While the turkey may undoubtedly be the center of attention during Thanksgiving, the supporting cast that often goes unnoticed is the table decorations. A well-decorated table plays a crucial role in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that sets the stage for a memorable holiday meal. The right table decor can elevate the mood of any gathering and transform an ordinary dinner into a special occasion. This Thanksgiving, go beyond the expected cornucopia and add some creative flair to your table with these fun and easy turkey decorations.
Turkey Decorations for Thanksgiving
When it comes to Thanksgiving, there’s no beating around the bush – the turkey is the main event. But there are so many ways to incorporate turkey designs and details into your table decor without being too literal or kitschy. Here are some turkey decoration ideas to try:
Feather Your Nest
Nothing says turkey like feathers. Use feathers in vases, fold napkins into feather shapes, or use feather prints in your table linens. Just stick to neutrals like browns, tans, creams or golds. You don’t want to look like Big Bird exploded on your table.
Go for the Gobble
Add some subtle turkey references with plaques or signs with cute turkey-related phrases like “Gobble Til You Wobble,” “Let’s Talk Turkey,” or “Give Thanks and Gobble.” Just be sure to keep it tasteful – save the pilgrim and turkey butt jokes for later.
Make some homemade turkey decorations with construction paper, felt or even vegetables. Simple turkey cut-outs, mini turkey finger puppets or turkey place cards are easy DIY options. For table centerpieces, hollow out mini pumpkins, squash, or oranges and insert LED lights to make edible turkey luminaries.
Leave Your Mark
Use turkey footprints or cut-out turkey hand shapes to make fun place cards. Or dip wine corks in brown paint and stamp them around the table for a subtle turkey track design. You can print or draw turkey outlines on inexpensive bandannas and use them as napkins for a rustic touch.
Go Wild with Colors and Textures
Think beyond just brown when incorporating turkey colors. Mix in some bright autumnal colors and fun textures too. Scatter bronze, copper or gold glass beads, acorns or colorful fall leaves around white pumpkins or vases for an elegant, wild turkey look. Use wheat, twine, burlap and floral picks as accents.
Set the Scene
Paint a festive background for your turkey decorations by using classic Thanksgiving colors and motifs. A table runner or cloth in a simple buffalo check instantly says fall. Or go for a more dramatic look with a bold pattern like wide stripes, autumn leaves or a harvest scene. Just be sure your colors complement, not compete with, the rest of your table decor.
Light it Up
Candles and lanterns cast a cozy glow and warm up any holiday table. Arrange assorted sized pillar candles in the center or cluster smaller votives around. Hollow out mini pumpkins, gourds or large oranges, insert an LED light, and line them down the table as organic turkeys. For fun, fill glass containers with cranberries, nuts and cinnamon sticks and place a candle in the middle.
Feast Your Eyes
No Turkey Day table is complete without some edible decorations. Use fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts for natural embellishments. Fill bowls or vases with apples, pomegranates, oranges, gourds and mini pumpkins. Arrange fresh rosemary sprigs in a floral foam ring around a hurricane lamp. Scatter pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts around the tabletop to subtly tie in those turkey colors.
Finally, incorporate some handmade touches to reflect the gratitude and blessings we celebrate on Thanksgiving. Have kids trace and cut out their hands onto construction paper and write what they’re thankful for. Or have everyone write thank you notes on small cards to place around the centerpiece. No matter how simple, these personal DIY accents will make your holiday decor extra meaningful.
The Thanksgiving table centerpiece provides the focal point for your turkey day decor. You can let your creativity run wild with colorful autumnal displays, or keep it simple with a dramatic flower arrangement or well-styled cornucopia. Here are some creative ideas for your Thanksgiving table centerpiece:
Cornucopia of Plenty
No Thanksgiving table is complete without the iconic cornucopia spilling over with fruits, veggies, berries, nuts and autumn bounty. Stick to a traditional wood or wicker cornucopia, or use unique vessels like a brass urn, wheelbarrow, watering can or rustic crate. Make it monochromatic with just oranges, golds and greens, or go crazy with colorful gourds, mini pumpkins, pomegranates, pinecones and real or silk fall leaves and blooms. Just be sure it’s well balanced and allows guests to converse around it.
You don’t need a huge cornucopia for an impactful centerpiece. A simple glass cylinder or hurricane vase overflowing with seasonal blooms like mums, roses, carnations, and hypericum berries makes a gorgeous statement. Stick to traditional fall palette like burgundy, orange, bronze or yellow. For added drama, nestle branches of curly willow, bare branches, or dried leaves and grasses throughout the arrangement.
There’s nothing cozier than candles at Thanksgiving. Create a centerpiece of assorted sized pillar candles clustered together on a tray, mirror or platter surrounded by fall accents. Mix metals like brass, gold and silver for eclectic flair. Use sprigs of rosemary as a natural embellishment. Or fill glass votives or tea lights with cranberries, spices, nuts and pinecones for a contemporary take on a cornucopia.
Create an organic yet elegant woodland-inspired centerpiece with a distressed wood slice as the base, stacked with coordinating metal, glass or mercury glass cylinders and vases in varying heights. Fill with foraged elements like moss, lichen, berries, bare branches and fallen leaves. The neutral tones keep the focus on the beautiful shapes and textures.
Heap a collection of hollowed-out mini pumpkins, ornamental gourds, and squashes for an effortlessly chic centerpiece. Spray paint them metallic gold, bronze or pewter and pile them high on a bare wooden slab. Tuck in sprigs of wheat and flickering pillar candles for a touch of fall magic. Let some stems cascade over the edges for dramatic effect.
Leaf the Way
Make your autumn foliage the star with this easy nature-inspired centerpiece. Collect colorful fall leaves and arrange simply on a plain glass cake stand or clear glass bowl. For added height, nestle a glass vase filled with bright berries or a few fresh flowers in the center. The colors of the leaves will pop against the clear glass. Sprinkle in some gold, bronze or pewter beads or confetti for a bit of sparkle.
Don’t be shy about adding some turkey whimsy to your table. Surround a bunch of faux or fresh fall flowers with plush toy turkeys for an instant smile. Or nestle a few artsy wooden turkey cutouts into a bed of wheat and dried leaves on a marble slab. Get the kids involved by having them trace and cut out hand turkeys on construction paper or felt to perch on picks emerging from a foam base. A little tongue-in-cheek turkey cheer helps set the lighthearted mood.
You don’t need to slave over an elaborate centerpiece to wow guests. A simple white pumpkin or gourd hollowed out and filled with fresh, seasonal flowers like roses, mums or carnations makes a classic elegant statement. Strips of burlap or linen peeking out from the base adds rustic flair. For an interactive touch, surround the blooms with sprigs of fresh rosemary and provide small gift bags for guests to take some home.
Festive Finishing Touches
The little details separate an average Thanksgiving table from one that really dazzles. Elevate your turkey day decor with these creative touches your guests will gobble up:
Set a lighthearted tone by customizing your place cards to match your guests’ personalities. Print out pictures of your guests (or their pets!) and attach to folded note cards with their names. Or affix cardstock cutouts of their favorite foods, hobbies or Thanksgiving icons to personalized place cards.
Let kids unleash their creativity and make their own place mats, name cards or centerpieces. Set out acrylic paints, craft supplies and faux leaves, feathers and flowers and see what they dream up! Their homemade touches will add so much heart to your table.
Imagine your guests’ delight when they find handwritten notes tucked into their napkins. Share favorite memories, gratitude or holiday wishes to start meaningful conversations. Just be sure to use non-smearing ink on absorbent linen or cotton napkins.
Print out or make simple “I’m Thankful For…” cards for guests to fill out and display in a small box, basket or flower pot on the table. Reading them aloud after the meal helps remind everyone the meaning of the holiday.
Cast a Spell
Wrap cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, cracked nutmeg and cranberries in tulle squares, tie with ribbon and place one by each setting as napkin holders. Not only will they smell delicious, guests can toss them in cider or wine for added flavor.
Fetch the Fish
In some families, wishbones from the turkey are dried and placed by each setting so everyone can make special wishes before pulling them apart after the meal. Kids love this tradition.
For an organic kid-friendly DIY craft project, cut out leaf templates from construction paper and let kids glue dried cranberries all over to make sweet turkey-themed place mats. They can write their name or what they’re thankful for on their creation.
Light the Way
Table numbers double as charming accents when you decorate mini pumpkins with guests’ table assignments and line them up on the table or buffet as a guide. Or hollow out oranges or apples, carve names or numbers into them, add an LED light and cluster them as fun luminaries.
That’s A Wrap
Wrap inexpensive bandannas around rolled silverware at each place setting. Not only is it decorative, guests can use them as napkins to protect their holiday outfits from spills!
Thanks A Bunch
Nothing expresses gratitude like fresh flowers. Create mini arrangements in bud vases tied with ribbon at each place setting or attach a single stem bloom to napkins for an elegant touch.
String a garland around bottles, vases or your tablecloth from the centerpiece. Use twine and clothespins to attach notes of thanks, fall leaves, sprigs of wheat, dried slices of orange or other natural elements.
Wrap cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole allspice and apple slices in cheesecloth squares. Tie with twine and place one in each water glass – the spices will infuse the water with cozy fall flavor.
Recycle mason jars from summer canning into festive drink glasses. Paint or decoupage the outsides with chevron stripes, burlap, or leaves. Etch guests’ names near the base and send them home as gifts.
Make a fun selfie station! Mount a chalkboard on an easel with “Give Thanks” drawn on it. Provide chalk so guests can write what they’re thankful for and pose in front of it. Display festive props like feather boas, turkey hats and pilgrim glasses nearby for silly shots.
After the meal, provide nutcrackers, whole nuts in shells, and dishes for cracked nuts to keep guests busy cracking and snacking. It’s a fun nostalgic activity that stimulates conversation.
Send guests home with a mini bouquet of flowers from your centerpiece. Tie a sprig of rosemary and tag with your Thanksgiving wishes around the stems. This thoughtful memento will make their holiday complete.
As a sweet farewell gift, tuck a sachet of potpourri into mini envelopes for guests to take home. Sachets filled with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and dried orange slices will make their house smell like the holiday. Just tie with burlap and attach a tag with your name or initials.
Q: When should I set up the table decorations?
A: You’ll want to decorate your Thanksgiving table 1-2 days before the big meal. For elaborate centerpieces using fresh fruits and flowers, set those up the morning of Thanksgiving Day to prevent spoilage and wilting.
Q: How do I make my table setting look cohesive but not too “matchy-matchy”?
A: The key is to coordinate, not necessarily match. Pick 2-3 main colors and stick to them when selecting plates, napkins, tablecloth etc. Then layer in different textures like wood, burlap, velvet with the same color scheme for visual interest.
Q: What’s an easy centerpiece for a kid-friendly table?
A: Let kids make their own! Give them faux or fresh fall leaves, feathers, pinecones, acorns and mini pumpkins. Have them glue or arrange items onto a foam base in a bowl or tray. The imperfections will make it fun and organic.
Q: How much space should I allow for a centerpiece?
A: Allow at least 18-24 inches of clearance on all sides so a centerpiece doesn’t obstruct conversation. If your table is on the smaller side, keep the height lower so guests can see and interact across the table easily.
Q: Is it tacky to use artificial flowers and fruits?
A: Not at all! High quality silk flowers and fruit look extremely realistic year after year. Just mix some real elements in like fresh blooms, greenery, nuts or herbs so you get the best of both worlds.
However you choose to decorate your Thanksgiving table, the most important ingredients are generosity, gratitude, and celebration of tradition. A beautifully decorated table sets the tone for a warm, festive gathering where you make lasting memories with loved ones. Bring your autumnal vision to life by embracing the flavors, textures, and colors of the season. Infuse your own creativity and style to reflect the unique bonds you share. Brighten up your home and garden with low-cost Christmas decorations that not only bring festive cheer but also allow you to showcase your creativity. Most of all, have fun with it! Don’t be afraid to go whimsical and add playful turkey-themed accents that make your guests smile. The tables may turn when it comes to cleanup, but in the end, your hard work will create a welcoming backdrop for connection, laughter, and thankfulness.