Don't Stress Over the Centerpiece!

Thanksgiving is here – this week! And if you’re like me, you’re thinking ahead and planning out the details!

It’s essential, in my mind, to be organized and ready for the day – so you can enjoy the day!

I know this may shock some readers, but I’ve only had a few Thanksgiving meals in my home. Our family has always been invited to other homes where great memories were created!

Last year we kept it simple, as we observed the holiday out of town. The year before that, we had a small gathering in our home.

This year, it will be very simple again.

Thinking ahead to the centerpiece ...

Keep it Inexpensive
A few years ago I remember going to our friend’s home up north. On Thanksgiving morning, when all the preparation and work had been done, our two families went for a long walk.

The goal of the walk was for the kids to find items to put on the table, and make their own centerpiece!

I wish I had pictures of how they put it together with branches and pinecones, but it was priceless – and beautiful!

Make it Creative Fun
My daughter and I created an inexpensive centerpiece just this last weekend for our dinner party. Driving by some freshly-fallen leaves, we stopped the car and picked the leaves that we wanted to use.

Dry out the leaves

Snip off the stem

Line a large vase with leaves

Turn a goblet, upside down, in the center of the vase

Put a candle in the center

It was fun to recreate those memories from almost 10 years ago, keeping it inexpensive and using what we had!

Another Memory
Oh, and another memory from that same Thanksgiving vacation was this. In the evening we gathered back together in the dining room to eat the dessert. Coffee was served in beautiful china cups, the pumpkin pie was cut and put onto each plate with a dollop of sweet whipped cream, and all of the 5 kids were on their best behavior, napkins in laps.

We put our forks into the pie, and then into our mouths, and savoring the first bite we were at first taken back. The pie was sweet, but not really!

(I like to use the top of my piano as a buffet for desserts!)

No Sugar in the Pie
What we found out later was that the hostess forgot to put sugar in the pie! Completely left it out!! But guess what? With the sweet cream, we ate it anyway! We didn’t make a big deal about it. We don’t even think the kids noticed.

Don’t Apologize
To this day, I only remember this story not because of the mistake, but because of the lesson I learned 10 years ago!

Remember gals, if something doesn’t turn out quite right on Thanksgiving Day – don’t bring it to your guests’ attention! Don’t feel like you have to apologize for your mistake. Just go with the flow and I bet your guests won’t even notice.

Are you in the habit of bringing light to your mistakes?

And what are your plans for your Thanksgiving centerpiece?


Ms. Tee said...

What a great idea to go on a walk for the centerpiece. I love that idea!

I haven't figured out what to do for a centerpiece yet, but I like simple & natural best. :)

Kay said...

My table is small enough that I am using the turkey platter as the centerpiece! I know... how lame is that.... The trouble I usually have is finding something low enough that the guests can see over it for conversation.... so I am concentrating on pretty place settings and who will notice that there is no centerpiece! ;)

Amanda said...

What a beautiful centerpiece, and so easy!

tinkerverve said...

I definitely have a BAD habit of bringing to light my mistakes. I'm so critical of myself and I know there isn't any REAL reason to be. ...centerpiece ideas??? I'm actually going to do 4 different tables so I'm going to pull together a variety of things, incl. lots of candles. I've made some fun place cards which can be seen here.
http://tinkerverve.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/theres-always-a-place-for-you/ ...and I have some leaves drying. *blessings!!

Nancy said...

Our church is hosting a free community dinner this Thanksgiving and our family will be cooking and serving. I'm sure our Pastor's wife has already planned some beautiful table decorations to complement the paper plates!

Robin said...

Love your ideas. We will be hosting the Thanksgiving celebration at our house this year. I had already planned to go outside and bring the nature in too!! I love for things to be simple and yet elegant. That's why I love following your blog


Dawn said...

That's a pretty centerpiece. I've never hosted a Thanksgiving meal in my home...not that I haven't wanted to.

Tamara Jansen said...

That's a very nifty idea!

Jules from "The Roost" said...

I agree it doesn't have to be expensive to be pretty. I am using a pedestal punch bowl I have with small gourds, pumpkins, squash in it..... The little mix you get at the grocery store. On another table a bouquet of mums in a small pitcher. I like you idea too :)

Christine said...

I like your Thanksgiving ideas here. The candle is simple, sweet and very easy to make. Thank you. I have something for you on my blog today. Check it out when you get a chance. =O) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Ha! My daughter made pumpkin pie for a pre-Thanksgiving family dinner last night...and forgot the sugar.

I love the nature walk centerpiece idea. That is a great one to remember.

Christy said...

What I love about your centerpiece idea is that is so easy! I always struggle with centerpieces because I make them more difficult than what they really need to be. I recently saw a glass jar like yours filled with photos. I'm not sure how you cold protect the photos from the candle, but that would be a neat centerpiece too - birthdays, anniversaries, or just because!

see you there! said...

What a pretty centerpiece. We'll be in the Mts. for the big day. We've been invited to a friends farm for a potluck. The interesting thing is they are vegetarian. Who says you have to follow tradition?


emilymcd said...

Now you're talking! This is great info, Sandy! Thanks a bunch!

We did homemade placecards this year.

Hope your Thanksgiving is very special to your family... full of joy and peace.


Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Such pretty ideas!! I used to apologize for every little thing, but now I just go with the flow! :) We're going out of town for Thanksgiving this year to the Biltmore! So, no centerpiece for me...but I will be bringing a basket of goodies and a pie to our hotel for the whole family to enjoy that evening!

Myrna said...

A few years back I took a flower arranging class through our local Parks and Rec. dept. It was so much fun and I learned many nifty, inexpensive tricks!! One was to take mini pumpkins, pop off the stem, light an old candle to drip wax onto the top of the pumpkin, when you have a puddle, press a new candle into it. Tie a small ribbon around and you have a festive candle holder, suitable for a centerpiece. I've put one on each cardtable, it's just the right size.
Blessings to all in this season of Thanks!

mikky said...

what a creative and great idea... thanks for sharing... :)

Shannon said...

I enjoyed looking through your blog! You have some great ideas!

Betts said...

What a beautiful centerpiece, and so simple. We're going away this year for the first year in many. I was despondent over the thought of no leftovers, so I bought a turkey breast to cook on Saturday when we get home. I always make light of my mistakes, even the year I caught my sweater on fire from the candles on the table.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, dear Sandy! Thanks for coming by. I'm so glad I stopped by here, since I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year, we aren't traveling at all. I hardly ever do that either, but I've already been to the grocery store & am stocked up & ready to go. I just pulled out my linens & will be figuring out how I want my table to look, but since we don't have a huge table, the centerpiece will have to be small. I'll probably just move something there that I alredy have.

Have a great Thanksgiving! xoxo

Gail said...

Wonderful ideas! I wish I had your sense of confidence and ease with entertaining! Gail

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

My husband is on call so it's just me and the pets. (Which is fine with me; don't like the stress of busy holidays!) I absolutely love your leaf centerpiece! So I may just have that in front of me no matter what I end up eating! Did you just dry out the leaves on the towel? And for how long? I've brought some branches up to the gazebo I cut the dead leaves off of to use as swags in the house. So glad to have found you!

Sandy Toes said...

What wonderful ideas! Love what you did with the leaves! Well, this year, I flipped up a "wreath" and put in on my table..looks good!

Centerpieces are so fun and set the tone for the meal! Love your ideas!
Tomorrow, I am mentioning you on my blog with the tiles:)!
-sandy toes

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for all the truth you have spoken into our lives through your blog. My family is leaving early Friday morning to visit our family and had planned on spending a QUIET Thanksgiving putting up our Christmas tree and eating untraditional food since we will be in overload the rest of the weekend. His boss mentioned he would be staying in the states over Thanksgiving (he's from Europe where Thanksgiving isn't a big deal. :)
We have been praying for him and his partner for months now. We invited him over for Thanksgiving.

So I have Tuesday and Wednesday to decorate (I'm hosting a girls night out at my house the day after we return from visiting family), buy groceries, clean and cook. Before reading your blogs I would be flipping out and completely stressed. Now I know I have to make my list, get the basics done and relax so he can be a part of our family and be loved on, not entertained and impressed. Thank you. Every time I begin to get anxious I just tell myself to let it go that is not why he is coming.
I appreciate you so much!

mrsjones6 said...

I was brainstorming for centerpiece ideas earlier today. I really love this one!

As for announcing my mistakes, if they are obvious, I just try to laugh with everyone else, If they are a little less noticable, I just let them be.

Have a wonderful Monday!

edie+steve said...

So nice to meet you..Love,Love, Love your blog!

Grace said...

you'll probably think my family's a bunch of heathens, but we've never had a centerpiece. unless you count the turkey. :)

marmee said...

not sure how you found me but i am sure glad you did. i have read most of your post on the first page. i am impressed! impressed you make it look so easy. my dh and i are the entertainers and he is always reminding me keep it simple and relaxed. it definiately takes planning so on the day or evening you can relax and enjoy everyones company. the point to me is make each one of the guest feel special and very welcomed.
this year our center peice has evolved from a wooden hewed trough with osage oranges(courtsey of the out of doors) and many candles from little white pumpkins to towering orange pillars. now we have added little orange pumpkins the size of a cherry tomato into the trough and branches of my personal favourite, magnolia tree.
i was going to change it but i love it and it feels earthy.
i have so enjoyed reading your blogs and loved, loved the idea of the tiles for gifts. we have lots of teachers and others who we like to do something for but the budget is just that much tighter this year, now i feel sure we can do something for each and it will be so special. God had gifted you and thanks for sharing so generously with others. have a blessed thanksgiving week.

Elise said...


I'm afraid I am in the habit of bringing my mistakes to light in front of my guests. And I've always felt awkward about that! I am really going to try to stop that, and just enjoy the time of fellowship.

Especially this year, since I am hosting Thanksgiving in my home for two other families who are "family-less" this year! I think we will take a nature walk today to find our centerpiece- thank you, friend! :)

Jen said...

My mom does a centerpiece...but I love your idea...have a nice holiday friend.

Mrs. Jules said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing another creative idea!

Elizabeth said...

Goodness, I just wish we had some pretty leaves to make that lovely centerpiece. Here in southern Wisconsin, the colorful leaves have been gone for a few weeks. Now it's just the brown crunchy leaves underfoot. Winter has come to Wisconsin... Our snow the other day was lovely! :)

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I featured you in our Centerpiece of the Month... You are always something to be thankful for!

Diana said...

love your centerpiece idea! that's cute you did the project with your daughter! :)