Thanksgiving is a time of to celebrate the beauty of family, friends, and the joy of sharing our bounty. While a traditionally set table with heirloom china and traditional flowers is quite lovely, a more down-to-earth simply set table can be equally pretty and simpler to create. So many different looks can be created with ease by simply using the fruit of the season.
Pinecones are often sold by the bagful, but they are just as easy to pick up the next time you visit a park or take a walk. Bring home your pinecones and spray paint them a metallic gold. Once they are dry, pile them in a large decorative bowl, accompanied by a few sprigs of berries. This is a gorgeous, yet very down-to-earth centerpiece that can last all autumn long, while looking spectacular for Thanksgiving.
Another simply pretty idea is to use miniature pumpkins or gourds as candleholders. You can choose either tapers or votives, or a variety of the two to create depth and visual interest. Scoop out a small hole in the top of each pumpkin and insert the candle deep enough so that it sits steady. Place all pumpkins on a tray or large serving dish in the center of your table or line them up the length of the table runner.
If you like the look of candles, but don’t like the idea of the work involved with the pumpkin holders, line up pillar candles along the runner or group them in the center of the table. Then surround each candle and grouping with leaf garland, keeping the garland well away from any flame or fire risk.
One of the most spectacular Thanksgiving centerpieces is a cornucopia. Most large retailers and craft stores carry cornucopia-shaped baskets. Lay your basket in the center of your table, and fill with miniature pumpkins and gourds, red and green apples, pears, grapes, and nuts. Place the larger items towards the rear of the basket, the smaller items in front, the grapes draped over the top, with some apples, pears, and nuts spilling out onto the runner.
A mum can be used in place of traditional flower arrangements, while appearing as something quite different. Purchase a bright orange mum in a size that would fit well in the center of your table. Place the entire pot into a bowl or container that will cover the pot, then add a large stick or chunk of branch to the top, pushing it in deep enough that it stands up straight, and finally add some large leaves around the stick, using florist wire planted in the potting solid to hold them up. Voila – a mum pumpkin! You may also decide to remove the flowers from the plant and insert in florist foam in small bowls in order to make individual pumpkins at each place setting. The large intact mum can then be planted or set outdoors when its time as a centerpiece is over.
If you cannot imagine a centerpiece without flowers, consider using a pumpkin as a flower pot. Remove the top of a pumpkin (fit to the size of your table or use mini pumpkins at each place), and remove the seeds and flesh. Clean thoroughly and dry, then add florist foam and fill with a floral arrangement of fall flowers.
Remember to always keep the decorations in proportion with your table – a large table can handle a large centerpiece, but a small table needs a smaller centerpiece – and you may find that a runner looks nicer with your arrangement than a tablecloth with a single centerpiece. Try out different looks and arrangements before settling on just one, and look for colors and designs that will look nice with your dinnerware. Whatever centerpiece you choose, think in terms of autumn and harvest, and you will end up with a beautiful addition to your meal.