As a kid, I remember Thanksgiving as a really special day filled with lots of family, lots of homemade cooking and lots of thanks given for all blessings received.
These days, though, while the family still gathers and there’s cooking galore, so many things compete for our attention. There’s football and more football, pre-Black Friday shopping and nonstop emails/texts! In today’s frenzied culture, it can be easy to lose sight of what this day is about.
So a few years ago, my family and I decided to grow some gratitude. We created a Thanksgiving tree similar to the one above by using a small faux Christmas tree we had on hand.
Real branches foraged from your yard, then spray-painted a festive color works well, too.
Next to the tree, we placed a basket filled with hangtags fashioned from scrapbook paper and ribbon. As guests arrived, they were asked to write something they were thankful for on a tag (but not include their name!) Then, they hung the thankfulness message on the tree. After mealtime, each person picked a tag and read its contents while the group tried to guess who had written it. To our delight, gratitude began to flow around the table as did the memories–and stories–of times gone by.
If your dining room table is a tad too tight for this big of a centerpiece, no worries. Place your Thanksgiving tree table elsewhere, then bring it in during dessert. Or, place it on a sideboard, buffet or console like the Black Shaped Apron Console Table that holds its own in any room, breaking up matchy-match décor with a touch of chic black and providing storage for extra tags, ribbons and pens in two hidden drawers.
Another idea to turn hearts and minds to the spirit of Thanksgiving: dust off Grandma’s family photo album and create some mystery with Days Gone By place cards. Affix photos of guests as children onto precut pieces of heavy stock paper and take guests down memory lane as they search for their seat.
For intimate gatherings, the Beaufort House 48-inch round pedestal table is a good pick because all guests face one another which makes conversation flow, especially as diners eye each other’s photo place cards
Plus, this table also has an 18-inch leaf so if unexpected guests turn up, there’s ample room to seat them.
Create a combo centerpiece/guest gift with Gratitude Candle Place Cards. Wrap a wide strip of patterned scrapbook paper around a votive candleholder, then affix it with double-stick tape. On a narrow strip of solid color paper, write the guest’s name and a sentence describing something you’re grateful for about them. Layer solid paper on top of the patterned paper, then affix it with double-stick tape. Insert a candle and light prior to dinner.
Gratitude place cares are an easy and elegant way to add warmth and drama to gatherings of any size, but especially large ones (imagine the sight of two rows of flickering candles running the full table length!) For big crowds, pair this idea with the Eastridge Rectangle Dining Table–a 72-inch long table that comes with two 18-inch leaves.
Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Gratitude should be expressed daily.
How will you inspire your guests to show theirs?