The Joy of Giving Thanks

A note from Lisa–

Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, and I can’t help but think about my late mother-in-law, Stella. If she were still with us, I know preparations would have been well underway at her place by now!

I miss her a lot this time of year. I think I’ve mentioned before she had a penchant for throwing the best Thanksgiving dinners ever, and she was terrific at making every little detail special for her family. We had lots of memorable Thanksgivings because of the loving care she put into the holiday. 

I’d like to pass on a few neat ideas that I hope will make your Thanksgiving a little more memorable, joyful, and, most of all, filled with gratitude!


  • Make pumpkin bouquets! Use small hollowed, and cleaned pumpkins to make beautiful bouquet centerpieces for the table. Place cut pieces of floral foam into each pumpkin (be sure to cut them shorter than the pumpkin, so they don’t show), then arrange your favorite fall flowers inside the pumpkin, stems cut. You can get creative here, obviously, and pick colors to match your decor or to reflect the natural colors of the season. Fill each pumpkin with water after your flowers are arranged, and place on your table for a bright, creative centerpiece!
  • Pinecone place settings. Send the kids to gather pinecones, or purchase some at your local craft store, and spray paint them in metallic colors. Silver, gold, copper- whichever you prefer, then dry thoroughly. If you’d like to get extra fancy, you can dust with glitter, take care to keep each pinecone away from food. Place a pinecone next to each plate around the table, and arrange a small sprig of holly or pine branch in the cone. Insert a decorative place card in between the seed-pods with the name of your guest.
  • Thankful votive candles. Place small votive candles in glass jars (you can usually find these at your local craft store) and cut strips of construction paper in fall colors or colors which match your table settings. On each piece of paper, write each guest’s name, and one thing which makes you thankful for them. Wrap each strip of paper around the votive, taping to secure, and place in front of each place setting.  
  • Create a gratitude tree. Use a bare, sculptural branch (you can find these at most florist shops) to display notes of gratitude. Secure the “tree” in a decorative fall pot with florist’s foam, then cover the foam with decorative moss. Write the things you are grateful for on small pieces of card stock in fall colors (you can cut them into leaf or pumpkin shapes if you like). Punch a small hole in each card, then run a piece of twine through the hole, and tie loosely to hang on the tree. Leave some of the cardstock tags out complete with hangers along with pens or markers, and encourage your guests to write some things they are grateful for on their own “gratitude leaves” to hang on the tree.

These DIY crafts are simple, easy, and add some personal flair to your Thanksgiving entertaining. Take time to reflect on the things you are thankful for this year- I hope there are many…

Be well and take good care!