The holidays are a time for nostalgic meals, music, and making memories. We find comfort and joy in small traditions and decorations that make the time of year feel truly special and remind us of the anticipation, hope, and magic we experienced as children. But once we've graduated from the kids table, we realize someone is responsible for making all that magic. For some folks this comes naturally! For me, making the magic happen is a bit more tedious than I anticipated. I always look back at the holidays wishing I had made it feel a little more special, celebrated a little more boldly, and spent more intentional time with the ones I love.
What I've realized in recent years is that I have to simplify my efforts in order to check off all those boxes without feeling overwhelmed. Because it should still feel like the holidays for magic makers too!
So magic makers, here are a couple tips to help you create that warm cozy feeling at your Thanksgiving this year without sacrificing YOUR holiday feels.
Focus on the table
Thanksgiving traditions revolve around food. We spend ALOT of time in the kitchen, but the magic happens at the tables. If you've got the gusto to decorate your whole home for thanksgiving, go for it! But if you want to make the event feel oh-so-special while investing a little less time, money, and
brain power.. focus on the table. You can even get a head start on Christmas decorations without skipping over Thanksgiving with this method. Tablescapes can make a simple meal feel extravagant and indulgent! Imagine what it can do for your beautiful Thanksgiving masterpiece.
Repurpose natural and inexpensive pieces
I like to start with an easy and inexpensive base. Burlap or brown paper can make a wonderful table runner and you won't have to worry about cranberry sauce staining a beautiful new tablecloth. Let the frayed edges of burlap show but fold the paper over at the edge for a finish look. You can even add a ribbon or lace to the edge or create your own lovely design on the ends that hang over the table, if you are feeling craft-y. Have any thrifted lace doilies laying around?
My favorite way to decorate these days is to repurpose nature. You can always pick up a beautiful fall bouquet of sunflowers or dahlias. But this can also look like some greenery plucked from your own garden or from your local park, cattails are easy to find all over the Treasure Valley! Other major players include leaves, pinecones, stones, piece of wood, fruit, and of course pumpkins or gourds. Bonus points if you can use any of these items in future meals.
A couple items to consider might be; popcorn: unpopped or popped, corn cobs, cranberries, oranges or dried orange peels, apples, sprigs of herbs or cinnamon sticks. Rustic pieces of wood can serve as a great base for centerpieces and raw edge wood rounds look especially beautiful! Use a variety of bowls and vases to display your pieces and tuck small items in between or sprinkled on the table.
Or throwback to a classic cornucopia and stuff it with any of these items you already have in your kitchen or backyard. Whatever items you choose, try to keep it simple! Three varieties should be more than enough!
Make your rustic table look elegant and warm by intermixing candles or twinkly lights.
Welcome simplified traditions
Holiday traditions always begin with the best intentions; yet, sometimes they end up being a bit complicated or even pointless. What is the point of jotting down the things you are most grateful for that year on a paper tablecloth if the large chunk of paper will be thrown out at the end of the night? Instead, try jotting down those thankful items on a napkin or better yet, the white border in a picture frame or scrapbook. Stick a photo snapped from that evening and have a truly thoughtful tradition that you can look back on without sacrificing large chunks of storage space.
Instead of worrying about themed games or props, try simple board games, scrabble or Pictionary, or a backyard game of touch football. These kinds of activities have a way of really bringing us together and encourage laughter! There's no better way to feel truly joyful than sharing a good laugh! A family walk around your favorite park or story telling of Thanksgivings-past will even set the mood for nostalgia and community and take absolutely no prep work!
Have any tablescape or tradition ideas to share! We want to hear them!
Because everyone deserves a holiday that is happier, heathier, and more delicious... Even the magic makers!