Divine Dinner Party

12 Creative Table Decorations for Thanksgiving

We all know that Thanksgiving is all about food. It's so much about food, in fact, that table decorations for Thanksgiving can tend to fall by the wayside.

Decorating is simply not one of the part of planning for Thanksgiving dinner that immediately comes to mind first. Menus, yet. Turkeys, yes. Guests, yes. Table decorations? Last minute.

But while table decorations for Thanksgiving dinner aren't ever going to be the most important element of the meal, the right décor will always be a wonderful addition to the day. It's a great way to make your holiday table even more festive, and to lend a real feeling of celebration to the day.

Looking for more ideas for planning a Thanksgiving dinner, including table decorating ideas, dinner and celebration ideas, traditions, and more? Check out Thanksgiving Planning Central.

A Dozen Thanksgiving Décor Ideas for Your Table

1. Gourds or Baby Pumpkins

Decorating the Thanksgiving Dinner Table with PumpkinsThis is one of those win-win-win table decorations for Thanksgiving. Gourds and small pumpkins are cute and thematic, really inexpensive, and they don't take up a lot of space. Consider using them as whimsical and colorful favors to put at each plate setting. Using stencils or free hand, paint each guest's name on his or her pumpkin in a pretty script, or pin a little place setting card to the top or front of each one.

As a bonus, guests can then take this Thanksgiving table decoration home-- a great way to remember the day!

2. Autumn Leaves

Pretty Autumn leaves for Thanksgiving

You can use autumn leaves as table decorations for Thanksgiving in several great ways. One is as a Thanksgiving place setting card. To make a natural autumn leaf place card, simply wax each of your pressed leaves. Then glue a name tag on each.
Waxing Autumn Leaves: If you've never waxed leaves it's very easy. Place a single leaf inside a folded piece of wax paper (wax side to the leaf). Using an iron on low setting, move the iron back and forth over the paper. You'll see the wax melt onto the leaf. Gently open the paper and release the leaf. Let it cool and you're done!

You can also used these pretty waxed autumn leaves around the base of some candles for a simple but elegant centerpiece. You can also randomly distribute some pretty autumn leaves around the table for an understated, windblown look. This is so pretty!

3. Pinecones

Pinecones are another gift from nature, and a great idea for Thanksgiving décor for your table. Paint the tips of the pinecones with a hue that compliments your dining room's overall theme, or use warm autumn colors for a Thanksgiving theme. Wrap a little ribbon around the middle and add a heavy paper name tag (use a hand stamp to stamp each name tag with a cute little turkey!) if you'd like to have the pinecones as place settings. Otherwise you can simply add a few pinecones to your "au natural" centerpiece arrangement.

4. Fresh Fruit

Fresh Fruit Table Decoration IdeaAutumn is all about the harvest. And pieces of fresh fruit make wonderful table decorations for Thanksgiving because they're bright, beautiful, inexpensive, and... edible! You can do a lot of different things to decorate a Thanksgiving dinner table with fruit.

You can add little nametags to the stems of pears or apples and use them as place setting cards (as pictured). You can use a bowl of fresh, bright apples as a Thanksgiving table centerpiece. You can place fresh cranberries in candle bowls, or make a line of them down the middle of the table. You can create an overflowing arrangement of fruit, nuts, and natural fibers and run it right down the middle of the table, as pictured below under "cornucopia." Have fun with it!

Raffia Placecard Table Decor for Thanskgiving

5. Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are the perfect table décor for Thanksgiving. You can use a bit of raffia to tie around a cloth napkin at each place-setting. Use a bamboo or other natural-fiber table runner, or use natural fiber placemats. I've even seen people pile moss or peat down the middle of a table for a beautiful, natural, and earthy-looking table decoration for Thanksgiving. Simple but pretty!


6. Sticks or Bundles of Herbs

Use a little bundle of rosemary and thyme tied up with a bit of ribbon and a name tag for each place setting. Run a row of dried herbs down the middle of the table. For an elegant and unstated look, fill a vase with clean, interestingly shaped sticks, or cut sticks with leaves or berries still attached from trees in your yard and use them to decorate your Thanksgiving table.
Thanksgiving cornucopia decoration idea centerpiece

7. Cornucopias

A cornucopia is a very traditional image when you think of table decorations for Thanksgiving. They make wonderful centerpieces! You can fill a cornucopia with apples, nuts in the shell, or even appetizers like mini eggrolls. Don't forget to surround the cornucopia with some waxed autumn leaves to complete the look.

8. Sprigs of Wheat

You can find these pretty readily in the craft department of any good sized department store. Mingle the wheat with a bundle of fresh flowers for a fall look, use it to surround a centerpiece, or add it as a garnish. Even tie a little bundle of cut-off wheat with a ribbon, add a nametag, and use it as a place setting card for Thanksgiving.

9. Placemats, Napkins and Runners

When choosing placemats for Thanksgiving tables, it's all about color and theme. For an elegant, understated look, go with single-color placemats (dark orange, deep rust, or other Autumn hues) and then add a playful cloth or paper napkin with a Thanksgiving design. Try not to mix too many patterns. Thanksgiving Table Decor with Fruit and WHite Plates

10. Plates, Bowls, and other Tableware

Most people like to break out the good china for when putting together their table decorations for Thanksgiving. A formal table simply doesn't look complete without it! That said, for a more modern Thanksgiving table décor, simple plates, like the white ones picture with pears here, can look elegant, understated, and beautiful. Go with the Thanksgiving dinnerware that works best with your decorating scheme.

11. Create a Tree of Thanks

This Thanksgiving table decoration begins with a small branch from a tree. Secure the branch into a piece of Styrofoam or florists foam (you'll want to hide the foam in some way – the easiest is putting it in a small clay pot and covering the top with soil or moss). At each person's plate, leave a pen, a piece of autumn colored construction paper (or, a little more elegant, little tree-shaped bits of cloth and fabric paint markers) and a small paperclip. Have them write for what they're thankful on the paper and hang it in the tree. Later everyone can read the messages. This is a particularly nice activity for children.

I love that this is both a table decoration for Thanksgiving, and an activity. But I've got some more ideas for Thanksgiving party games and traditional activities here.

12. Indian Corn

Indian Corn Decoration for a Thanksgiving Dinner TableDried Indian corn is another blissfully easy Thanksgiving table decoration that requires nothing more than an eye for placement. The best part about this choice is that after the meal you can hang the corn on your front door as an apt fall decoration until you're ready to put up your Christmas decorations.

Finally, in considering your table decorations for Thanksgiving you can always go for historical reflections like a pilgrim's hat, the Mayflower, and corn dollies. All three of these ideas are ones that the children in the house could work on before the holiday arrives.

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