By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.
Last Thanksgiving, I put together an easy centerpiece for the table. I gathered greens and leaves from the yard, placed them in a big circle in the center of the table, and then nestled an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables (plus some twinkly votive candles!) into the greens.
I love how it turned out! You can see a peek here. It gives that cornucopia feeling of plenty. You can use all the fruits and veggies when it’s done being a centerpiece — so nothing goes to waste. And I love that it sits low on the table, making it easy for people seated across from each other to have a conversation.
Some years, we have the food in the center of the table, and we have to keep the centerpiece much smaller. But when “the family” expands to 20+ people, and spills to more than one table, we keep the food on the kitchen island and let guests serve themselves buffet style. In those situations, the center of the tables remains open, and I get to be more generous with the table decorations.
Thinking some of you might want to try a centerpiece like this too, Amy Christie offered to recreate something similar, and photograph the steps as she went. Hooray! Here’s what Amy says:
Yes. Thanksgiving is about family and food. But at our house, Thanksgiving is also about a beautifully set table to hold the food and feed the family. It’s the day the extra special dishes are used, maybe the real silver silverware and the vintage table linens. I remember setting many holiday tables and it all began with asking my mom which plates to use, the fancy white ones or the fancy china ones with the tiny blue flowers. Either choice was good, either choice made for a beautiful table.
There are so many ways to decorate a table, and this year, I am in love with this idea for a colorful, natural, mostly edible centerpiece. The produce stacked with the natural pieces, the leaves, grasses and berry sprigs, is fundamental fall and will definitely give our Thanksgiving table a serious upgrade.
The how-to for this table centerpiece is a subjective sort of thing. Use what you like and what you can find. Adjust it fit the table, while making sure to leave space for the place settings. And, most importantly, make it look good to you. It takes some moving things around to figure out the right balance but the end result is gorgeous.
I have tips for you below so don’t sweat it. It’s a cinch to put together.
Think of these as suggestions and then shop your produce department for farmers market and see what you have access to locally. Happily, anything in rich fall colors seems to work well. You’ll also want to walk around your yard and see what sorts of leaves and greens you can gather.
– red onions
– yellow onions
– gold beets – scrub and lightly oil to help keep their color
– small pumpkins and gourds
– red berries
– candle votives, optional
Tips for making a centerpiece:
– Remove produce stickers and if needed, wipe the produce down with a dry cloth. Using water can make them shrivel and mold quicker.
– If you are using foliage, begin the arrangement with it. Start by making a base layer in the desired shape — a circle or a long line down a rectangle table — and then start building.
– Start with the larger pieces first (like the pumpkins) and space them out. Then add in the next largest and work your way down to the littlest pieces.
– Single leaves, small branches and berry sprigs can be tucked into open spots near the end.
– Use a hand-vac or the extension of the vacuum to clean off the bits of dust or debris that falls off while the centerpiece is built.
– More natural-looking (wax-coating-free) produce can be found at natural food stores.
– Be very careful when using votives with dried branches or flowers. Practice fire safety.
Tada! Your centerpiece is finished. It’s time to get out the holiday dishes and set that gorgeous table. Enjoy the family, the food and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Thank you, Amy! Seeing the step by step photos is so helpful. Tell me, Friends, are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? And if yes, what do you like to do for a centerpiece?
Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.