Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Traditional Thanksgiving Feast: Decoration Ideas with a Twist

A Vintage Thanksgiving Celebration by B.Nute productions on Etsy
For this year's Thanksgiving gathering, how about throw a traditional celebration, filled with nostalgic charm of when you were young. Here are some decoration ideas that may remind you of Thanksgiving at grandma's house... or at your own home! And for a little spice, I've added a few twists along the way. Perhaps your gathering can be a mix of yesteryear and today.

Inspiration Board

  • Fall Leaves - Fall leaves scattered abound always look good-- across the table, at each person's place, nestled in a hurricane lamp (be careful that the candle is does not come near the leaf), in a large vase, still attached to the branch... Leaves are one of the most versatile and colorful decorations for Thanksgiving.
  • Indian Corn - I used to be so fascinated when my mother would pull out the Indian Corn around Thanksgiving time... it sure didn't look like the summer corn that we had been enjoying a few months earlier! Indian Corn is again a Thanksgiving decoration standby. So easy to arrange on the center of the table, or use one at each person's place to hold up his/her place card. 
  • Pumpkins and Gourds - Pumpkins on a cakestand, gourds scattered on the table or in a wooden bowl... pumpkins and gourds come in so many different shapes and colors they are a great decoration item! You can also find all sorts of variants on a pumpkin and gourd at craft stores and gift shops: from glittered pumpkins, to ceramic, wood, and more!
  • Fruit - Apples, pomegranates, persimmons, clementine oranges, grapes, and more... Fruit looks great in a large bowl or basket, and is great to eat as well!
  • Wheat - A bushel in a vase or just scattered around the table, another staple, earthy decorating item.
  • Nuts and Spices - Small wooden bowls of walnuts, acorns, and a cinnamon stick or two is a great, natural look.
  • Burlap - Burlap is a hearty fabric that is perfect to use as a table runner to place all the above items on! It's sturdy, natural and best it can easily be cut and not need to be sewn! A tattered or rough edging adds to the look.
  • Baskets/Old Wood - Many of the above natural items will look great in a twig or hand woven basket or an old wooden bowl or serving platter.

A Few Twists to the Traditional Thanksgiving Look
Try a Different Palette of Colors for Thanksgiving This Year
A Different Palette
Surprise your guests this year and veer away from the traditional Thanksgiving palette of reds, oranges, yellows and brown. Why not greens and creams like the image above. Sophisticated, fall like, and surprisingly elegant and Thanksgiving feeling!

A Modern Approach to Thanksgiving Decorating
Modern, White and Clean
Thanksgiving is all about the bounty of goodies from the earth! The beauty of this idea is that you can pack your table will all sorts of Thanksgiving decoration goodies (from the list above, say) and it will look great. In fact, the more the better! Why not throw a twist to that bounty and try a modern, clean look for your Thanksgiving party. The above picture illustrates this very well. A white background, and few cleverly placed fall decoration items has as much impact as a bountiful table.

Foreign Influence
A little foreign influence in your Thanksgiving decorations can add a great look to your party as well as possibly add a touch of your own families heritage. After all, America is a great melting pot, why not honor this at your Thanksgiving table. Perhaps you have some French in your family... why not add a touch of Provence with sunflowers or a fall colored provencal fabric (these fabrics are the perfect color palette of rusts, and sage greens.) If Italian is in your heritage, how about some Italian pottery pieces or a pitcher with traditional Italian decorations. If you have some German, how about a stein or two? These little accents will add to your overall look and can make for a great discussion about your families history.

Vintage Props: Nostalgic Serving Wear, Cornicopias and Trinkets
The First Thanksgiving Candles by Wisteria
Pilgrim and Native American Candles
The candles above are very reminiscent for me of Thanksgiving at my house when I was growing up! A company named Gurley made these candles, and can be found all over the internet on sites like eBay and the likes. A company named Wisteria have just re-introduced very similar candles. They would be great on the Thanksgiving table, or one in front of each guests place!

Papier Mache Turkeys from
Old Fashioned Turkeys
A ceramic or paper mache turkey are very nostalgic decorations! They can be very large or small at each guests place, and can be found as vintage items, or remakes.

Example Turkey Platter from Williams-Sonoma

Turkey Platter and Thanksgiving Dinnerware
I clearly remember my grandmother's Thanksgiving dinnerware that she used at our family gathering. Although, in this day and age who has room to store a whole set of dishes and bowls, one or 2 serving dishes are a great keepsake to pull out every year and well worth the memories. It's amazing what kids may remember!