Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Crafts and Decor Ideas

Thanksgiving sort of gets glossed over around here most years. It's between two of the best holidays, and it's right on the tail of my sister's birthday. But with little ones in the house now, there's more reason to make it a prominent celebration.

I remember when I was a little girl waking up early to watch the parade in my jammies while my mom made rolls and stirred gravy and baked pies. I'd make place cards shaped like leaves or turkeys or acorns for the dinner table. Later, my sister and I would put our fancy dresses on and I'd sneak deviled eggs while we bounced around the kitchen waiting for the food to be ready.

My grandma would help me set the table with the good pink china (her mother's dishes) and gold flatware and goblets for our family's signature "frozen grapefruit and ginger ale" appetizer. My mom would help me fold the napkins into pretty shapes.

After dinner we'd eat pie with homemade whipped cream and play board games.

The holiday may not register so high on my excitement list as an adult, but I want to be sure my kids have plenty of precious memories just like those I have. I came upon one of the neatest traditions ever while searching recently.

Christy Robbins talks on her blog about a friend's 34 year old tablecloth that's brought out at every family celebration. Each person present signs the cloth, then the owner embroiders over the names, doodles, and messages. Go look at all the pictures; it's just stunning. I'm going to try to implement it this year.

I always think handmade holiday decor encourages a festive spirit. Some projects I'm keen to try soon are:

"Hand Turkey" hand towels - Everyone loves a good hand turkey. Wouldn't it be fun to make a new hand towel each year to see your family (and their hands) grow?

"Thankful for" picture board - I always think the "going around the table to say what you're thankful for" thing feels very contrived and awkward. I really like the idea of just displaying a few photos or drawings on a decorative board throughout the Thanksgiving season. Actually, it might be nice to keep it up all year long. I think it's strange we have a specific holiday just to focus on gratitude, and seem to lay it aside for the rest of the year. Ah, another rant for another day.

Thanksgiving advent calendar - Another nice alternative to the "thankful game." I like the idea of an advent calendar you add to each day, rather than take away from.

Miniature pumpkin place markers

Simple ribbon napkin rings

Fun, felt napkin rings

Felt turkey with button-on feathers - (scroll down) This is from a Montessori blog I follow.  Such a fun crafted toy that also helps kids' development of small motor skills.

Do you have any crafts in mind for Thanksgiving this month (or last month, for my Canadian friends)?  Any special traditions?  I'd love to hear some more ideas or resources you use to make the holiday more meaningful.


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