Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pie—when you think of Thanksgiving, that’s pretty much what pops in most of our heads. The holiday springs from the pilgrims’ first good harvest and the celebration that followed—so it’s easy to get swept away in that delectable food aspect. But in modern times, Thanksgiving morphed into more than a time to give thanks for a good harvest (be honest, not many of us are out in the fields, farming our own vegetables); it became a time to be thankful for everything we have in our lives. Sometimes the dinner menu overshadows that notion, which is why it’s important to plan ahead and put the essence of “thanks” back in Thanksgiving. A wonderful way to accomplish that is through the art of crafts. Creating a holiday setting filled with homemade  decor is not only a fun activity for families, but it creates a warm  atmosphere that makes your guests—young and old—feel appreciated. And that’s what Thanksgiving is really about, isn’t it?

Here are 4 crafting ideas that will make your Thanksgiving the most welcoming ever.

1. Express Your Thanks

gratitude-jar1

One of the greatest ways to show thanks is with a “Gratitude Jar,” a “Thankful Tree” or some sort of platform that shares what your family and friends are thankful for. Depending on how much time you want to dedicate to the project, you can either go with a pre-printed label from a site like MakingTimeForMommy.com and glue it on a mason jar, or create your own festive “Thank You” outlet. Next, have your family members write their “I’m Thankful For….” messages and place them in the jar or tape them on the tree. Before eating (or after dinner if you’re famished), sit around the table and take turns reading each note. It’s a heartwarming and fun way to celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

 

2. Create a Craft-Friendly Kids’ Table

Pinecone-Turkeys-Craft

Between all of the pre-dinner chitchat, setup and cleanup, young kids are too often left to entertain themselves, which can mean boredom and even—dare we say—whining can ensue. Avoid that fate and plan ahead by creating a fun kids’ table that will keep them interested and occupied so you and your guests can enjoy some adult time. Make a tablecloth with durable paper and let the kids decorate it before (or during) dinner. Create adorable pilgrim hats filled with crayons or put out glue, pinecones, feathers, wiggly eyes and felt triangles and let kids make their own pinecone turkeys.

 

3. Personalize Place Cards & Settings

cee6cc4223c0df58f001b438c7e84d94Show your guests how treasured they are by creating personalized place cards for the table. These beautiful Thanksgiving Leaf Place Cards from the CherylStyle blog are a sophisticated blend of rustic-chic, while adding a sprig of rosemary (shown above) to an unadorned name card is filled with simple autumn charm. You can also take the charm one step further by crafting place settings like intertwined branches adorning the plate or  autumn-painted burlap bags for silver wear.

 

4. Get Crafty with Centerpieces

A-Thanksgiving-pumpkin-centerpiece

Make your centerpiece one to remember by creating something that looks like Thanksgiving bliss. One great idea is to halve a globe (think Christopher Columbus) and fill it with cinnamon-scented pinecones, Flint Corn (aka: Indian Corn), and cranberries for a festive, welcoming tabletop accent. Top the centerpiece off with a “Give Thanks” placard as the perfect adornment. Another simple idea is to paint mini pumpkins with T-H-A-N-K-S, creating an elegant, beautiful expression of thanks to your guests.

Are you a Thanksgiving craft master? Let us know about your favorite craft ideas!