Creative Ideas for Hosting Thanksgiving in Your New Home
By Heather Skyler
You’ve settled into your new home and have invited family and friends over to celebrate Thanksgiving day. Maybe it’s your first time hosting, or maybe you just want some fresh ideas since everyone has seen your plastic cornucopia centerpiece thousands of times! Either way, it’s your new place and you want to make a statement.
Here are some ideas we’ve gathered for creating a snazzy Thanksgiving table.
Placesettings or Free-for-all? It adds a touch of elegance to include place settings at a Thanksgiving table. This way, you can mix and mingle guests to your satisfaction, and everyone feels included at the same time.
Homemade cameos If you have a bit of extra time, consider creating silhouette name cards for each family member or friend in attendance. Find photos of your guests that feature a strong head and shoulder side view. Print the photos onto regular paper, cut around their outline, then use a black permanent marker to completely color over the photo. Next, glue the silhouette onto white card stock, and for an extra touch of class, place the card on a small gold mat on top of the plate.
Painted pomegranates Combine creativity and bright colors, by using gold or silver paint on a pomegranate. The rich red color and hard texture of the pomegranate make it the perfect fruit to write on. Use permanent or liquid ink in gold, silver, or black. Carefully paint each guest’s name onto either a real or fake pomegranate, then set the piece of decorated fruit onto their plate.
Magnolia Leaves The firm, leathery texture of a magnolia leaf provides an ideal surface for writing a guest’s name. Their color also contrasts nicely with linen and provides a natural, rustic touch to your Thanksgiving table.
Centerpieces All tables need a centerpiece. Candles and flowers are always lovely, but if you want something a bit more unique, try one of these ideas.
Succulents and pumpkins Get out your hot glue gun, because here’s a very simple idea that looks amazing. First, pick up a pumpkin of any color. A color other than orange is a bit more eye-catching, but orange will look great too. You will also need: Moss – dried sphagnum moss works great; spray glue (for the moss); and succulent cuttings.
Using the spray glue, attach the moss to the top of the pumpkin. Trim as desired. Then use the hot glue gun to attach your succulent cutting to the moss. It works best if the succulents have a flat bottom. Use a variety of textures and shapes for the best look, and add extra details such as dried berries if you like!
Thankful jars As with any craft, there are a couple of variations on this theme, but the idea is simple, inexpensive and looks fantastic when complete. When finished, you’ll have six jars lined up in a row that spell out THANKS.
First, either buy or save up six old spaghetti, jam or pickle jars. Wash and remove labels. Buy glass paint if you want to make them pop with color. Royal blue or a more thanksgiving-themed hue is nice.
Once the paint is dry, you can either make colorful labels that spell out THANKS (one letter per jar) or paint or glue a letter onto each individual jar. Placing the letter onto both the front and back of the jar works well, since that way guests can read the message on either side. Add flowers, wheat stalks or decorative twigs, if you like, then place them in a row on the table.
If you’re feeling ambitious, or using smaller jars, you can also spell out “GIVE THANKS.”
For more instructions on this theme, visit: http://tatertotsandjello.com/2011/11/make-a-thankful-jar-centerpiece-thanksgiving-jars.html
Turnip votives The purple and white skin of the turnip adds a beautiful touch to any Thanksgiving table, and turning them into candle holders is simple. First, remove the tea candle from its metal casing, then use the casing to etch out a circle on the turnip’s top. Next, use a melon baller to scoop out a space for the candle, making sure to create a flat bottom. Finally, pop in the candle and light it! Add a row of these candles beside a bunch of purple mums or decorative purple lettuce and you’ve got a very unique centerpiece.
Create a gratitude chain
One fun way to begin the meal is by creating a “gratitude chain.” Use twine or thick ribbon and stretch it the entire length of the table. Cut out small squares of gold paper and punch a hole in the corner of each one. Next, cut the ribbon or twine at even intervals and reconnect the ribbon by tying each newly cut end to the hole in a card. Before dinner, each guest can write down what they’re thankful for on one of the cards, then during or after the meal, the cards can be read aloud. To make it into a game, have guests keep their thank you cards anonymous, and later, everyone can guess who wrote the card.
Label dishes One way to make serving food easier on the host, is by setting up a buffet beside the dinner table. To make the buffet more festive, you can create fancy cards beside each item with the dish’s title and list of ingredients. This also saves people with allergies from having to ask what’s in each dish.
Colors Leave brown and orange behind this year and consider mixing up the fall color scheme with less traditional colors. Why not include pale blue placemats alongside vibrant red and orange napkins. Or work with an absence of color: set a white tablecloth with off-white napkins; add pale stalks of wheat in white vases.
No need to be perfect! A mismatched table, when done just right, can add an extra level of charm to the festivities. Mix in vintage flowered plates from the thrift shop alongside your wedding gift white plates. Offer an eclectic mix of wine and water glasses. Give everyone a different napkin but keep it in the same color scheme. The chairs need not match either. A variety of chairs, as long as they’re not of the metal folding variety, can make a table look homey and inviting.
Take the pressure off of yourself to have everything be perfect and perfectly matched. The point is to gather people together; so don’t avoid inviting too many guests because you lack enough place settings. Be creative and open-minded, and make lots of good food and serve lots of good wine, and you can’t go wrong.