Overwhelmed with Thanksgiving dinner preparations? Get a head start by making delicious and easy appetizer recipes now. By doing a little cooking ahead of time, you can avoid the hassle on Thanksgiving Day. Our make-ahead appetizers include recipes that can be prepared the day before or up to six months ahead of the holiday.View Slideshow
Add fall flavor to your Thanksgiving table with elegant yet easy-to-make Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas. From natural elements to candle displays, these centerpieces will be a highlight on your holiday table.
Wooden boxes can be used for all manner of things, including a tabletop conversation-starter. Go antiquing or piece together a simple box using wood and nails; then add oil-rubbed bronze handles to each end to make it a centerpiece that can move as easily as the conversation.
(image credit: Shannon Acheson)
These picture-perfect tapered candleholders set the scene for one beautiful table spread. Want to make sure your candleholders last beyond November? Hot-glue silk flowers to faux pumpkins instead of opting for the real deal, and you'll be enjoying this DIY centerpiece project for years to come.
(image credit: Maria Sabella)
Check out this inexpensive centerpiece display that costs just pennies to create.
Although the flower markets tend to be a little less colorful this time of year, there's no reason your Thanksgiving table has to suffer. Choose in-season alternatives to add wow factor. Accents like miniature pumpkins, berried branches, and leafy greens tuck beautifully into a wooden bowl for a centerpiece that speaks to the autumn timeframe.
(image credit: Anne Sage)
Pull together your own paper-foliage centerpiece fit for the Thanksgiving feast by cutting lined pages into leafy silhouettes. Hot-glue the leaves to florist's wire, wrapping and pinching as you go. Improve the bouquet with sprigs of faux holly and set it all in a colorful box wrapped with twine and fitted with a holiday-theme tag.
(image credit: Sara Schmutz)
A bit of metallic spray paint can transform a few natural items into truly distinctive centerpiece elements. Here, a collection of vertical pieces -- an oak branch, magnolia leaves, thistle flower, allium, nigella seedpods -- were painted with copper paint. Place each item in a variety of shaped glass containers and place down the length of a table. To pick up the shimmery paint tones, try serving pieces or flatware in gold tones, too.
Instead of making a pit stop in the floral department, try the produce section of your neighborhood grocery store first. With a fresh eye for texture and color, you'll find lots of inspiration, such as purple cabbage, artichokes, kale, napa cabbage, and curly lettuce. Here, a shallow footed tray becomes the vase. Hollow out the center of the cabbage and replace with florist's foam or a small jar of water. Arrange a few blooms inside; surround with other pretty colored vegetables. Add a few accent votives, wrapped with leaves from a napa cabbage; tie with string and float a candle in water.
If you'd like to skip the formality of a centerpiece, go for distinctive place settings instead. Start with a plain white tablecloth and contrasting runner down the center. Then, on each plate place a miniature pumpkin with unusual patterning (or, for a mix-and-match look, a collection of pumpkins and gourds in multiple colors).
Tuck seasonal mementos -- think nuts and pinecones -- in glass containers to create a pick-up-and-place centerpiece.
There's a clever way to remind you and your family of the true reason for the season -- and create a centerpiece in the process, too. Each day of November, have family members write something they are thankful for on a leaf shape, cut from multicolored construction paper (search the Internet for copyright-free art). Punch a hole in the top of each leaf and use string or twine to tie from a branch. You can paint the top of the branch white or leave it natural. Prop the branch in a tall vase filled with acorns, nuts, or small rocks.
If soup's not on the menu, delicate soup bowls are a pretty way to add color to individual place settings. Simply fill each with water and add a few blooms; feel free to match the blooms around the table or give each person their own color or variety. Create the name cards by taping a piece of construction paper to a spoon handle and propping it in the soup bowl.
To get around the how-to of creating your own centerpiece, rely instead on a dramatic container to do the work for you. Here, a tall vase on a slightly fluted base offers an impressive focal point. Branches, trailing with autumn leaves, take the place of flowers.
Editor's Tip: Before deciding on placement of this type of a centerpiece, sit in each chair to ensure that the arrangement won't block the line of sight.
What better way to bring the smells of the season to the table than to create a centerpiece focused on your favorite autumn herbs? To create, fill distinctive vases or glasses with tall sections of herbs, including sage, thyme, and rosemary. If the containers are very small, try one at each place setting, or space several down the center of a table.
This stress-free Thanksgiving centerpiece makes a statement on a sage-green table runner. Simply tuck pears, nuts, and fresh or preserved leaves in a large wire basket for an updated take on the cornucopia.
Editor's Tip: A great part of this display is its portability -- simply lift and set elsewhere to make way for the Thanksgiving feast.
This Thanksgiving buffet proves that presentation really does make all the difference. Drape harvest-theme table runners across a wood buffet table. Serve favorite Thanksgiving dishes -- from mouthwatering turkey to fluffy sweet potatoes -- in simple white serving dishes. Dress up the rest of the Thanksgiving table with a pair of earthy brown candles and use a pretty Japanese maple as a backdrop by setting it on the floor.
You don't need to be a talented painter to create a unique still life; all it takes is an eye for what's extraordinary about the ordinary. Here, a collection of autumn fruits -- pears, apples, plums -- tumbles out of a double layer of mesh wrap formed into a cone, secured with a few stitches, and wrapped with a pretty ribbon.
Soft white and golden hues dance in natural lighting at this alfresco Thanksgiving table. A vase filled with wheat adds texture to the centerpiece. Fill a tall cylindrical vase with dried white beans. Add a berried branch from a Golden Raindrops Crabapple tree to another vase to complete the setting.
Editor's Tip: Don't have a tall cylindrical vase? A wide round vase would hold more beans and wheat for a fuller centerpiece display.
Watch this video and learn how to make an easy and elegant wheat centerpiece for Thanksgiving.
A table doesn't have to be the dining spot in order to deserve a centerpiece: side tables, buffets, and entryway consoles are great places to exercise a few creative muscles, too. The trick to the effortless look supplied here? Each distinctive container focuses on just one item -- acorns, pomegranates, cabbage stalks, fig branches -- grouped together for an unmatched wow factor. On the mirror, preserved artichokes are secured to ribbon using florist's pins, rings, and hot glue.
Who says casual, kid-friendly centerpieces should be relegated to the kid table? This feathered friend is sweet and charming enough for a seat of honor at the big-kid table. To create, have every guest write their thanks on a piece of construction paper, cut, crease, and fringe to resemble a tail feather. Tuck each feather into an oversize pinecone. Make the turkey's head and neck from pieces of paperboard cut in oval shapes; add googly eyes and a beak and wattle. Elevate by stacking on top of several boxes or baskets. To complete the rustic look, surround with gourds and use a kraft paper runner.
Multiple tiers in this dramatic creation put a feast of textures and colors on display. While it may look intricate, the stunning collection is made from easy-to-replicate items and simple flower-display techniques. Simply soak a section of florist's foam, cut to fit each level; insert items such as dahlias, fruits, and veggies (here, grapes and artichokes) in complementary colors. If you don't have a tiered tray, try several cake stands. A mini white pumpkin anchors each table setting.
Bright radishes supply the inspiration for these sweet little place cards. Use small salt cellars or ramekins lined with a cabbage or kale leaf. Place a radish, cut with a shallow slit, on top of each leaf; insert a place card.
If you'd like to send guests home with a small token of affection at Thanksgiving, try this pretty, simple idea: Put a cutting from a favorite plant in potting soil and add a miniature accent.
On any other day, a soup tureen is a purposeful addition to dinnertime. But its expansive interior and accents make it a good place to display your centerpiece efforts. Here, this footed version is filled with water-soaked florist's foam; dried gourds, viburnum berries, and a variety of flowers (dahlias, mums, scabiosa centers) add both texture and color.
Contrasting colors and interesting textures add visual variety to this outdoor-inspired centerpiece. Select a few acorns; carefully remove the tops and set aside. Spray-paint the seeds a bright color, let dry, and reattach the tops with a bit of hot glue. Secure a twine loop to the top with more hot glue and hang from an intricate branch (suspended in a pretty vase). Place the vase off-center in a tray and add more acorns and a complementary bowl to complete the vignette.
Branch out from the typical Thanksgiving color palette and dress your table in earthy tones of brown with touches of green and blue. A chocolate-brown tablecloth anchors the visual display, which includes blue canning jars with fresh greenery and tall, green tapers sitting in containers of tan and white pebbles.
Choose white pumpkins for a soft yet stunning arrangement that will stand out amid the Thanksgiving table fare.