Ok, people, Halloween is in the rearview mirror. It’s time to take down the scary witches and creepy spiders. Christmas is still 41 days away and there’s a great, big wonderful holiday in between that even has its own parade! Can we please not forget this wonderful, family-oriented day that has no gift-giving requirement? I mean, c’mon, this one centers around turkey and pie, for Pete’s sake! But just how to go about decorating for Thanksgiving?
You see, my angst goes way back. I have always thought that Thanksgiving gets the short-shrift when it comes to decorating. There are aisles and aisles of Christmas and aisles and aisles of Halloween – and about two shelves, if you’re lucky, of Thanksgiving décor items at the average Marshall’s or Target. So what’s a person who loves to decorate supposed to do? And don’t you dare say “just get out the Christmas stuff early!” So, as a gal who loves her tryptophan, I offer the following simple suggestions for decorating for Thanksgiving to get you, and your home, in the spirit of this wonderful holiday…
When Decorating For Thanksgiving – Keep The Pumpkins, Lose The Jack-O-Lanterns
I never feel too badly about investing in general fall décor, like faux leaves, pumpkins and gourds, because they have a long season. You can set these babies out in September and use them continuously, in one form or another, till Black Friday. They have a way-longer shelf life than any Chanukah or Christmas decorations for sure. So don’t be afraid to keep the pumpkins when decorating for Thanksgiving, maybe interspersed with turkeys or Pilgrims (see below), just lose the Jack-O-Lanterns. Their time will come around again – just be patient.
When Decorating For Thanksgiving – Go Vintage
Vintage décor for Thanksgiving is fairly hard to come by, with one exception: Turkeys! Yup, you got it. There are a lot of vintage turkey planters and salt and pepper shakers. Most of these planters are from the 1950-60’s. The tradition was to send floral arrangements home when you couldn’t make it or bring one with you in place of a pie. How do I know this obscure fact? Well, of course, I have a collection of these vintage turkeys that goes back to my childhood. I set them up among the pumpkins on my mantel in November, and sprinkle them around my downstairs. They are a fun item to collect at antique shows, flea markets and garage sales. They are relatively small too, so they are even a great find when traveling. You can chose to fill the planters or not (I don’t). Due to their vintage nature I would avoid using burning candles in them, however, lest they crack, and then you’ve got quite the mess on your hands. You can’ occasionally find vintage pilgrims (often in the form of shaped candles), but most often heat and time have made them a little less than attractive.
Insider Tip: Thrift and Consignment shops, like Consignments Ltd. are great places to score these vintage treasures.
Go Handmade in Thanksgiving Decor
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day set aside for being grateful, so simple, hand-made decorations are not only wholly appropriate but they are truly in the spirit of the day. Consider getting your crafty-self on and making a brown paper runner for the table. You can fill it with words and/or images that represent what you are grateful for? Or go back in time to your childhood and make cardboard turkeys by outlining your hand. You can attach them to a grapevine wreath or use them interspersed with pumpkins on your mantel.
It’s All About The Food When Decorating For Thanksgiving
Tryptophan notwithstanding, I LOVE the food associated with Thanksgiving. Given that, I try to make my Thanksgiving table at least as beautiful as the food that will be served on it. I have brown, raffia chargers for under the plates, seasonal candle rings for the tapers and festive, fall-tone cloth napkins. There are so many options in tableware to step up your game for Thanksgiving. And there’s no need to save it just for the actual day – use it all month long to bring the spirit of Thanksgiving into your home. Hit the thrift and consignment stores for a stack of appetizer plates in a cute, fall-tone plaid or cocktail glasses with a nice, gold rim. Or if you don’t have a set of china for the big day, look for one at one of these shops, as they truly are a ” consignment shop best buy.” (See my blog: Consignment Shop Best Buys Part 1).
A Final Thought…
So I hope you will chose to decorate your home for Thanksgiving instead of skipping right to Christmas or Chanukah. It gives us a reason to celebrate what we are grateful for, and I can’t think of anything better than that…