Sometimes I think Thanksgiving gets the short straw when it comes to holiday decorating. After all, it’s just one day. Why bother going to all that trouble when Christmas is right around the corner? No trouble at all, if you have a plan. Mine has always been to decorate for the entire fall season in September. The autumn table linens make their appearance and summer floral arrangements yield to autumn leaves and dried grasses. In October, I bring out my Halloween decorations. Then, after November 1, I rotate in things that are specific to Thanksgiving. A small collection of turkeys joins the folk art crows.
A cross-stitched Happy Thanksgiving gets a place of honor on the mantle across the autumn wreath. I turn the ceramic jack-o-lanterns around so they look like pumpkins again. My Mexican Day of the Dead mariachi figurines are replaced by a pilgrim couple and a cornucopia. I fill in empty spaces with dried flower arrangements, colorful gourds and Indian corn. The whole transformation takes less than an hour and every year, as I unpack my little treasures, it’s like welcoming old friends back. And isn’t that the real purpose of Thanksgiving?
Even if you’ve waited till November, there’s still time to get into the spirit of America’s quintessential holiday. No need to go overboard. Start with the front door, move on to a mantle or book shelf and finish at the dining room table. Here are some ideas to get you started. Please share yours with us.
This wreath is nothing more than torn strips of fabric tied in knots, but what a happy statement it makes! Definitely a project even little kids can help with. See it and 14 other Thanksgiving wreath ideas at Shelterness.
I love this simple composition for a mantle. Pumpkins (real, ceramic or whatever) are displayed on candlestick pillars of varying heights, and the Thankful banner is hung from rustic twine. DigsDigs has 40 mantlescapes like this to inspire you.
No mantle? No problem. Any bookshelf, window sill or doorway can become a focal point when you add a Thanksgiving garland. This one from Hoosier Homemade is a perfect family project that won’t bust your budget
Or try this pinecone garland from Ballard Style Studio. Tuck in some autumn leaves for Thanksgiving, then swap them out for holly sprigs to transition right into Christmas.
Kids may have to sit at their own table, but at least it can be fun like this one from Home Stories A to Z.
Borrow a great idea from restaurant buffets and set up a dessert station like this one from Country Living.
Arrange colorful seasonal fruit with a few autumn leaves in a pretty bowl. Flank it with votive candles and say Ah! See more easy, elegant ideas like this at Better Homes and Gardens.
Need a last-minute centerpiece? This minimalist approach from Country Living couldn’t be simpler or more elegant.
Put the kids in charge of making these turkey gourds, a clever craft from Martha Stewart.