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It's the time of the year when traditions take center stage. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it can add to the warmth of the holiday to recall past years spent with family and friends as well as the customs our forebears observed. There are a great variety of Thanksgiving celebrations across the country; many elements are similar throughout the United States, but many observances are unique to specific regions and even individual families.
One way to evoke memories of Thanksgiving traditions is to decorate your home especially for Thanksgiving. Holiday decorations can create new memories and even become lasting traditions. A touch that seems small, such as placing a cornucopia of flowers and fruits on your dining room sideboard, can be something that becomes a treasured memory and anticipated treat each year for your family and friends. Since the early days of Thanksgiving, there have been images and decorations that have shaped our customs.
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING TRADITION
HISTORIC AMERICAN THANKSGIVING DECORATIONS
MANUFACTURED THANKSGIVING DECORATIONS
In the 1920s, decorations designed for Thanksgiving took on new popularity as they began to be featured prominently as purchase options in catalogs. Kewpie dolls, costumed appropriately with a variety of Thanksgiving accoutrements, became fashionable as decorations for the family table. Elaborate centerpieces and themed place card holders could also be seen on many holiday tables during the 1920s.
Napkins and other paper decorations printed with images of turkeys, Pilgrims, Native Americans, and other familiar icons first appeared in the 1940s. Holiday candles in the shape of traditional Thanksgiving symbols also became a part of decorating many American homes during the 1940s and 50s.
Today, Thanksgiving decorations are available in every shape, size, and material. Themes still center on fall harvest crops, turkeys, and cornucopias. The rich, warm colors of the autumn season characterize Thanksgiving decorations, gifts, and flower arrangements. Many holiday items also commemorate that first American harvest celebration with images of Pilgrims and Native Americans.
CREATING YOUR OWN THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS
Whether you follow time-honored practices or create your own ways of decorating, your unique touches will make your Thanksgiving feast an affair to remember. In the end, the most cherished decorations are those that become part of your own family's unique memories and traditions.