Decoration Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Table

When I’m thinking about Thanksgiving, three things come to my mind: being thankful, family, and the autumn season.

Keep these three words in mind while setting your table, and create a homey and elegant atmosphere with the following tips.

Various gourds, berries, and fall leaves strewn across rustic wooden table

Invest in elegant white napkins that have each family member’s name embroidered on them – or better yet, make your own! Attach a note under each person’s napkin that states why you are thankful for them. This not only makes you feel good, but each family member will be thankful that you put the extra effort in your messages.

If you have a large enough table, create a centerpiece using ears of dried Indian corn, along with a couple of miniature pumpkins or gourds. Include a couple of unscented candles, and you have a simple yet elegant table.

Just in case you’re reading this at the wrong time of year and you’re looking for a different type of inspiration, head on over to this post to read our top tips for table setting in the springtime!Formal dining table decroated with the "good" china, indian corn, gourd, and grape vines

If you like a lot of fall color, skip the basic white and go for reds, oranges, and gold. Do the same with the napkins (change the color, of course), and for a centerpiece, carve out a pumpkin.

Rather than making a jack-o-lantern, fill the pumpkin with fake swags of berries and foliage. Bittersweet and cranberries are ideal, but keep it plastic. Bittersweet is poisonous, and you don’t want that at your table.

Choose foliage in warm reds and oranges. Add the candles, and you have a table that screams autumn.

If you’re a crafty person and have the time, sew an elegant table runner. You can choose your own fabric and decorative techniques, with colors that are on theme. Personalize it by adding your family members’ names and words of thanks, and you’ll have a family heirloom to decorate every year, and pass down to future hosts of Thanksgiving dinner.

For a special touch, you can also mark the year in the corner of your runner. This would make a great tradition to carry on. Make a new one each year or add a little something to it with the date, and display the old ones so relatives can see how the family has grown.

Choose an attractive centerpiece, such as a combination of dried flowers, berries, gourds, or pumpkins, with unscented candle. A tealight in a decorative votive holder at each place makes a nice touch, whereas tall tapers in elaborate candle holders make more of a statement.

Just remember to stick with the unscented variety. A bit of color is fine, but all of those fall scents tend to interfere with experiencing the flavors of the holiday meal – save those for the living room or bathroom instead.

Don’t forget to add a piece (or pieces) of family history to your celebration. Create a photo display, maybe on a side table. This is also a nice way to honor or remember relatives who can’t be with you for the holiday.

This is a great time of year to reminisce about old family times, and to teach the young ones about your family’s history. Tell old childhood stories and tales about growing up, and serve old family recipes. You can guarantee having lots of laughs (and maybe even a few tears) if you do this, and it makes a nice tradition.

No matter how you set your table, the most important thing to remember is to give thanks for your family, and all the blessings we all have in our lives.

Decorations not an issue? Here are some other ideas to help you survive your Thanksgiving dinner in fashion.

For more tips, check out Foodal’s Guide to a Southern style Thanksgivingand to make your holiday dinner go the extra mile, explore Foodal’s tips on how to stretch out Thanksgiving dinner to the max!

About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

7 thoughts on “Decoration Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Table”

  1. Great tips! I always have at least 10 people over for thanksgiving and I like to impress them. Most of these ideas seem simple, impressive, and affordable which I love! I’m going to make a table runner and decorate it with what I have around. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Centerpiece ideas are a-must to make the table more attractive. I wanted to try putting a photo frame of family picture, and little lamps instead of candle. I love the idea of putting a note to each person’s napkin and has a message indicating why you are thankful for them. That’s really sweet!

  3. Great ideas i must say…i especially love that tip of slipping a note on each person’s napkin stating why you are thankful for them…its these small things thought outside the box that make the festivity more enjoyable and much more memorable. Gladly noted and saved for future reference :).

  4. I really love the idea to make a photo collage of family members next to the table! It is so important to cherish the family we have with us and the family members who aren’t present. This is a great way show thanks for the good memories we share with our loved ones. Plus, it could spark interesting stories at the Thanksgiving table!

  5. Thank you for all of the great tips! This is my first year of having an actual dining room table so I am super excited about decorating it during the holidays!

  6. This is some really great information. I always entertain between 8 to 10 people every year, so this is a great way to show them just how much you appreciate them. I really like the idea of personalizing each napkin with the individuals name, along with the sideboard of past Thanksgivings. I think I might do this one this year since my Uncle passed away last year. This will be a great way to remember him.

  7. The dishes and glassware in the picture are lovely. My Mom always had special plates and silverware she used on special occasions and holidays. I don’t have room for anything extra in this house, but I do have some amber colored glassware and candle holders that would be perfect for the Thanksgiving table. I think your suggestion about putting a note at each person’s place about why you’re thankful for them is a wonderful idea. I can’t always be with loved ones on the holidays, and I think I will incorporate notes on that theme in my holiday and birthday cards from now on.


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