Fresh Holidays: Simple Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Design



When I think of Thanksgiving decorations, I suddenly visualize tacky shades of orange, stuffed pilgrims and weird smelling candles. I feel the sudden urge to make a paper turkey while tracing my hand to create it's feathers on construction paper. I want to glue googly eyes on it's face illuminating a crazed cock-eyed bird that somehow represents...I'm not sure what. Have one of those on your fridge or in a drawer somewhere? Be honest now...

The holidays as we celebrate them here in the West have... come to mangle the truest meanings. You know how it goes; we stress out over preparations and max out our credit cards while trying to "display" our love to family by giving them...stuff? Are you as tired of it as me? 

I'm not preaching anything new here. And I'm certainly not saying we cancel gift-giving or that decorating is bad. I LOVE all that, I mean I've been listening to Christmas music since July. I think we all wrestle with how to make time to reflect spiritually on these celebrations that were formed out of the very essence of human struggle. I'm no history buff but I know it's safe to say that humanity uses tradition to remember, recount and reflect...and express love by celebrating with one another. 

Over the next few weeks as we enjoy Thanksgiving and make our way towards Christmas, I'll be writing some very intentional posts surrounding the Holiday Season. I'm hoping to evoke a sense of joy and simplicity in my own life, and hopefully supply my readers with some fresh takes and reminders along the way (I'll be learning right along side you). I'm craving a refocusing of my heart, how I spend my time and also how I view others around me. 

Today's post subject is rather simple, only concerning Thanksgiving table design and decor. However I think starting with how we view the little things and making baby changes can really affect our mindsets and also the state of our wallet! Maybe this month will lend itself to forming some new traditions that support relationship, quality time and beauty.

Without further ado, here are some money saving, fresh and easy finds for your Thanksgiving celebration!



Thanksgiving Ideas

Have any left over gourds and pumpkins from Halloween? Of course I'm speaking of ones that you didn't carve, I'm assuming your jack-o-lanterns are currently rotting on your porch. Painting gourds or placing them in cups, bowls, and candle holders can be a fresh and affordable touch to a table setting! Why buy more supplies when you can reuse what you have? It's a very satisfying feeling!



Red Berries & Gourd Design by Better Homes & Gardens

White Painted Pumpkins Design by Dwell Studio

Gold Pumpkin Design by Martha Stewart








The word "centerpiece" brings visions of tulle, sparkles and giant stuffed cornucopias to my mind. However, I liked these ideas due to their simplicity, elegance and minimal floral detail. Don't want to spend a ton of money on a pre-made bouquet? Why not affix a few flowers on a candle holder yourself (don't let it burn too low!)? I adore the fresh airy feeling created by the wheat display above. The minimalist design of the overall table simply leaves me clear headed and full of ideas. For the most practical of decorators, staggering candles (flame less or real) in the middle of the table creates an earthy intimate feeling...and also saves a buck or two if you keep lots of candles on hand throughout the year. Not to mention electricity if you eat by candlelight (makes sneaking extra mashed potatoes a bit easier too).


Flameless Candle Design by Restoration Hardware

Rustic Candle Holder Floral Design Via Decor Village (original design creator unknown) 

Simple Wheat Design by Better Homes & Gardens






Now, my immediate response to the images above was, "Right, in Portland...I can dine on turkey while sitting next to a sparkling stream. No way." However upon further thought, why not? How fun would it be to bundle up and enjoy a thanksgiving meal on the deck with the golden leaves all around. A few space heaters and extra coats...and you're done! At the very least enjoying dessert outside could be a lovely tradition (and let's hear it for less clean up!). Maybe your outdoor experience is as simple as gathering in the back yard for hot chocolate, but I think getting some fresh air while stuffing ourselves has to be better for the soul than just...well stuffing ourselves!


River Dessert Lantern Design by Country Living

Tree Centerpiece Outdoor Table Design by Country Living

Sunflower Table Setting Design by Country Living

(Country Living Dominated Here!)






Of all my findings, I think I enjoyed this one the most. I dread the "Okay everyone, let's go around and say what we are thankful for" moment at the table. Somebody always steals my great phrase, joke, or sincere comment and I'm left with "friends and family" as my answer. Am I thankful for my friends and family? OF COURSE! I just don't do well with the spotlight on me... anyone feel the same? Why not show what we are thankful for by honoring the family tree with old photographs, writing sweet messages to one another on a chalkboard or simply hand creating place cards! This allows for a more intimate sharing time that can be revisited throughout the meal...and maybe even brought back out for next year :)



Photography Design Via Apartment Therapy originally by Country Living

Pear Place Setting Design Via Inspire Bohemia (original source unknown)

Chalboard Shelf Design Via HGTV originally by Mustard Seed Interiors






I never really wanted to admit that, yes, I do like crafts. "Crafty" has become a bit of a dirty word for some reason as many associate it with knitted tissue box covers and decoupaged pencil holders. However, I will NOW fully admit I like crafts...and I think there is most definitely a way to keep it chic and modern while creating with your own hands. The above projects are a great example of this. Especially the printed linens from Martha Stewart, will there ever be anyone better? Probably not.



Give Thanks Banner Design by Potter & Butler

Autumn Wreath Design Via Mom's Shopping Engine originally by The Speckled Dog

Fall Printed Linens Design by Martha Stewart



Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions or lovely design ideas you'd love to share? Leave a comment and link below! Later folks...