Thanksgiving is a special time of the year: family, friends, good food and good times, not to mention football and time off from work. What's not to love? For many of us, Thanksgiving means gathering with the people we care about to appreciate all that we have in our lives, and while there is some work involved, it can be both fun and rewarding.

Part of the fun is getting the house ready for the festivities, and that means seasonal decorations around the house, including a festive centerpiece to put on your table that will impress everyone and get them in the mood to celebrate. Best of all, a beautiful centerpiece can be simple to make and with minimal cost, utilizing many objects that you can find around your house or yard. The key is to use vibrant fall colors that conjure up images of Thanksgiving and the fall season. Remember to have fun with it and incorporate your own sense of style and whim. This is also a project that the kids can not only take part in, but they can spearhead the effort and make it their own. Just make sure to oversee the use of flames and sharp utensils like knives.

1. Fall Foliage Mixture

What You'll Need

  • medium glass bowl
  • mixture of fall leaves
  • 2-3 pine cones
  • 3-4 small pine branches
  • large glass bowl
  • 2-3 small bunches of hawthorn or honeysuckle berries
  • 2-3 small gourds

Method

Colorful fall foliage is best, but not critical as brown leaves will work, as well. Fill bowl with leaves and arrange pine cones, branches, and gourds in a stylish manner. Berries on branches will add color.

2. Country Pinecone Display

What You'll Need

  • medium glass bowl
  • 25-30 small to medium sized pinecones
  • 10-12 small pine branches with needles
  • 5-6 small bunches of hawthorn or honeysuckle berries

Method

Arrange pinecones so that they are level with the top of the bowl. Insert a few of the small pine branches and berry bunches so that they stick out in different directions, then add more pinecones. Insert more branches/bunches and build the pile until it forms a decorative mound.

3. Pumpkin Votive

What You'll Need

  • small pie pumpkin
  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 2" votive candle
  • one dozen small pinecones
  • 5-6 small pine branches with needles
  • paring knife and spoon
  • cake stand

Method

This is best prepared the day that it is used. Cut pumpkin on top and remove seeds. Fill with cranberries until the candle sits on top and sticks halfway out. Place pumpkin at center of cake stand and arrange pinecones and branches around it.

4. Cranberry Candle Holder

What You'll Need

  • 2 flower vases, cylindrical, or wide-mouthed Mason jars
  • 3 bags of cranberries
  • ribbon
  • small pine branches

Method

Fill vase with cranberries until about ⅔ full. Place candle on top, center it, and then top off. Tie ribbon around vase in decorative manner along with small pine branches.

5. Indian Corn and Gourds

What You'll Need

  • 5-6 small ears of Indian Corn
  • 3-4 small gourds
  • several leaves
  • round serving dish

Method

Arrange corn and gourds in an intermittent pattern on the plate, with gourds in the middle and corn surrounding it or fanning out. Add leaves in-between.

6. Pumpkin Flower Holder

What You'll Need

  • small to medium pie pumpkin
  • paring knife and spoon
  • small drinking cup
  • flowers

Method

Cut open pumpkin and remove seeds. Place a small glass into the cavity of the pumpkin and add water. Cut flowers so that about ⅔ are in pumpkin and place in glass.

From all of us at Parenting Squad, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.