I don’t mean to alarm you but, it’s only one week until Thanksgiving.
I’m assuming you Americans are especially alarmed since you thought this was October. It is. I have unduly alarmed you. It’s only one week until CANADIAN Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving differs from American Thanksgiving in that we hold our Thanksgiving in October as a way to celebrate the end of the year’s harvest. Whereas Americans celebrate the Brady Bunch episode where they all get stoned and dress up as Pilgrims.
Presently many Canadians are alarmed because most of us didn’t realize Thanksgiving was in a week. Thanksgiving. The sneakiest of all the holidays. It is in 9 days exactly (if you have your dinner on the Sunday), so now’s the time to start debating whether to get a fresh turkey or a frozen turkey and if you get a frozen turkey whether to let it defrost in the fridge or in a sink full of cold water. If you aren’t the type to have already pre-ordered your organic turkey, you will ultimately decide to buy whatever turkey is the cheapest and the right size regardless of whether it’s frozen or fresh, so don’t waste anymore time debating.
Now is also the time to start thinking about how you’re going to set your table or what kind of centrepiece you’d like to have. I don’t care if you’re having a simple dinner for 2 or a huge dinner party, you need to have a Thanksgiving centrepiece. You have to. Otherwise your table will look incomplete. Like a face with no eyebrows.
I currently have a garden filled with so many Dahlias that I know that I’ll be making a Thanksgiving centrepiece using those this year. You’ll get a load of that once I do it, but for now I wanted to remind you of some of my favourite Thanksgiving or Autumn centrepieces from the past 6 years or so. Looking back on them I’ve discovered two things about myself. A) I really like ornamental cabbages and b) I’m REALLY glad I painted my brick wall. Which leads me into my next statement; I really can’t wait to refinish my dining room table. I haven’t liked the finish since the guy who built it walked it through my front door. Now that my courage is sufficiently fed after painting the orange brick wall I think I can tackle the orange dining room table without fear of any post traumatic episodes. If I down a glass of whiskey beforehand I might even think it’s fun.
I have 5 centrepiece and table ideas for you. You can copy these ideas exactly as is, or you can just use them for inspiration. In case you were worried there were rules to this post and I was going to knock on your door Thanksgiving evening asking to inspect your centrepiece, I am not. Do whatever you want, I will not judge. Mainly because I won’t be able to actually see it.
Thanksgiving Centrepiece #1
This all-vegetable arrangement is my absolute favourite arrangement of all time. I made it a couple of years ago when I was doing a talk for Lee Valley on Thanksgiving decorating. I wanted to make something that truly represented a Canadian Thanksgiving that honours the harvest. Literally every single thing in this arrangement is edible. Yes. Ornamental cabbage is edible. Learn how to make the arrangement, where to get the metal stand and all the food that goes into the arrangement in the original post here.
Thanksgiving Centrepiece #2
A year or two before I used many of the same flowering elements like Amaranth and ornamental cabbage to make a HUGE free flowing centrepiece. It’s another favourite but there’s a real trick to making something that’s so messy look pleasing. Basically you have to make a tidy mess if that makes sense. Using a pre-defined colour palette (for me it was purple, green and red) and keeping the arrangement quite compact will make your job arranging this kind of centrepiece easier. See what the entire table looked like in this post. The rustic, casual table setting remains my favourite tablescape to date. LOOK there isn’t even a tablecloth or placemats. It’s mayhem I tell you. And I like it.
Thanksgiving Centrepiece #3
Like ornamental cabbages but don’t trust yourself to do some huge, over the top arrangement? I don’t blame you. Even I get myself into a sweat doing them. Make it easy on yourself and just put a row of cabbages down your table. Either straight in a line or mixed up a bit like these. For more ornamental cabbage ideas you can take a look at this post.
Thanksgiving Centrepiece #4
You can barely see the arrangements on this page (they’re fall coloured mums in water jugs, but that doesn’t matter. What I wanted you to see here are the mismatched vintage plates and chairs. I haven’t used these plates in years for my Thanksgiving table but this year MIGHT be the year I drag them out again. I love how they look and would use them every day i they were dishwasher safe but they aren’t. And I aren’t about to hand wash all my dishes every night. You can find these dishes for anywhere from $5 to $25 a plate depending on the make. Most of mine are the $10 or so variety but there’s the odd good one in there. The good ones are usually hand painted as opposed to transferware and are finer quality. See the rest of the table (warning this is an OLD post so the photos are, well … bad, in a word) in this post here.
Thanksgiving Centrepiece #5
Foam pumpkins for the win. I scoured Amazon for you but I couldn’t find any white ones that looked like good quality so I’d say if you want some white foam pumpkins, Michaels is probably your best et. Fine. Here are the ones from Amazon, but they don’t get good reviews. This looks nice, plus it’s really easy to do. Just a few candles in cheap glass vases, some candlesticks, foam pumpkins and moss. The best part is all of these items are reusable from year to year. I know a lot of people don’t like to spend money on flowers because they last a week tops. With foam pumpkins and preserved moss (this is how you can preserve your own moss) you can stick everything in a Tupperware bin and pull it out year after year.
I almost forgot the most important distinction between Canadian and American Thanksgiving; Canadians do NOT put marshmallows on their casseroles. The thought of such a concotion is revolting. Marshmallows only go where they belong. In a salad.
Have a good weekend!