What makes it unforgettable, you may be asking? It is how you make it, how you present it and the vibe and the overall feel the table and dining room exudes. For most people it is much easier to go out and buy the holiday decor because it's faster and there is no time and efforts involved in coming up with ideas on how to decorate for the holidays. Nothing wrong if you want to go that route. Go. I like to be different and have things that are and look different. Hence I tend to DIY a lot of things for my home, wardrobe, accessories, etc. I think that when something is original, not another one like it exists anywhere else, it makes it unique, even though it may appear to look similar to mass-produced decor. It's alright. I feel ok about that because I know I made it, it cost me very little or nothing - good feeling - and now I really enjoy it. And when you get bored and grow tired of your DIYs, you can gift them, donate them or throw them away. Enough of my rambling here. Having said all this above, you can absolutely make your own Thanksgiving decor. Like last minute, on the fly!
Where to begin? Outside would be good. if you're a nature lover like me going out and getting your own accessories from nature shouldn't freak you out. What bugs? Don't worry about them. Grab some sort of container and lets go. Pinecones girl, we'll be on the hunt for pretty pinecones! I'm helping you here with last-minute decor. You said, you were hosting Thanksgiving this year, you also said you wanted to be the hostess with the mostess, so let's get crackin'. Pinecones, some pretty little twigs (leaves-on preferred) which will be for table decor, not garnish, some larger green clippings and some beautiful leaves! So grab your scissors. Snip off several baby branches of the evergreen bush - these will also make for beautiful pop of green. I used them here on the table as well as in the napkin ring just to liven up the usually-brown Fall decor.
If pinecones aren't in sight, or none of them are left (neighborhood kids picked them all off and threw them wherever far when playing tag) or you're a city dweller and there's not a single pine tree to shake within a 10 mile radius, or reasons all of the above, don't despair - use fake. I authorize that. The next time you have a chance to visit a countryside, stuff your weekender bag with pinecones and bring them home so you have some ready for the next year when Fall rolls around. They will last, I assure you. Just wash them. And bake them too. Well, first bake, then wash out any possible tenants out of them. Don't worry about your oven. Let's move on.
Pick up some fallen leaves too. Aim for good ones. Clearly, the prettier the better. Maple leaves look stately (see photo below) but any other type of leaf will work as well as long as it's nice and intact. Reds, oranges, yellows and browns look good. You can also take a silver, gold or pewter color sharpie and choose to write down your guests' names on the leaves and place each in their plates. So you know, you should rinse the leaves once you bring them home and pat them dry before putting them on the plate, napkin or table. Also, due to dryness in the air the leaves will dry and curl up fast and become brittle - so you want them picked and on display either the day of or a day prior to the gathering but not sooner. Otherwise they will look to your guests like they've been blown into your dining room through the window by the leaf-blowers landscape guys use, wrinkly and unwanted.
The other nice touch would be to use a bright pop of color - pink, red, orange will look fantastic! Depending on where you live and what nature has to offer in your climate zone, some bright and live things won't be possible - so you may have to resort to faux decor elements. I used a few store-bought pieces here that I had gotten a few years back. Not my own made, but oh well, not everything can be DIY'ed, and these give just the right pop of color.
Also, don't doubt whether to invite pumpkins to the table. Just because Halloween is over you shouldn't kick them to the curb, or maybe off the porch in your case. I'm kidding. But I'm serious at the same time too - pumpkins are not just kings of Halloween and everything spooky. Have them on your Thanksgiving table! Maybe you don't need all fifty nine gourds you have there, but about a dozen should do, more or less depending on size. Here I went with mini pumpkins because large pumpkins might obstruct the view, and you want the conversation flowing among your guests. Those two family members you have who are on non-speaking terms, sit them together in front of each other and don't put any pumpkins in front of them - that'll make them start talking. So for this place setting here I used little faux pumpkins because I didn't have any real ones, and they turned out amazing - just the right splash of vibrant orange!
Incorporate greens when you can, as much as you can. Don't worry about bugs, schmugs. If the idea of real foliage bothers you rinse it before decorating with it. Spray it with water-vinegar solution and you're good to go. Pinecones is a different story. Those you wanna pop in the oven to kill off anything that might be living in the crevices. Just saying. Just in case. So you don't freak out when a little mini bug crawls out of there and goes for a walk onto your pretty table napkin or better yet lands on your aunt Gertrude's nose.
I'm grateful I get to make these and other designs, and style and style interiors every day. I'm thankful for the opportunity that I get to do what I love. I'm very grateful there are people out there like you who like my designs and find my ideas useful.
Whether you have an unforgettable table decor or not, I hope your holiday and the memories you make are unforgettable! Happy Thanksgiving!