The temperature is dropping, the nights are longer, trees are bursting with warm reds and yellows (unless you live in southern California), and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are being sold at a Starbucks near you. We have officially entered the holiday season of 2017! Thanksgiving is almost here; the day that kicks off the holidays with potentially awkward family conversations, children running up and down the hallways, and piles of delicious comfort food. In all honesty, it can be quite a hectic time, especially if you are hosting the festivities. You want everything to be perfect and cozy for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner or your friendsgiving shindig with all of your pals. Maybe you are looking for some last minute touches to liven up your kitchen with feel of the fall season, or maybe you just need some ideas to engage the kids in the festivities. Let these ideas guide you in your search to add that finishing touch of Thanksgiving spirit to your dinner table.
DIY Centerpieces
Centerpieces are a great and easy accent piece to your dinner table. Here are a few quick do-it-yourself ideas to bring color and comfort to your table.

 

1. Produce on the Table

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Arrange natural fall foliage in the center of your table settings. Pinecones, branches, pumpkins, and other gourds are staple pieces of the arrangement. You’re probably going to want a lot of pinecones in general. Add some apples, berries, and maybe even some small candles to finish off the look. If you use apples, this centerpiece doubles as a snack before or after (preferably after) your Thanksgiving dinner.

 

2. Centerpiece Box

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Place some small pumpkins and gourds in a simple wooden centerpiece box. Wrap fall leaf garland around the pumpkins in the box. If there is space, maybe add some candles to the box for a cozier feel. Don’t be afraid to add a pinecone or two. Personalize this piece by writing a nice thanksgiving sentiment on the box with chalk or sharpie. Take this look a step further by gluing a small chalkboard on the box in order to change the written message at your every whim.

 

3. Multipurpose Pumpkins

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Small pumpkins are versatile decorations. Put them in any artsy looking container and you’ve got a simple and trendy seasonal centerpiece. Consider taking something like this lantern and, instead of filling it with candles, fill it with a variety of small pumpkins. You could even fill a rustic cake stand with little pumpkins as a unique centerpiece. As always, accent the piece to your heart’s content with pinecones, leaves or any other complimentary piece of fall foliage.

 

4. Candle Holder

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Break off some twigs or berry branches; you’ll need them for this cozy candle display. Place candles on a wooden, décor tray and arrange the branches around and between your fall candles. Surround with leaves if you so desire and place a few pinecones.

 

5. Bountiful Fall Baskets

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You just can’t go wrong with baskets. If your room or your table is lacking some fall festivity, find a basket of appropriate size for the space and fill with a myriad of natural fall paraphernalia. Fill your basket with one type of item, like the pumpkins pictured above, or include a mix of arranged leaves, flowers, pinecones, and all of your other fall favorites. Go for a minimalistic look or make your baskets overflowing with autumn-y goodness.

 

6. Cornucopia

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Ah, the cornucopia. Nothing says “Thanksgiving” quite like this ornamental basket. Literally, the word ‘cornucopia’ translates to “Horn of Plenty”, and today, the word cornucopia is actually synonymous for an abundant supply of good things, which is exactly what Thanksgiving is all about – too much of a good thing. Originally from Greek mythology, the traditional cornucopia consisted of a basket shaped like a goat’s horn, flowers, fruit, nuts, corn, or whatever its owner wanted. In the Greek myth about Zeus and Amalthea the goat, Zeus accidentally breaks one of Amalthea’s horns, and as an apology, he promises Amalthea that her broken horn will always be filled with whatever Amalthea wished for. Just like Amalthea, you can fill the cornucopia with whatever you wish, whether it be fall leaves, mini pumpkins, fragrant dried flowers, gourds, pinecones, tree nuts, or anything else your heart desires. Some of the best-looking cornucopias tend to have a good mixture of both fruits and vegetables, such as grapes, corn, apples, gourds, pears, and onions.

…Crafts
Maybe you have kids, or your friends are bringing their kids, or your 10 nieces and nephews are visiting from out of town, or maybe you really just like crafts. Well here are some craft ideas for the kids in your life and for anyone that just loves a good craft session.

 

7. Pinecone Turkey

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Have we talked enough about pinecones? Honestly, pinecones have so much to offer during the fall season. They are a staple for kid’s crafts! This little turkey is evidence of that. Go find some pinecones with the kids, then provide them with craft supplies to make their turkey. Feathers, googly eyes, ribbons, buttons, and construction paper are great starting supplies, but encourage the kids to use whatever craft supplies you are willing to supply. These little guys can also double as centerpieces with character or place card holders. Just place on the table or at a placemat with the place card tucked in the cone. Parental supervision is advised if using a hot glue gun.

 

8. Leaf People

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This is such a fun. It’s not particularly themed for thanksgiving, but it’s a great fall craft. When everyone is over for thanksgiving, take the kiddos out to the yard of for a brief walk to gather as many leaves as they can. When you get back home, hand them some paper, glue sticks, maybe some markers and googly eyes if you’re feeling wild and they are good to go. Imagine little leaf people with their little leaf families and little leaf pets in their little leaf homes. The more little leaf friends, the merrier. Head on over to Hands on as We Grow for further instructions and inspiration.

 

9. Personalized Placemats for the Kid’s Table

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Use some kraft, or construction paper to create personalized placemats. You can write some messages for the kids or have each kid design their own. Go the extra mile and cover the whole kid’s table with butcher paper so that they can draw all kinds of fun festive things. Thanksgiving is a great time to remember all the things we have to be thankful for; ask the kids to write and even draw what they are thankful for this season.
Bonus
If you have ever even considered making your own pumpkin spice latte, this holiday season is the perfect time to give it a try!

 

10. Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

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Save a trip to Starbucks and upgrade your after-Thanksgiving-dinner coffee with a homemade pumpkin spice latte. Impress with your family and friends with your newfound barista skills as you sit around the table in the turkey afterglow. Full recipe and video instructions at Inspired Taste.

We hope these ideas will provide that final touch to liven up your Thanksgiving this year so that you have a little extra time to be thankful, even if it’s for something as simple as getting through another Thanksgiving relatively unscathed.

For a few more last minute tips and tricks this Thanksgiving, check out this article on decorating the table and this article for decorating your home on Thanksgiving

9 Ideas to Liven Up Your Table this Thanksgiving by