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Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with tradition and history. It's a time to gather with family and friends, feast on a turkey dinner, and enjoy the beauty of the autumn season. With a history going back to ancient harvest celebrations, Thanksgiving is characterized by iconography that reflects its past. The images that adorn many of our Thanksgiving decorations today are tied to the fall celebration by centuries of history.

TRADITIONAL SYMBOLS FOR THANKSGIVING
TURKEY
Perhaps the most essential image of Thanksgiving in America is the turkey. While it's unlikely that the Pilgrims dined on turkey during their celebration in 1621, the bird is the focal point of many present-day holiday meals and often literally occupies a good portion of the Thanksgiving table. Turkey is so central to the holiday, in fact, that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as "Turkey Day." As such, images of turkeys are prevalent in Thanksgiving decorations. From decorations with friendly cartoon birds to tracings of small hands with added gobbles to realistic feathered figures, representations of the turkey are a part of many Thanksgiving celebrations.
CORNUCOPIA
The cornucopia's symbolism fits perfectly with the appreciation of food and abundance that characterizes the Thanksgiving holiday. A symbol dating back to the ancient Greeks, the cornucopia signifies abundance, fertility, and the harvest. Cornucopias as decoration provide an opportunity for a great deal of creativity. They are traditionally filled with flowers, fruits, and fall vegetables, but the possibilities are endless.
PUMPKINS AND GOURDS
Another reflection of Thanksgiving's history as a harvest celebration is the presence of fall fruits such as gourds. Pumpkins are native to North America, and as such are an appropriate decoration for American Thanksgiving tables. Certainly, many holiday tables will be graced with pumpkin in pie form! Many gourds are especially suited to use as decorations for Thanksgiving because of their rich autumnal colors. Special white varieties are making an appearance in recent years to add a modern twist to this tradition.
AUTUMN LEAVES
The very embodiment of the season, autumn leaves and their vibrant, rich colors are a beautiful element in many decorations for Thanksgiving. Autumn leaves, real or artificial, appear in elegant wreaths, beautiful table centerpieces, and as accents in floral arrangements. The shape and color of autumn leaves can even be used to create unique Thanksgiving cookies.
CANDLES
Indispensible to many holidays, candles can provide an especially warm glow at Thanksgiving. A candle with a rich, warm scent of apple or harvest spices may help to set the mood around the holiday. A collection of votives in any room can create a festive glow. Candles surrounded by flowers and fruits make for perfectly elegant Thanksgiving table centerpieces.
WHEAT
It's a quintessential symbol of the autumn harvest, and wheat can be incorporated into a variety of Thanksgiving decorations. Sheaves of dried wheat can create a beautiful holiday wreath or provide the perfect accent for a cozy arrangement of autumn-colored flowers.
CORN
Corn was likely part of the first Thanksgiving celebration held by the Pilgrims and it appears as a dish in many Thanksgiving meals today. But when it comes to its decorating uses, corn doesn't come only in yellow! There are beautiful and variously colored cobs of corn available for the fall season. Use dried ears of this colorful corn to add a touch of the harvest to a centerpiece or use them as decorative ornaments on their own.
THANKSGIVING CRAFTS
Usually assembled from one or more of the traditional Thanksgiving symbols, handmade items can play a big role in decorations for the holiday. If there are children in your family, you've likely got no shortage of Thanksgiving art projects to display around your home. From the hand-traced turkey to pinecone poultry, Thanksgiving crafts have their own time-honored traditions.


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