Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving dinner is always a great excuse for having fun with table decorations. You have the whole family assembled to give thanks, and getting creative helps make it a festive celebration. This year, think beyond a typical table setting and add some of your family’s personality. And don’t overthink it: If you don’t have enough matching place settings, then mix it up with what you do have and add décor that gives it an eclectic look. Or, hit up the Dollar store for inexpensive white plates and bowls—use these to fill in when you run short on place settings.

Here are some decorating ideas to get you started:


  • Place small pumpkins and gourds in the center; spray paint them a silver or gold for a classy holiday look
  • Fill a hurricane globe with corn kernels or candy corn and nestle a candle on top
  • Carve out a medium sized pumpkin and use as a vase for fall flowers
  • Wrap an assortment of white candles with burlap, twine and silk fall leaves
  • Fill a long wooden box with pinecones, leaves, twigs, gourds and candles

Place cards

  • Tie twine around a gourd or stem of a small pumpkin; attach name card
  • Spray paint gourd or large leaf gold and write guest’s name using a black permanent marker
  • Make paper crafts – cut out the shapes of a leaf, pilgrim hat, pumpkin, turkey and write a name on each shape
  • Use pinecones to hold the name cards

Napkin rings

  • Wrap twine around a napkin several times with an acorn tied to the end; or tuck in some evergreen between the twine and napkin
  • Cut strips of burlap, raffia or scrap fabric and tie around napkin in a bow
  • Use butcher paper decorated with stamped images of turkeys, leaves and pilgrims or with words like “give thanks”, “family”, “rejoice” and” love”

Get the kids involved! Let them…

  • Create a “thankful” table runner – Get an inexpensive table runner and put the kids in charge of having guests write what they are thankful for on the fabric.
  • Turn toilet paper tubes into napkin rings – cut tube in half and decorate with markers and stickers
  • Write out the menu on a chalkboard or decorate printed copies of the menu for each place setting
  • Help make dinner and set the table!