Decorating ideas for Thanksgiving
If you’re hosting this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, don’t forget to decorate your home and the Thanksgiving table with signs of the season. If you apply a little creativity, your Thanksgiving decor will be as highly praised as your cooking.
Greet your guests with a Thanksgiving bounty at your front door. Use Indian corn, acorns and dried leaves secured with ribbon at the top of the corn husks to fashion a decoration for your front door. Place a selection of gourds and pumpkins at the side of the door to decorate your porch.
Decorate the center of your Thanksgiving table with a variety of store-bought and homemade items. You can use a pilgrim hat centerpiece from the party store or use a large bowl of gourds, Indian corn and small pumpkins instead. Buy votive candles in autumn-themed colors of orange and brown and place them in the center of the table.
Try white pillar candles, white pumpkins and cream-colored gourds- for an elegant look.
Set your table with napkins, paper plates, cups and bowls with turkey, autumn or Thanksgiving patterns. Include tissue pumpkins or tiny turkey candles if you have room between dishes. Add pilgrim or pumpkin name placards and rustic autumn place mats to complete the festive table.
Hang Thanksgiving- and autumn-hued guest towels in the bathroom, and decorate soap dishes with orange soap and tiny gourds. Decorate the bedroom with blankets, bedspreads and pillow cases in rustic hues.
Decor on a Budget….
So, you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your place. Maybe it’s your first one, or maybe you overdid the guest list. Either way, one of the pros of hosting is getting to decorate. You can decorate without killing the budget for food, and still do a great job. The goal is to create a warm, festive mood inside your home. Here’s a few simple tips!
*Get outside. Look around. Collect branches and twigs with colored leaves, pine cones, and acorns. Place these throughout the house: in a vase, or taped to a banister. You can also use twine to connect the branches, and make a garland. Or, take a ribbon and tie two bunches of long twigs together at the non-leaf end. Nail these over your front door for a lovely bower impression. Pine cones and acorns can be placed in bowls or tall vases. Using objects found in nature gives your home an organic but modern feel.
*Make your own centerpiece. Take a tall vase or even a plastic pitcher. Wrap it in an autumnal piece of construction paper–such as orange or yellow. Then, use a hot glue gun to attach some contrasting ribbon to the bottom and the top (think dark greens, or reds). Inside, you can place more branches–or go to a local craft store or second-hand shop, and look for fake branches on sale. That way you can reuse them. (Cranberry branches will also work for Christmas…something to keep in mind).
*Gourd it up! Now is prime gourd-shopping time. They’re all on sale after Halloween. Leave them outside as long as possible so they age slower. Place them around your door or on shelves throughout the house.
*Make luminaries and place them along your driveway or walk way. These consist of paper bags, about half filled with sand or dirt. Place a tea light candle inside, and light. The warm glow as your guests arrive sets the mood wonderfully–and tea lights are cheap. If you want to splurge, get one “house warmer” candle in a festive scent: pumpkin, crème brulee, etc. and light it about two hours before guests arrive. Scent can set a mood more than anything else.
*Eat by candlelight. You can find table candles pretty cheaply. But candle holders? Well, those can be pricey. But party stores will generally have plastic versions that are very inexpensive. Another good place to search for these would be a second-hand and/or thrift shop..and mix them up! Go for the “rustic” or country “hodge-podge” look. Besides, when is the last time you looked that closely at candle holders?
Alternatively, you can line the center of your table with votives.
*Remember the bathrooms. Go to a discount store or dollar store and buy some hand towels in festive colors or designs. Buy a holiday-themed magazine and leave it somewhere it can be seen. The bathroom is another place gourds and scented candles can be used.
*Involve the kids: Have your children draw pilgrims, turkeys and the Mayflower then display them on the walls or in inexpensive picture frames on tables or desks.
*Remember that Thanksgiving is about being thankful. Those you love are at your house to enjoy you–not to judge your decor. So don’t sweat it! Even the smallest efforts will be appreciated.
Thanksgiving Dinner on a budget- 9 tips for saving money!
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be a very costly venture. Here are some ideas for saving money on this year’s turkey day feast.
Get your turkey for free. Many supermarkets offer free turkeys to customers who spend a certain amount of money during the promotional period. It is usually not difficult to spend the amount needed to earn a turkey, since the shopping period lasts long enough for you to have made several of your grocery buying trips. If you earn a free turkey, use it. If you don’t, chances are that one of your guests is eligible for one. And since she is not cooking Thanksgiving dinner, she will probably be happy to donate it to your gathering. Ask around.
Shop ahead. Clip your coupons and search the ads for when the things you need are on sale. If you start early enough, you shouldn’t have to pay full price for a single item on your Thanksgiving dinner list.
Take inventory. Don’t wait until you are preparing a dish that Thursday morning to find out you forgot to pick up an ingredient. Make a check list (Or use this one) and go through your pantry to double check that you have it all. Going to the store a couple of days ahead of time for the things you missed might be annoying, but you will spend less than if you have to make a quick run to a much more expensive store that is open on the morning of the holiday. And not only will this tip save you money, it will eliminate the stress of finding out you are out of an ingredient when you are in the middle of preparing a recipe.
When guests ask what they can bring, don’t tell them to bring nothing. Turning down the offers of others to contribute something to the meal may seem like a gracious measure, but most people who offer actually want to contribute and are not just offering out of obligation. And since you already have a free turkey, why not let them help defray the costs of some of the side dishes and desserts as well?
Taking the guest contributing dishes idea one step further; why not make it a complete pot-luck Thanksgiving this year? Send out fun invitations inviting everyone to sign up for a portion of the meal to cook and bring along. This way no one is bearing too much of the financial burden of feeding a large meal to a crowd.
If you still want to cook the meal on your own, you can at least ask your guests to bring the dessert. If each guest has a favorite pie he simply must have on Thanksgiving then let him bring it himself. There is no reason you should have the expense of having to serve several desserts. Sometimes the cost of the desserts winds up being more expensive than the meal itself.
Use decorations from outside. Pine cones, acorns and autumn leaves are in abundance and they are free. Use them as accents to your décor.
Tell guests to bring their own doggy bag. Those disposable plastic food storage containers are wonderful for sending guests home with leftovers, but the cost can add up. Request that guests who want to go home with leftovers bring something to pack them in.
Thanksgiving is about being grateful for the family, friends and love we all share. While the day is centered around a feast, it’s the togetherness that counts most. Times are hard for everyone and nobody is going to feel badly if there is less at the table this year, or if they are asked to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner. As a matter of fact, a meal prepared by many willing hands will make the day all the more special.