How To: Create a Thankful Tree

This idea is equal parts simple craft project, entertainment for kids, Thanksgiving centerpiece, and feel-good activity. With a few simple items, you can create this Thanksgiving Thankful Tree and fill it with all the things you and your guests are grateful for this year. It’s a perfect gathering activity as your guests arrive, and simple enough that you can put the kids in charge of putting it together while you’re taking care of last-minute details for dinner. You’ll need the following items:

  • One sturdy branch from outside, about 3 or 4 feet tall
  • One vase, preferably tall and narrow
  • Whole nuts or smooth pebbles to secure the branch
  • Leaves cut out from colored paper (find a free template here)
  • Twine to secure leaves to tree
  • Pens, pencils, markers, or crayons for guests to use to write

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can spray paint the tree branch in advance to create more of a contrast. Otherwise, hold the branch in the center of the vase and fill the sides in with nuts or pebbles to secure it and keep it straight. Cut strips of twine just long enough to tie leaves to branches. Cut out multiple leaves, at least one per guest. Each guest can write his or her name on a leaf, along with what they are thankful for this year, before securing it to the tree. Once complete, place the tree in the center of the table for everyone to enjoy.

My favorite part of the Thankful Tree? It can be used again and again each year, and the leaves become a sweet way to remember Thanksgivings past!

One more thing—don’t forget to enter our 3rd Annual “Give Thanks with the Gift of Cookies” Giveaway! Entries accepted until midnight Sunday!

(Image via BHG.)

Top 10 Holiday Decorating Tips & Tricks

If pulling out your holiday decorations usually results in pulling out all your hair, don’t despair. Whether you’re decorating your table for Thanksgiving or your house for Christmas, here are my top 10 tried-and-true tricks to getting it right.

1. Less is more. If you’ve been collecting holiday decorations for more than a decade, you’ve probably got a parade of 18-gallon plastic bins that come down from the attic. Don’t feel like you have to display every decoration every year. Choose and use your favorites and leave the rest in storage. Next year you’ll likely have different favorites. Chances are, you’ll feel like you have fresh decorations every year and the process won’t feel so overwhelming.

2. Replace the space. Holiday decorations can sometimes look cluttered. A great tip is to replace your regular decorations with your holiday pieces. Instead of placing the nutcracker next to the globe on the end table, put the globe away for the season. Use the space in your empty bins to store your regular decorations. You’ll be pulling the bins out again after the season anyway.

3. Groupings are great. If you’ve got a hodge podge of small trinkets, try displaying them as a group instead of placing them randomly around the house. Clear a space on a bookshelf or tray and place them in an interesting grouping. Look for similarities in color, size, or category and put them together for a bigger impact.  For example, pair snowmen with snowmen or wooden trees with wooden reindeer or red decorations with other red decorations. They will look more cohesive and can be appreciated as a collection.

4. Look in your own backyard. If you’re sparse on decorations, you don’t have to look much further than your own backyard for inspiration. Clip some branches from a low-hanging tree and arrange them in a tall vase for a centerpiece. (Spray paint them a festive color for added impact.) A shallow bowl or basket full of pine cones looks beautiful next to the fireplace. (Add some cinnamon sticks for a great aroma.) Build a garland from pine branches and floral wire.

5. Find new uses for old things. Raid your kitchen cupboards for interesting containers and textures of every shape and size. Fill a glass canister full of red and green candies for a simple, cheery decoration that also serves as an emergency snack. A beautiful salad bowl full of brightly colored ornaments looks great on a coffee table. Your crystal goblets make great vases or candle holders. The possibilities are endless if you simply look at your old stuff with new eyes.

6. Tea lights are tops. Everything looks more festive when you add candlelight. Simple tea lights are one of my favorite decorations and the easiest way to dress up any occasion. Arrange them in a set of glassware, a grouping of empty jars, in a line down a skinny tray, or in paper luminaries (glorified lunch bags). They give a warm glow to everything and are incredibly inexpensive to buy in bulk.

7. Food as decoration. Nothing is more beautiful than a bowl of bright green apples, zesty oranges, or interesting gourds. Plus, you can change it up all season long as you eat your way through each display. For a more lasting decoration, press whole cloves into the rind of oranges in interesting patterns. The smell is amazingly festive and the natural preservatives in the cloves will keep the oranges fresh for weeks.

8. Don’t forget the mistletoe. Fresh (or silk) mistletoe is easy to find this time of year and adds a fun spark to your doorway. It’s becoming an out-dated tradition that needs a revival! Don’t you agree?

9. Make room for the tree. If you display a Christmas tree, put it in a place where it can be the focal point with easy access, especially if it will need watering. Rearrange the furniture if needed. My favorite spot for a tree is near a window. You get the fun of appreciating it from inside and outside too. Plus, the lights look beautiful reflected on the glass.

10. Keep the music playing. Call me crazy, but I think of holiday music as part of the decoration. Put it on as you decorate and keep it on all season long. Music is shown to calm nerves and soothe the spirit. We all need that during the holidays, right? Plus, music is strongly associated with memories. It’s almost impossible to listen to holiday music without remembering special holidays of years gone by.

Those are my tricks, but what are yours? Share them in the comments section!

P.S. Be sure to check out MrsFields.com on Friday the 26th and Monday the 29th for spectacular holiday savings!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...