We’ve gone to my in-laws for every Thanksgiving my husband wasn’t on duty since before we were married (my first Thanksgiving with his family was in 1980). Because we were young and in love (and we wanted leftovers for days!), we decided we needed a special Thanksgiving just for us so we started having turkey and all the trimming on October 8th, our wedding anniversary.  But then we had children and for years we stopped doing our special dinner because our schedules were just too crazy. But as the kids grew, we realized they’d have no memories of holidays at our house, so we reinstated the not-Thanksgiving dinner , usually on our anniversary.

Now the kids are grown and we’re split between family obligations, but they insist on setting aside one day near the holiday to celebrate together. We rarely make turkey since that’s usually what’s served on Thanksgiving, and for the last two years, my oldest son has cooked and he decides. We’ve had beef, ham, and goodness knows what this year.

Easy Table Decor

It takes just a few minutes to make the table feel festive. Set the table the day before, or ask someone to do it for you while you prepare dinner. Identify the person in the family who has that special decorator touch and let them go wild in your linen closet, kitchen drawers, and closets and nooks around the house to find interesting objects to decorate with.  Always add candles and fresh flowers. These were purchased at the grocery story and cut down to fit this interesting serving bowl.

Flowers & candles set the mood - HoneyBaked Holiday: Thanksgiving Was Never So Easy ad
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If  you have time to shop ahead, check out your local thrift store. The embossed white tablecloth and fall runner were less than $3 for both of them. The candle holder is a plain glass pillar candle holder from Michaels with sequin pre-glued trim added to the top. And don’t forget glassware – they add sparkle to the table!

Need something in a pinch?  Pull out a sheet in crisp white or in a fall color and iron it. Just the simple act of making it wrinkle free takes if from sheet to table covering. And no, not even fitted sheets are off limit – just use ribbon, string, rubber bands, or twine to knot them at each corner and then tuck any hanging fabric up inside the fastener. Then use coordinating fabric, pillow cases, cloth napkins, doilies, or placemats to cover the tablecloth.

Quick, easy & cheap Thanksgiving Table Decor - Small family and big table? Serve family style and make it part of your decor. Bake and serve in the same dishes for less clean-up!
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Small family and big table? Serve family style and make it part of your decor. Bake and serve in the same dishes for less clean-up!

Use baskets you have around the house - line them with cloth or paper napkins. Even foil, freezer paper, or paper doilies will work.
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Use baskets you have around the house to serve bread, rolls, or even dessert! Line the basket with cloth or paper napkins. Even foil, freezer paper, or paper doilies will work. I used a fat quarter of fabric from my sewing stash and tucked the raw ends into the basket.

Quick, easy & cheap Thanksgiving Table Decor - don't be afraid to mix colors, patterns, and textures. And don't forget glassware - they add sparkle to the table!
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Don’t be afraid to mix colors, patterns, and textures. Layer the table so that any spills from dinner are taken away with the top cloth(s) and the bring on dessert! Use Natural Decor Elements

Quick, easy & cheap Thanksgiving Table Decor - reuse Halloween decor and other items scavenged outside
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As a kid of the 60’s, most of our table decor was created from things we found outside. At Christmas, the holly bush in the front yard that we hated beause of i’s prickly leaves, became our favorite place to cut festive branches. For Thanksgiving, the big Maple trees with their leaves in a rainbow of Autumn hues was fabulous. But all too often here in Seattle, we’d have rain and blustery winds and the leaves would fall early so that’s when we gathered sticks, pinecones, and pine boughs for the table. We also reused any gourds or mini pumpkins that were still good from Halloween. Moss was pulled from the trees fall fruits like apples were added.

Those these are stock photos, they represent very well the natural table decor we’d do every year. It wasn’t fancy, but it made the day seem special and after all, isn’t that what table decor is supposed to do? It doesn’t have to be over-the-top, it just has to be done with love.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.