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
Craft these easy place cards and napkins rings to designate spots at the Thanksgiving dinner table. We've also got bonus kids' table Thanksgiving decorations at the end of the slideshow!
Custom-made place cards add thoughtful touches to your Thanksgiving gathering and add style to your tabletop. Simple imagery and fanciful lettering marry on this business-card-size tag. Choose a fun font or fill in names by hand using a calligraphy pen. Pin each place card to a miniature pumpkin or gourd.
Whip up these fabulous Thanksgiving napkin rings in less than an hour without going near your sewing machine. From complementary fall colors, cut two strips of felt or burlap: one 4x1-1/2-inch strip and one 4x1-inch strip. Use tacky glue to attach the narrower strip to the wider one, then glue the short ends to form a loop. Add a graphic number to an oversize button. Glue the button to the napkin ring.
This Thanksgiving place card is inexpensive and easy to make. Cut a small, narrow rectangle from light blue cardstock and embellish the ends by cutting out a triangle shape. In your best scrawl, write guests' names or special messages. Roll the cardstock to give it shape, and place on an apple charmingly tucked in each place setting.
Whet everyone's appetite for Thanksgiving dinner with a menu card set on the table. White ink on dark paper gives this card a sophisticated twist. Look for a white-ink calligraphy pen or chalk-ink marker.
Editor's Tip: If your calligraphy lacks style, type your menu in a fun, festive font and print on heavy cardstock.
Rev up table talk with a few quotes about gratitude and thankfulness. Print quotes on cardstock and cut out to fit in small vellum envelopes (available with card-making supplies at crafts stores). Write each guest's name on the blank side of the card and place in the envelope so the name shows through. Wrap a length of decorative paper or ribbon around the envelope and secure with double-sided tape. Ask guests to read their quotes aloud and let the conversing begin.
Small sprigs of artificial bittersweet hot-glued to white cardstock create delicate place cards for guests. Accompany the pretty place cards with fall-decorated chocolates for guests to enjoy.
Repurpose old wine bottle corks as easy Thanksgiving place cards. Write guests' names on rectangles of vellum and adhere to slightly larger rectangles of decorative paper. Cut slits in the corks with a knife and insert the name cards.
Combine simple elements for a place card with natural flair. Twist a kiwi vine (or other curly branch) around a gourd. Slip a strip of paper printed with a guest's name between the vine and the gourd. (Use crimson-color paper for a bold autumn look.) If you want to add more color, pair the place card with a small flower bud (we used a dahlia).
Crafted from jewelry-making supplies, these place cards also double as napkin rings. Print names on decorative paper cut to fit metal pendant frames. Glue paper tags to the backs of the pendants, then string onto lengths of thin hemp (both pendants and hemp are available with jewelry supplies at crafts stores). Tie the pendants around rolled napkins and tuck a wheat shock or two behind the tags.
Nestle an ear of Indian corn in layers of tamale papers (available at grocery stores) or dried cornhusks. Tie one end with a shiny ribbon. Cut a rectangle from cardstock, write a guest's name on it, punch a hole in the top, and string onto ribbon. Add shimmer to the ear of corn by sprinkling it with metallic dusting powder used for cake decorating.
Simple copper pipe fittings become showstopping table decorations when filled with ornamental grasses. Tuck the name cards in among the grasses to create rustic yet elegant place cards.
Editor's Tip: These arrangements were made with seed heads of reed canary grass, switch grass, and feather reed grass. Visit a florist, greenhouse, or farmer's market to find different grass varieties.
To create these easy monogram place cards, simply cut out circles from cardstock with decorative-edge scissors. Then apply rub-on letters to the paper circles and place under a clear glass salad plate.
Direct guests to their seats with these flag-bearing gourds. Cut a 6-inch length of wide ribbon and fold in half. Using crafts glue, adhere a metal skewer inside the fold, then glue the ribbon together; let dry. Write a guest's name on the ribbon, cut a triangle-shape notch into the end, and poke the skewer into a small pumpkin or gourd.
Make room at the table for everyone by layering each place setting. Start with the dinner plate, place a salad plate on top, add a soup bowl, then nestle a napkin in the bowl. Using a paint pen, write a guest's name on a mini pumpkin and lay it atop the napkin. Tuck in a few leaves for an extra touch of fall.
Richly colored velvet ribbon elevates a basic place card to elegance. Fold a square of cardstock in half and write a name on the front. Punch two holes, about 1/2-inch from edges of card, along the fold. Thread ribbon through the holes, tie in a simple knot, and let the ribbon tails dangle.
Write words of admiration or thanks, along with the recipient's name, on a strip of paper and wrap it around a glass candleholder. Use double-sided tape to secure. Experiment with layering different papers to create a unique look. Place a pillar candle inside the holder and light just before dinner. (For safety's sake, never leave a lit candle unattended.)
Editor's Tip: If you're making lots of these place cards, use a set of inexpensive juice glasses for candleholders. They can often be bought in packs.
These place cards are easy -- no cutting or gluing required. Use store-bought 4x6-inch "thank you" note cards. Choose a design that has enough space on the front to write guests' names (as shown in the photo). Write a quick note of gratitude inside the cards and stand them up as place settings.
Spell guests' names using alphabet beads for dimensional place cards. Fold a square of cardstock in half. Punch two small holes below the fold line near the outer edges of the square. From the back, thread a piece of beading wire through the left-hand hole, leaving a tail on the back. String letter beads onto the wire to spell a name, then thread the wire through the right-hand hole to the back. Twist the wire ends to secure.
Skeleton leaves (available at crafts stores) are complemented by natural looking paper for these textural place cards.
With fun Thanksgiving place settings such as these, adults will be clamoring to sit at the kids' table. Help kids remember that Thanksgiving is about more than turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie with this Mayflower paper piecing. Print the pattern (available below), and assemble. Transform the paper piecing into a napkin clip by adhering a clothespin (clip side down) to the back of the crafts-stick mast. Clip the paper piecing to a bright blue cloth napkin to give the appearance the Mayflower is at sea.
Keep your littlest guests in their seats while you're preparing the turkey with this combo place mat game. To create a paper turkey for each kid, cut out two circles from construction paper for the body and head, then use paper scraps to design the eyes, beak, and feet. Assemble the troops to decorate the feathers, then take turns playing "Pin the Feathers on the Turkeys." After the game, put the turkeys under the plates for fun place mats.
This precious pilgrim hat makes perfect place cards for the kids' table. Print the pattern (available below). Cut a curved slit in the base of the hat and insert the top to give it dimension. Outline the belt and buckle using a black pen, and use a silver gel pen to define the curve at the top of the hat.
Add a dash of humor to your Thanksgiving kids' table with a dried gourd turkey perched atop a wooden napkin ring. Recruit your kids to cut felt and paper pieces and glue them to the gourd to make the turkey's face. For the crowning touch, make the "feathers" by folding a patterned napkin accordion-style and securing with a wooden clip hidden behind the gourd.
Turn a turkey piecing (pattern available below) into a crayon holder for the kids. Punch two holes in the feather pieces and run a string through them before adhering the pieces to the body. Tie to a rubber band and wind it around a bunch of crayons. Use the crayon bundle to support the piecing.
Editor's Tip: Forget the fancy table mats. Cut place mats from basic brown kraft paper instead. Kids will have something to doodle on, and you won't have to worry about cleanup.
Help this turkey piecing stand tall and proud. Print the pattern (available below). Use dimensional adhesive foam to add depth between the turkey's tail feathers and body, and decorative-edge scissors to add texture to the feathers. Gently curve the cardstock for even more dimension. Write the name of each little gobbler on the turkey's banner.
Kids of all ages will love these edible place cards. Our classic gingerbread cookie recipe makes these turkey forms with the help of a hand-shape cookie cutter. Once the cookies are baked and cooled, use small candies and frosting to decorate the fingers to look like colorful feathers and the thumbs to resemble turkey faces. Use white icing to pipe guests' names onto the turkeys.