By Gayle Freeman
No need to draw out extra money to adorn your house in time for Thanksgiving. Simply stretch your imagination, add a little patience and determination, and you are on your way to making your own home prepared Thanksgiving decorations!
Key elements to keep in mind in home prepared Thanksgiving decorations are the color scheme and the motif. Important colors that should be readily available are those that represent autumn, so make sure that you use red, brown, orange, and yellow. For the motif, think turkey, autumn leaves, cornucopia, pumpkin, and corn.
Even simple items gathered from nature make splendid decorative items. A dried branch with an odd shape would make an interesting piece to be placed on a shelf. Dried pine cones stacked on an elegant white plate can become striking decorative pieces. A variation of this would involve setting slender white candles of varying heights on the plate and piling up several acorns at the candle base. Put a number of these arrangements on the dinner table and you will create instant elegance.
However, the best place to showcase your creativity during Thanksgiving is at the dinner table. Make a statement of your taste and talent in decorating by making everything on the dinner table a home-made item as much as possible. You can start off with a decorative tablecloth. Take a plain white or cream-colored piece, then get stencils or improvised stamps made from potatoes to decorate the edges of the tablecloth in the colors of autumn. Making tablecloth decorations becomes particularly interesting as it presents a great opportunity for little children to lend a helping hand.
You may even want to go the extra mile by making matching placemats, but instead of using cloth, try using brown construction papers and decorate them with stencils, or stamps, or create interesting motifs using an acorn or corn cob dipped in paint. Once the decorations are dry, seal the placemats with laminating plastics.
Little children would love to show off their creativity as well if you let them. Asking them to make pretty napkin rings for use at Thanksgiving dinner would be a nifty assignment for kids. Get several cut-up toilet tissue rolls wrapped in colored paper. Turn these into napkin rings, then decorate them with cute turkeys. Make turkey tails by having your children trace their hands on the colored papers in different autumn colors. Glue the tails, the hand-drawn turkey heads and the neck cut-outs onto the napkin rings. These little gobblers will surely delight your visitors.
Setting small, slender candles beside every plate will add to the warm and cozy ambiance. Get several empty baby food jars, wrap them in colored crepe papers, then tie a ribbon in contrasting colors around every bottle necks. Set a candle upon every jar and place them on the placemat. This could very well function as a place holder as well. Write the names of the guests or family members on small cards and glue or tape these onto the sides of every jar.
You might also want to experiment by serving heartwarming pumpkin soup in the pumpkin shell itself. Or try serving your salad in small gourds with the flesh carefully scooped out. Not only are these decorative, they also make the food look more appetizing.
Moreover, make toothpick holders by using little clay pots made out to look like little turkeys. Glue a hand-drawn turkey face (the funnier the better!) onto a popsicle stick. Then glue this onto the inside of the small clay pot. For the tail, get autumn-colored feathers and glue these inside the clay pot opposite the turkey head, making sure that the feathers stand high above the pot rim. Fill the pots with toothpicks and the gobblers are ready to go!
Aside from saving you a lot of money, making home prepared Thanksgiving decorations is fun, relaxing, and opens opportunities for family bonding. In short, not only do you get to make use of your creativity, you also build up a huge treasury of precious memories that go with each piece of decoration that you make.