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Last Minute (& Stress-Free) Ways to Decorate for Thanksgiving Dinner

November 24, 2015

No matter how much you've tried to plan this week to a T—with everything from oven time and every grocery visit to guest room pillow-fluffing scheduled to the minute—some things are bound to fall through. For food conundrums that arise (i.e., for cakes that don't), hit us up on the Hotline at any hour. We're ready to answer!

And for decorations, which often get pushed to the end of the Thanksgiving to-do list in favor of more pressing—ahem, edible—matters, here are some last minute ideas you can pull off with minimal planning: dead-simple flower arrangements, fuss-free tabletop ideas, and drinks that will double as decorations.

Make an arrangement, but make it easy on yourself.

Not all flower projects involve special tools or unusual buds, and we much prefer a casual look to anything overly fussy that might die before your guests arrive, anyway.

Dried berries will keep their shape for months. Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Opt for using dried flowers, which are already sculptural and autumnal so you don't have to fuss with them too much.
Photo by Amanda Sims
Photo by Jessica Comingore
  • If you want to use live flowers, make a simple arrangement your guests will be able to see over by putting single buds in a bunch of small coordinated vessels, creating a group of bud vases. Shear the stem ends with a sharp knife, like so, to keep them alive all week.

Focus on the table.

Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Our 3-step, no-fail Thanksgiving centerpiece makes use of dried hydrangea blooms and gourds leftover from Halloween—and it would work just as nicely on a shelf or hallway table if you want to make more room for food.
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • If you need every possible square inch dedicated to serving food, consider tying together little dried leaf bouquets as place-setting presents (here's how to preserve and press them if you want them looking especially prim).
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • On a planned trip to the grocery, just pick up additional woodsy herbs that you can twist up with thin wire for instant, DIY napkin rings.

Get festive with your drinks of choice and display prominently.

Maybe traditional decorations aren't for you—this is a meal, not a showroom!—and if that's the case, just use the drinks as an excuse to inject seasonal opulence (A.K.A. holiday spirit) into your gathering.

  • As you might have noticed at any recent weddings you've attended, offering a specialty cocktail is something that catering companies do to make it easier on the bartender—and our favorite choice at the holidays is punch, since that big beautiful bowl (and necessary DIY ice ring) are a decoration in and of themselves.

How will you decorate your home for Thanksgiving? Share your ideas—especially for last-minute decorators!—in the comments.

52 Days of Thanksgiving
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Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

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