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5 DAYS until Thanksgiving: Cool table toppers

By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 at 6:05 am in Thanksgiving.

FOOD THANKSGIVING 4 CSI confess, while I have part of my mother’s crafty touch, I’m still a relative newcomer in the holiday host department. Christmas I have down pat: tree, lights, garland, wreaths and every conceivable decorating knick knack in between (we even had to build a new storage closet to hold the Christmas decor). When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m essentially a decorating rookie. Aside from a cornucopia, a little garland and an odd knick knack or two, my house still looks stuck in Halloween.

But I’m on tap to host the big turkey dinner, and no way am I leaving the dining room table looking like a neglected afterthought. It’s time to get creative, while sticking with a minimalist approach. After all, most eyes will be on the turkey. So, really all I want is a simple table topper. I accomplished mine for under $10. I took a low-set basket that was kicking around the house, filled it with pine cones and wrapped the handle with wired fall-themed ribbon. It works, and so do these other tricks and tips…

Fall is about bringing the outdoors indoors. Simple and economical ideas involve creating table decor from leaves, pine cones, gourds, mini pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables. They can be arranged in baskets, on platters or even loosely scattered on a table. SustainLane also suggests decorating the table in an eco-style — using gourds purchased from local farmer’s markets and keeping them to use again next year; using beeswax candles or soy candles.

KN YAKCRAFT 1 DEIf you use place cards, give them a personal touch by making them yourself. They can be as simple as mini-pumpkins adorned with fall leaves, flowers and berries with a name tag stuck in with a toothpick.

David Tutera, author of “The Party Planner” (Bulfinch Press, $29.95), recommends decorative touches that play on more than one sense. Because scent can promote relaxation, he suggests putting fresh cinnamon sticks, anise and cloves inside mini carved pumpkins.

And Most of the experts agree: Keep your centerpiece simple. A large arrangement can monopolize a table. Reader’s Digest in “Tips for Hosts” suggests sitting in each chair, after the table is set and decorated, to be sure each guest will have an unobstructed view.”

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