Thanksgiving is the oldest American holiday. It is steeped in tradition, but that doesn’t mean your Thanksgiving celebration has to be stuffy and stale! Ask any Philadelphia event planner: the key to annual celebrations is balancing the traditional and the fresh. When I plan an event, I always have a ton of new ideas to share. All you have to do is ask!
In honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to put together a list of traditional decoration components, along with a few ideas to put a new spin on them. You can make most of them yourself, or even enlist your family or guests to help. You might even make a new tradition or two!
- Make serving bowls out of gourds. They can be dried or not–this Martha Stewart tutorial teaches you how to cut and paint dried gourd bowls. If not using dried gourds, keep the flesh inside of them and use them to serve small appetizers, like olives.
- Use small gourds as place markers. Create business-card-sized nametags and stick them into the gourds with pushpins.
- Incorporate gourds into the terrarium trend. Place them in small terrariums or apothecary jars with dried flowers or leaves.
- Use a pumpkin as a welcome sign! Paint a big one, or several little ones, with a message, your family name, or just your house number.
- Paint a handful of tiny pumpkins with metallic gold or bronze paint. Scatter them over your table, or use them as place markers.
- Carve out the center of miniature pumpkins and use them as candleholders. White tapers look very pretty inside white pumpkins.
- Use cloves to spell out messages on pears. Simply trace one letter on each pear–Fiorellis are best–and push the cloves into them.
- Carve a shallow divot in the tops of a few apples and insert votive candles into them.
- Use a pear and a leaf to make a little turkey! This is a great craft to keep the kids busy.
- Wrap leaves around a glass candleholder by coating them with spray adhesive. Martha Stewart has a great tutorial! The leaves will look beautiful against the candlelight, especially if you select shades of red, yellow, and orange.
- Place cards don’t get much simpler than scrawling each guest’s name on a leaf! You won’t need to go any farther than a few feet from your back door for materials.
- Cut whole branches from trees in your backyard and place them in vases. The brighter the leaves, the better!
- Make a cardboard Mayflower and have everyone fill it with pieces of paper on which they’ve written what they’re thankful for. After the meal, read them all.
- Create a “Thankful Tree” by bundling twigs into a jar. Pass around a bowl filled with colorful paper cut-outs before the meal, and have your guests write down a few thoughts. Hang the bits of paper from each twig to complete your centerpiece!
- Print “Thankful For” and some blank lines on folded pieces of paper, and tuck everyone’s silverware and a pen inside. During the meal, encourage everyone to write down what they’re grateful for!
What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Share them with me in the comments!