One of the biggest holidays of the year is Thanksgiving, calling for a decoration style all of its own. Because it’s so close to Christmas, the temptation is to go light on Thanksgiving décor, but with a few easy steps, you can have your dining room decorated like a pro and enjoy the holiday in high style.
Pick out holiday candles with an aromatic scent to them, like cinnamon or pumpkin pie, and arrange them so the smaller candle sits front and center of the larger ones. Cut ¼ inch wheels from oranges, lemons and limes a week before Thanksgiving so they’ll have time to set. Leave them out overnight so they can dry, but rest the candles on a few of them so the fruit can dry with a curve to it. The next day, apply a glaze to front of the fruit wheels for a decorative sheen, and when the holiday arrives, use sticky tack to attach the back of the fruit to the candles so they remain standing. Decorate the base with dried berries and potpourri leaves to finish.
On either side of your candle centerpiece, arrange candles that spell out “Thanksgiving” or “Giving Thanks”. Stores will usually sell candles with letters on them, but if you can’t find any, it’s easy to make your own. Use white tissue paper as your base and brown tissue paper as the overcoat. Cut a strip of each color about the height of a toilet paper roll, wide enough to wrap around each candle. Tape the white tissue paper around the middle of the candle with clear tape. Use a stencil for the brown tissue paper to trace the letters in “Thanksgiving” on the brown tissue paper, and then take a sharp steak knife to score the letters out. Tape the brown tissue paper on top of the white, but fold the tape in on itself to create double-sided tape so it doesn’t show.
When setting the Thanksgiving table, the details are what set apart the pros from the amateurs. Set each place by layering the necessary plates (salad plate on top of dinner plate) and arrange silverware properly (left side, l-r: napkin, salad fork, dinner fork, dessert fork; right side, l-r: dinner knife, teaspoon, soup spoon). For the final touch, put a small squash on each person’s salad plate.
You don’t need a fireplace in your dining room, just a mantle, sideboard, buffet or any shallow surface. If you have a piece of art, or a mirror, hanging on the wall, hang a Thanksgiving wreath from it. Underneath, take six brown bottles (pop bottles are more sophisticated than beer bottles) and stuff them with small sheaves of wheat. On the fronts of the bottles, attach the letters to spell “thanks” by stencilling them on white paper and gluing on.
Whether you have a standing screen separating your dining room from your living room, or an open door frame, that space is begging to be worked with. Drape a red, gold, orange and green leafy garland so it gently hangs in the middle, with enough length that it can hang down either side. Fasten the corners with push pins so it stays in place.
No matter what kind of light fixture you have in your dining room, decorating it is a subtle way to use all the dimensions of the room. Cut out leaves from different colors of paper and tape them to your light fixture, and tape wheat underneath so it branches down and out. Close to where your light fixture meets the ceiling, tape thin branches that also extend down and out, and glue a few leaves onto them for an added finish.
For a whimsical touch to Thanksgiving, make your own placecard holders out of wood discs, walnuts, acorns, googly eyes, ribbon, felt, pipe cleaners and silk leaves. All of these items—except the nuts—should be available at an arts and crafts store. Cut black pipe cleaners into 1” pieces, using 6 per turkey as the legs, and tape them to the wood discs. Glue the walnuts to the pipe cleaners, and the acorns to the walnuts. Wrap an orange ribbon around the nuts, right where the acorn and walnut meet, and tie it in a bow at the front. For the beak, cut little triangles out of yellow felt and glue them to acorn, right underneath where the googly eyes will be glued. Finally, take three silk leaves and stagger them so the points don’t exactly line up, and tape them both to each other and the back of the walnut. After the turkey has been assembled, use calligraphy to write the names of your dinner guests on a card and gently place it in between the leaves.