7 Thanksgiving Decor Ideas to Make Your Gathering Warm and Festive

Cozy Thanksgiving Gathering: 7 Decor Ideas for a Warm and Festive Ambiance - Thanksgiving Dinner Table Setting with Fall Motif Placemats, White Plates, Gold Rim, and Utensils. Centerpiece features Three Pumpkins.
Cozy Thanksgiving Gathering: 7 Decor Ideas for a Warm and Festive Ambiance - Thanksgiving Dinner Table Setting with Fall Motif Placemats, White Plates, Gold Rim, and Utensils. Centerpiece features Three Pumpkins.

When it comes to the origins of Thanksgiving, you probably wouldn’t recognize the first dinner that the holiday is based on, especially when you compare it to the staple foods we eat nowadays.

Rather than any stuffed turkey or mashed potatoes with gravy, the first Thanksgiving dinner consisted of deer meat and different types of seafood, such as lobster and mussels. Perhaps the only thing you’d be able to pick out is the fruit, particularly the now-iconic pumpkins.

Elegant Thanksgiving Dinner Invitation with Refined Text Font on White Background. Embellished with Autumnal Golden Foliage and Pumpkin Illustration in Bottom Left Corner

Create a Thanksgiving invitation in minutes

Browse gorgeous invitation designs for Thanksgiving!

Create a Thanksgiving invitation in minutes

Browse gorgeous invitation designs for Thanksgiving!

Elegant Thanksgiving Dinner Invitation with Refined Text Font on White Background. Embellished with Autumnal Golden Foliage and Pumpkin Illustration in Bottom Left Corner

While the dinners we have today might not be the same, there is always a feeling of festiveness and overall celebration. Of course, a Thanksgiving celebration is only as good as the decorations you put up.

Are you wondering how you can get into the spirit of the holiday? Keep reading to learn all about Thanksgiving decoration ideas that will heighten the atmosphere and impress your guests.

Landscape Thanksgiving Dinner Invitation with Elegant Orange and Black Text. Resting on a Light Brown Envelope Surrounded by Autumn Leaves, Small Pumpkin, and Pine Cone.
Thanksgiving Wreath – Thanksgiving Invitation

1. A Cornucopia

One of the most iconic Thanksgiving symbols is the harvest cornucopia. It consists of a horn-shaped, wicker basket spilling over with edible goodies. Most of these baskets are filled with an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as grape clusters, apples, ears of corn, miniature pumpkins, pears, and more.

The reason that this horn is so stuffed with food is that it’s supposed to represent abundance. While this symbol can be traced back to a Greek myth involving Zeus, most people instantly think of Thanksgiving whenever they see a cornucopia. With this in mind, you can use one as the centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Abundant Harvest: Cornucopia Overflowing with Apples, Oranges, Grapes, Pumpkins, Squash, Carrots, Potatoes, and Corn.

If your table is already stuffed with other goodies, such as pies and a turkey, then you can place it elsewhere in your home. You could even create one or more miniature versions that will fit on an entry table, for instance. Not only can you use real fruits and vegetables, but you could even allow your guests to take from the horn as a little snack before the grand feast.

While genuine fruit will look and smell the best, it certainly won’t last as long as plastic. If you plan on keeping the decoration for more than a few days, then you can always opt for fake fruits and vegetables. These will last you the entire fall season, allowing you to store the decorations until next year and beyond.

You may be surprised to see how far plastic fruit has come in terms of realism. Aside from the usual cornucopia items, you can mix things up by including other things instead, including delicious finger foods that guests can take at their leisure. Everyone will be sure to appreciate your attention to detail.

2. A Thanksgiving Tree

We all know what Christmas trees are, but have you ever heard of a Thanksgiving tree? This is a wonderful concept that can enhance your home’s aesthetic while providing friends and family members with a moment to reflect on what they’re thankful for.

Rather than having a huge tree that takes up a quarter of the living room, you can use a small set of branches without leaves. Just be sure that there are enough twigs sticking out of them so that you can work on creating your lively tree.

Handwritten 'Give Thanks' note with impeccable penmanship on parchment-like paper, placed on a table beside a pen. Two golden autumn leaves and a vibrant fall flower accentuate the scene.

What makes this decoration interactive is the paper leaves that you can stack on a table beside the tree. Be sure to provide your loved ones with a pen or pencil. That way, they’ll be able to take a couple of leaves and use them to write out some of the things they’re grateful for. After all, thankfulness is at the core of any Thanksgiving celebration.

Not only will your invited guests enjoy putting their gratitude in writing, but they’ll also be able to admire the finished product and see what others wrote down. You could even read them out loud after dinner and have fun discussing them, whether they’re serious, heartfelt, or funny.

3. A Scarecrow

This symbol of the fall season can work great for your Thanksgiving decoration ensemble, especially if you need more decorations for your front or backyard. Originally used by farmers to keep crows away from their crops, scarecrows are the snowmen of their season. Just as children love building snowmen during the winter, you can turn your decorating into a fun family Thanksgiving game.

As long as you get the materials ahead of time, creating a scarecrow on your own or with the help of excited children will be a cinch. First, you’ll need clothes for your scarecrow. You can either take advantage of old clothes you’ve been meaning to get rid of or you can make a quick trip to a thrift store.

Once you have sweaters, jeans, overalls, hats, and other items, you’ll need to get the materials for stuffing your scarecrow. After all, you don’t just want some empty clothes hanging from a stick, do you?

There are plenty of things you can use to stuff your scarecrow as if it were a turkey, including autumn leaves, grass clippings, old rags, straw, and even wood chips. Don’t be afraid to use a combination of these materials if you need to. Make sure you zip up and tie the ends of the clothes using pins or rope so that nothing falls out.

To make the scarecrow’s face, you can use a burlap sack or an old pillowcase, but be sure to stuff it so that it looks nice and round. Some people even use carved pumpkins for the head of a scarecrow.

Most people hang their scarecrows up on a wooden cross, but you could also arrange them in different positions, such as sitting on a patio chair or laying out on the grass like they’re enjoying a nice picnic.

4. An Autumn Wreath

Everybody knows and loves Christmas wreaths. They look so beautiful with their ribbons, ornaments, snow accents, and more, but what about a wreath for Thanksgiving festivities? There’s no reason why anyone should have to limit the fun and beauty of wreaths to one holiday.

With that in mind, you can spruce up your front door with a beautiful wreath that gives off the best Thanksgiving vibes. Instead of using evergreen branches as the main component, you can use golden-brown leaves, for example. You can also use entwined grapevines to form the wreath’s circle and the foundation for everything that will be on it.

Vibrant Fall Wreath: Dried Maple, Oak, and Birch Leaves, Interspersed with Sliced Apples and Dried Corn on a 2-foot Diameter Round Wreat

Snowy pinecones are often placed on a Christmas wreath, but you can use plain pinecones for yours and highlight their intriguing shape. Wheat is another element that is subtle but can add an extra dynamic to the wreath’s design.

In general, you should feel free to use just about any kind of fall foliage. It could be helpful to walk around the perimeter of your yard and see what kind of curiosities you can find. You may come across some twigs with berries on them, leaves with popping colors, ornamental peppers, purple fountain grass, and even clusters of gorgeous flowers.

In fact, there are plenty of flowers that reach their peak in autumn, such as aster, croton, pansies, chrysanthemum, black-eyed Susan, and much more. Going on a hunt for these flowers in the woods could be a fun activity to do with friends and family members. Once you have all of the materials, you could build a large one for the front door and smaller ones that could be placed within your home.

5. Paper Bag Lanterns

This is a great DIY option for people who want to save money while also have a fun time assembling their decor. All you need is a bunch of paper bags, at least one pair of scissors, several sets of tealight candles, and some pencils. From there, you can start brainstorming the types of designs you’ll use, such as leaves, flowers, suns, trees, and more.

After you have a better idea of what designs you’ll use, you can start tracing or sketching them on the sides of your paper bags. Even just a leaf shape has a lot of variety to it, from oblong and elliptic to sinuate and ternate. Once your bags have their shapes cut out of them, you can open them up and put the tealight candles in.

Be sure to set them up first before lighting the candles within. You can have them bordering your lawn, leading the way up to your porch, flanking your door, or all of the above. They’ll look great during the day, but they’ll be even more gorgeous as it starts to get dark.

There’s a subtle spookiness to this decoration that can allow your loved ones to get excited about both Halloween and Thanksgiving.

6. Painted Pumpkins

Everyone knows about carving pumpkins during the fall holidays, but not everyone takes the time to appreciate a painted pumpkin. If you’re on a budget, you can get a bunch of paint from a dollar store. While it’s indeed cheap, it will get the job done and will still look great.

Aside from painting patterns and pictures on individual pumpkins, you can level up your decor game by stacking several pumpkins on top of each other. The biggest should be on the bottom, a medium-sized one should be in the middle, and the smallest should be on top. You can use this entire stack as a canvas by painting designs that cross over into the pumpkins above and below.

Top-Down View of Paint, Paintbrush, and Array of Small Pumpkins, Signifying Thanksgiving Pumpkin Painting Activity.

Are you stumped about what you can paint? If so, you should take some time to think about what you love most about the fall season and Thanksgiving, in particular. You might see in your mind’s eye a colorful turkey, a garland of checkered corn, a vine of berries and flowers, and other inspiring imagery.

You could always decorate with a combination of carved and painted pumpkins, especially if you want to make a bold statement that friends and family members will remember long after the season’s over.

If you’re not so confident in your artistic skills, you could try getting metallic spray paint and turning your pumpkin into something that’s as festive as it is glamorous.

7. Unique Candles and Candleholders

While lots of shops have plenty of candles you can buy, nothing is as special as putting a new spin on something so that it’s truly unique. Dip-dyed candles, for example, can really turn the heads of your guests. For this creation, you’ll need plain white candles and a handful of crayons.

You’ll have to melt the crayons either on the stove or in the microwave, so be sure to put them in a pot or bowl after you remove the paper coverings on each crayon. Don’t forget to choose colors that are appropriate for the season, such as shades of orange, brown, yellow, and red. When you have the wax melted, all you’ll need to do is dip each of your white candles into the liquid and then set them out to dry.

Elegant Thanksgiving Invitation with Gold Accented Text, Adorned by Gilded Fall Foliage and Pumpkins. Horn, Flowers, and Candles Enhance the Decor.
Autumn Green Frame – Thandsgiving Invitation

Before you know it, you’ll be able to transform a boring candle into something exciting. As you light them, the colored wax will drip down the candle and add to the color effects. If you’re going to use these awesome candles, then you should think about putting them in candle holders that are just as stunning.

Anyone who lives near an apple orchard or a fresh produce market should take advantage of the apples there in order to make eye-catching candle holders out of them. It’s cheap and easy yet it looks amazing. The only thing you have to worry about is picking the most perfect-looking apples out of the bunch.

To make the candle holders, all you’ll need to do is cut out the apple core and stick the candle in the hole. Once the flames are burning, you’ll be able to enjoy the fragrant apple scent. While you’re getting the apples, don’t forget to buy enough for one or two homemade apple pies as well.

Ready to Try Out These Thanksgiving Decor Ideas?

Now that you’ve learned all about 7 Thanksgiving decor ideas that will make your gathering as warm and festive as possible, you can make sure that this year’s celebration is the most fun and memorable of them all.
Beautiful invitations are the staple of preparing for any celebration. A Greetings Island’s Thanksgiving invitation template can help you spread the word about your wonderful gathering. We also have cards and free invitation templates for every other amazing event to help keep the planning process stress-free.