Easy Holiday Dinner Decor Inspired By Nature

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From Thanksgiving to Christmas, the holidays should be more about being thankful, being kind, and just being together, not about the money we spend or the stores we visit.

Thanksgiving began originally for a few reasons, but widely became accepted as a day of giving thanks for good harvests. Today’s generation will never understand the importance of a good harvest or what it would mean for a family and their coming year, but still we get together today to give thanks for that which we have and those we’re lucky to have in our lives.

Decorations may not be the important factor on Thanksgiving, but the tradition of decorating for the holidays goes back decades, even centuries — long before Hallmark and the window-decal industry ever got started hawking the holiday to us.

colorful corn maize indiana corn

This Thanksgiving, when decorating, go back to Nature and let her remind you of a seasonal truth — all that we have and need tends to come from the ground beneath our feet. Why not use nature’s offerings to decorate your space, and forgo the fancy offerings of big industry?

From apples and pine cones to cedar boughs and gourds of all kinds, there’s a whole world of inspiration waiting out there, ripe for the picking.

Here are a few nature-inspired, simple decor ideas we think you’ll love.

Cool beans

From popcorn kernels to split green peas, use legumes and seeds of all kinds to turn candles and gourds into spectacular seasonal pieces with just a little glue. Here’s an instructional video from the DIY Network to get you started.

If gluing them is too much work in your busy life, consider nice tall glass vases filled just with beans or nuts, standing amidst gourds, pumpkins, and candles.

Hang ‘em high

Garland is a holiday decorating favorite, but you can adapt the idea for the harvest, too. Using sturdy string and a strong large craft needle, consider stringing together (with fishing line, if you want to eat them later) either Brussels sprouts or cranberries, or even a combination of the two.

Blogger “Number Fifty-Three” did a beautiful job using fresh bay leaves and cranberries together for a garland and she gives you instructions here.

The “Boston Mamas” shared a great photo of both radishes and Brussels sprouts strung together for short decorative garlands at the table, a folksy way to dress up a candelabra or make your china cabinet look fancy.

Veggie decor

I love all the ideas I found on this page that features table decorations for a vegetarian wedding. Sure, it’s not your standard Thanksgiving centerpiece, but it’s fantastically appropriate. The idea of just laying out carrots, root veggies, and other edibles seems a little outlandish but it’s also exactly what the harvest aspect of Thanksgiving is all about. Set and clear the table quick enough, and everything can be eaten or used in stew the next day. Now that’s green and fiscally prudent decor!

The candles on the same page are also magnificent. A nice ribbon used throughout the theme, some candles wrapped with beans and others with asparagus, and everything is still tying into the “harvest” and “nature” themes that are so everlasting with Thanksgiving.

And still on the same Veggie Wedding page, just hollowing out the gourds to make vases for dried flowers? Can you get more autumny than that? I don’t think so. I love how it looks. Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart.

Staying cool with the classics

From scattering beautiful red and gold dried leaves around your sideboard to hanging cedar boughs over your door frames, there are a lot of classic fall decor touches that never go out of style. You can’t go wrong with bowls of chestnuts, pine cones, or apples, or some Mandarin oranges strategically placed around your home. A sprig of holly with berries never looks out of place with a nice candle on a nice plate. Cleaned up twigs and branches look great in a tall vase all year long.

Never underestimate the appeal of a burlap sack as an accent tablecloth, or a popcorn garland hanging on a mantel. They’re all like a good men’s suit. It’s never old-fashioned, it just never goes out of style.

Be thankful, not commercial

This year, look in the forest and in your local grocer’s produce section for decoration ideas. Stay true to the natural, harvest themes behind this much-loved holiday, and save the planet while you’re at it. Keep your money for great wine, food, and gifts for those you love, while having fun creating a Thanksgiving theme that’s entirely unique to you.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.