Starting to stress out about how you'll decorate your home for your Thanksgiving feast? Don't worry. There are plenty of ways you can make your setup look holiday ready without spending a ton of time or money on decorations. After all, you probably have more pressing issues to worry about, like cooking the turkey. Try out these fun projects, and feel free to recruit some little helpers if you have kids!
'Thankful for' cards
Above all else, Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate what you have and give thanks to those who made it possible. This year, get an idea of what everyone is grateful for by providing cards for guests to fill out at the table. Use markers, glitters or stickers to decorate index cards, writing something like "I am thankful for …" on the top. Place these cards at each table setting along with a small pencil so everyone can write down their thanks. When everyone's done, go around the table and have everyone say what they wrote.
Chalkboards make cute, artsy decorations, and they can be particularly useful, too. You can pick up a variety of sizes and styles at your local craft store, then use them to help you designate certain dishes, set up a menu or welcome guests into your home. Pick up some chalk or chalk markers and use your best handwriting to spell out your holiday messages. For extra flair, wrap some fake leaves, burlap scraps or strings of berries around the frames.
Midwest Living magazine suggested picking up some candleholders at a thrift store or using old ones you already have to create fun centerpieces with seasonal gourds. Use some spray paint so they match if you're going for a unified look. Otherwise, just group them together in a nice-looking arrangement and place small gourds on top. Put shorter ones in the center of the table and taller ones on side tables.
Fruit and veggie candles
If you run out of tea light holders but want some nice illumination for the Thanksgiving table, you could always use apples or small pumpkins as candle holders. Simply trace the outline of a tea light on the top of the apple or pumpkin, then cut out the circle, making it deep enough so the tea light will fit inside. Make sure the fruits or veggies you choose can stand up straight without toppling over! When you're ready, arrange them in a group or line them up along the table runner and light them up.
To make a cute table runner, you can pick up burlap at the craft store and stock up on some fall-themed acrylic paint colors. Let your kids work their creative magic using a Thanksgiving theme, or go the simple route by painting leaf shapes or even polka dots yourself. Let it dry completely before you set it up on the table.
Country Living magazine had a great idea for a "Thankful tree" that puts everyone's gratefulness on display. Get it set up by finding a nice, twiggy branch outside. Place it in a vase with some nuts or other small objects to fill the space in between the container, then tie a ribbon around the neck of the vessel. Now use decorative fall-themed scrapbook paper to make small leaves, using a hole punch to attach a loop of ribbon or string. Have your Thanksgiving guests write what they're thankful for on the leaves, then hang them up on the branches.