I LOVE Thanksgiving! The crisp fall air, the beautiful colours in the leaves, the family time, and, of course, the fooooooood!
Hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner can be as stressful as it is enjoyable though. I’m going to offer you a simple centerpiece solution that will only take 5 minutes for you to put together, making it only slightly more difficult than opening a can of cranberry sauce and dumping it into a bowl. Seriously. It will take you more time to read about this than to actually do it.
Any given centerpiece or other decorative vignette needs a minimum of three elements in order to be successful. If your base (tray, plate, etc.) is visually stimulating enough, it can count as one of the elements. You could actually do this with nothing more than an interesting cake stand, candles, and faux gourds. I had a leaf garland already, so I tried adding it and I really liked the way it looked. The wood slice almost appears to be floating on a bed of fall leaves! I left my centerpiece in that state for a week, and then thought of adding acorns. I liked the way that looked even more! They just add that extra layer of detail and visual interest.
For this project, you will need:
• A Decorative Tray, Plate, or Cake Stand (not too tall)
• Three Pillar Candles (I used varying heights, but you could use all the same)
• A bunch of Faux Gourds
• A Faux Leaf Garland (optional)
• A bunch of Acorns (optional)
• A Placemat or Table Runner (optional)
One of the great things about this centerpiece is that it can be assembled way ahead of time. Nothing will wilt or begin to look past its prime! For the same reason, it can also grace your table during the entire fall season, if you wish.
Step 1: Make sure your base tray/plate/whatever is wiped clean, especially if it doubles for food use. Arrange your candles on it.
Step 2: Wrap your leaf garland around your candle arrangement however you like. You could wrap the garland so that it weaves around each candle and through the spaces between them, just around the outside edge, or, as in my case, around the base of your cake stand. (My cake stand is upside-down in the picture to the right, to show how I wrapped it). I also secured the garland to itself with a black twist-tie so that it stayed put!
It is recommended that the leaves on your leaf garland be smaller than your faux gourds. Varying the scale of your elements (big candles, medium gourds, small leaves, really small acorns) adds interest.
Step 3: Arrange your faux gourds around the candles. Check all sides of your centerpiece, and make sure it looks good and balanced from every angle (easier than it sounds). I simply divided my faux gourds into 3 groups of three. Each group had a red, a dark green, and a light green. The extra light green one went in the middle, and the four littlest gourds got placed wherever they fit.
Step 4: Fill in the gaps with your acorns, if you’re using them.
Voilá! Finished! Wasn’t that easy?
I ended up putting my entire arrangement on top of a felt maple-leaf-shaped placemat that I had, which made it easier to move around (it just slides!), protected my tabletop from getting scratched, and the light colour made it “pop” against my dark table. So you see, it’s really a trial-and-error type of process. You may think that I’m just “naturally talented,” and that you could NEVER be so creative, but give it a try! I bet you’re more artistic than you think!
Don’t forget to light the candles when it’s time for dinner, and NEVER leave burning candles unattended.