name card.
Why not get the younger set involved in the fun of preparation, too? With a bit of creative flair and very little investment of time or money, you can add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving table.
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