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Nov. 23, 2004

Five simple Thanksgiving decoration ideas

by June Hu, Page Editor
Thanksgiving is in the air everywhere you look around. Shoppers across the nation are bringing home turkeys, yams, pumpkins, pie crusts and other holiday must-haves so that, come Nov. 25, a golden feast will be set on the table to dazzle delighted guests. If you want to make your home as appealing as the food, here are five ideas for simple, $10-or-less decoration projects.

This little light of mine

Thanksgiving occupies a pivotal position on the holiday calendar as the bright point between Halloween and Christmas. These mini-pumpkin candleholders draw on traditional decorations from Halloween and Christmas to create a unique votive holder that is a vibrant celebration of the natural beauty of the holiday season. These candleholders are easy to make and only take 15 minutes to finish, but they will light up any table or shelf with a touch of seasonal warmth.

Instructions and materials:
This candleholder was created with instructions from an Interior Decorating website and was made using 4-inch pumpkins as the candle bases and sprigs of holly. This idea can be applied to apple candleholders as well. To hold everything together, use small dabs of super glue, which doesn’t melt as fast as normal carpenter glue. The pumpkins can leave rings on wooden furniture and the candle can drip wax, so be sure to slip sheaves of dried leaves under each candleholder before you light the candles.

A friendly face

The scarecrow, originally a figure that frightened away birds, has become a much-loved welcome decor for attracting friends and family into American homes this time of the year. In many ways, the scarecrow, like the brimming cornucopia, has become a symbol of autumn and of Thanksgiving. Whether leaning against porch railings or lining walkways or sitting on cubes of straw, these joyous little figures always grin their silly grins, a grin that is a reflection of the permeating joy of the holiday. This easy-to-make cardboard scarecrow smiles at you with all the sweetness of that joy. You can hang the finished product on walls or on doors. This scarecrow takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Instructions and materials:
This hanging scarecrow face is made from cardboard and some leaves and flowers collected and dried at the beginning of fall:

1. Print this design out. Glue the printout onto a piece of cardboard. Cut the cardboard and the paper along the bold black outline of the design. This is the face.
2. Cut out a piece of orange (or yellow) poster paper into a triangle, semi-circle, or the shape shown in the picture. This will be the hat.
3. Tape 3-4 inches of raffia, yellow yarn or dried straws (shown in the picture) to the sides of the face. This is the hair.
4. Glue the hat to the top of the face.
5. Tape 5-8 different sheaves of dried or fabric leaves in different colors to the back of the face so that the leaves fan out from under the face. This is the scarecrow’s very autumnal scarf. Use the flowers and anything else you like to decorate the scarecrow.

And now for a challenge

Think cooking your turkey takes time? Well, this origami turkey will keep your hands busy while you wait on the real turkey. But beware, this little paper bird could take you about 40 minutes to finish.

Instructions and materials:
Anita’s instructions for folding this turkey may take some thinking to figure out. The 4-inch turkey in the picture was folded using a 9-inch square of black-and-pink duo-colored construction paper.

Turkey bowl

If you are not willing to spend that much of your time on a paper turkey, here is a simple turkey-folding design that should take you less than five minutes to finish.

Instructions and materials:
Print out this design from Tammy Yee’s origami website and follow the instructions from the site. If you make this turkey on a larger scale, fold the bottom flat and you will get a little turkey bowl that you can display on the coffee table while you watch the Turkey Bowl on TV.

Turkey on a spoon

If you are looking for more Thanksgiving décor ideas, Michael’s website is a good place to go. This site has ideas from frames to miniature-teddy-bear blocks, and everything is just so cute. The simplest creation from this site is the Spoon Turkey, which looks nostalgically adorable in any pot of plant. The same concept can be applied to make little pilgrims on a spoon, or teddy bears on a spoon or any-thing-that-suits-your-fancy…on a spoon.

Instructions and materials:
The instructions and materials for the spoon turkey are listed here.

Of course, these are just a few ideas for simple Thanksgiving decorations. With Thanksgiving, possibilities are endless when it comes to home decors. The holiday’s rich traditions, the season’s radiant palettes and the beauty and happiness of this time of year offer an unfaltering source of inspiration for arts and crafts projects. So, let your imagination fly free and have a very, very lovely Thanksgiving!

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