I wrote this 2 years ago as a guest post (see it here) for a financial advice website. I never, however, shared the simple ways to get your home ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. So, here goes...
Am I the only person who woke up to the reality that Thanksgiving is upon us? By wake-up, I mean my "Countdown to Christmas Decor" announcement was interrupted by my [at the time] 5 year old asking, "how you gon' decorate for Christmas when we haven't done anything for Thanksgiving and I don't have to go to school for that either?!" UGH.
Fine. I'll give the holiday its due. I'll decorate and bake and do the whole turkey thing... I apologize, Thanksgiving, for treating you like the Wednesday of holidays and joining the rush to the holly and the jolly that is Christmas. There. Happy now?
I was faced with the dilemma to decorate on just a few days' notice. Of course, this wasn't going to be a major investment - $15 is all I was willing to give.
After all, this ain't Christmas!
When I'm short on cash but big on ideas, I head to my local dollar store, park in the spot with my name (in my head) and walk the aisles until I'm inspired... Here's how I thriftily (it's a word, don't worry) created our last minute Thanksgiving decor:
1. Yarn wreath. I purchased 6 Styrofoam wreath forms ($1/each) and tan yarn from Wal-Mart ($1.97). I wrapped the yarn in 3-foot increments and wrapped (and wrapped and wrapped) to create 6 wreaths. I then used scrap ribbon I had on hand to hang them from the backs of my dining room chairs. I loved how they turned out... but felt they were missing something. So, Munchface (my daughter) and I took a stroll to collect some leaves and greenery to spruce it up... I hot glued the greenery together then simply tucked the ends under the yarn because glue would be too permanent and I FULLY intend to use them for Christmas too. Aren't they fab? Total: $8(for 6 wreaths)
2. Brown paper table runner. I purchased a roll of brown packing paper from the Dollar Tree ($1). I cut a piece the length of my dining room table while, Munchface checked our leaves and sticks for bugs and other icky things; it was a top secret and VERY important operation.
Then I gave Munchface the leaves she picked and told her to arrange them on the brown paper "table runner" however she wanted. Imagine her channeling her inner designer telling ME why leaves go in a certain place.
We'll place a marker at each place setting for guests to doodle or write what they're thankful for. Munchface had a blast writing her words on the runner. Total: $1.
3. Pumpkin candle holders. I purchased mini pumpkins from Wal-Mart ($2.50 for a bag of 5). I then carved out the top to fit a pillar candle ($1/2 tapered candles and $1 for a vanilla pillar; BOTH from the Dollar Tree). I also purchased seasonal vase filler on clearance (for $1.50) from my local craft store. Note, the day after Halloween, all Fall decor is placed on clearance to make room for Christmas stuff so take this opportunity to stock up for Thanksgiving and the FOLLOWING year's Halloween decor. I digress in the name of SAVING MONEY... So, here are the steps to create mini pumpkin candle holders:
- Cut the top of the pumpkin to hold the pillar candle. Note: this hole needs to be the same size as the candle base
- At this point, when you see the "pumpkin guts," get really grossed out, squeal about how NASTY this is and put on protective gloves. THEN announce that you're ready to proceed to step 2. Drama, I know... comes with crafting with kids, trust me!
- Place the pillar candle in the carved area and ensure it's level because wax drippings are no fun to clean…
- Place pumpkins on a platter or plate. I chose a striped blue plate because I loved the mixture of texture and print. I filled the plate with some of my clearance vase filler and placed it in the center of my table. VOILA! Ambiance (in my fancy French designer voice)!! Total: $5.50
Here it is all together... I added some clearance pumpkin decor from Wal-mart ($2/each) and, can I just toot-toot my own horn?! I love how it turned out!
3. Sticks arrangement. That's right, Munchface and I went on a mission to find pretty leaves, branches, and shrubbery to create a simple arrangement. I just grabbed a glass pitcher, wrapped a strip of brown paper around it and wiggled the branches around until they were just.right. I love the branch with leaves still on it... My world? Rocked. Check it out:
4. School work display. You can see in the top right corner of the photo above one of Munchface's school crafts. For holidays, I simply use painter's tape to attach the artwork to a frame by just sticking it to the glass. Displaying her artwork in this manner:
- Shows our pride in her projects thus, positively reinforces the importance of her education
- Includes Munchface in the decorating because she gets to help choose a place for her work (and ensure our guests are WELL-aware she paints and her painting is over there *on tippy toes...pointing...* Can you see it?)
- Personalizes holiday decor without spending a dime
So, what am I thankful for this holiday? I'm thankful for the benefits of investing my time and energy into family, for the joy in my daughter's eyes when she learns something new, for the smell of Saturdays, for the warmth of hugs and family hamster-pile naps.
I'm grateful for the reminder to take every opportunity to celebrate. There is no reason to rush through holidays but rather, look at what you have and find affordable ways to MAKE them special.
I put Halloween décor away and pulled out my Christmas décor. I did leave a few decorative pumpkins out. I also updated the fall place settings with a rattan charger. I love the texture they add to the table!
Aren't those plates awesome? I got a total of eight Pier1 plates (salad and dinner) for a whopping...
*drum roll please*
Talk about being THANKFUL! I love great thrift store finds and deals!