Looking Towards the Holidays
In just a couple weeks, Thanksgiving will be upon us. Unfortunately, there are many people who like me, are not going to be spending the holiday with their whole family. Washington state has recently implemented new restrictions because of the growing number of COVID-19 cases. This means that indoor dining with anyone outside of your immediate household is prohibited. Though I am really bummed that I’m not spending Thanksgiving with my family this year, I’m really thankful that we are all making the responsible decision to not get together and risk spreading any germs.
That said, because of these restrictions I think it is even more important to find some way to make Thanksgiving this year special for yourself and your family, even if you can only celebrate with others virtually. Maintaining some semblance of our traditional celebrations during these unpredictable times is vital for our wellbeing. I also find creating the floral centerpieces and other arrangements to be really relaxing, especially considering how fragrant many of the items are, which is like pretty aromatherapy for your home. Going through the effort of decorating my home makes it that much more special as well to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal on the holiday.
Décor Design Ideas
For this exercise, I really wanted to demonstrate a centerpiece and tablescape that would also work for a table that would seat 6-8 people. If you would like to see how a single bowl centerpiece alone would look in scale with a 4 person or round table like mine, take a look at this Fall Color Centerpiece post for reference (and also other floral inspiration!). I also like using vintage and antique decorative objects on the table and wanted to incorporate these adorable pheasants I bought earlier this year into the setting. They always looked like something that once perched on top of some enormous antique buffet and were desperately wanting to be showcased again. Lastly, I wanted to add colors that I associate with late fall not only at my dining table, but also in my living room to create a special seasonal decorative moment there. To me, this means using florals in dark rich reds and burgundies reminiscent of winter berries and a wide variety of evergreen foliage in both spaces. You will see that I am not including any gourds, pumpkins, or turkeys in my decorating visions. I just wanted to do something different because I feel there is a ton of ideas out there already along those lines and I like the idea of décor being more transitional as we look towards December holidays.
With respect to selecting complimentary pieces, though patterned tablecloths and runners have their applications, I like to let the décor items on the table be the color and texture focus. I tend to opt for a runner or perhaps a large tray as a backdrop for most centerpieces because they provide space for the warm wood of my table to still be seen and appreciated. I also really like to try to maximize the size of my centerpiece, since most food just ends up back in the kitchen once passed around or never leaves the kitchen in the first place if your family is serving dinner buffet style. To show how to create a large statement with smaller vases and objects, I used a single small pedestal bowl with two votive holders for additional floral items. These when flanking the pedestal bowl arrangement make it appear as if there is a much larger and lush. Tucking the pheasants in amongst the florals makes them much more animated. They are accented by a few vintage brass candlesticks that I had picked up long ago at a thrift store.
Helpful Tips to for Decorating Success
If you choose to do a similar centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table at home, I would recommend that you buy at least 2 medium large mixed bouquets to have enough florals to use in all the arrangements that I did in this post. This does not account for any green foliage which I mostly foraged for from my own garden. I ended up buying 1 medium bouquet, 2 small ones, and some loose elements from the grocery store floral department mostly because I wanted extra for little vases elsewhere in the house. It felt like a lot until I got home and discovered that half of the medium bouquet I had bought was rotted behind the paper and cellophane. A friendly reminder to do your best to check, though I admit this is sometimes unavoidable. I would also recommend that you double check to make sure that none of your candles and décor items are too close to each other prior to lighting. I have been to a few dinners where there were some close calls with decorations and candles on the table. The only thing you should be worrying about burning is the turkey!
Thanksgiving Holiday Dining Table Centerpiece
- 4 stems rosemary
- 4 eucalyptus stems
- 4 hydrangeas
- 5 stems alstroemeria
- 2 leucadendron stems
- 5 poofs
- 2-3 chrysanthemums
- Some wrapped wire or another item that could be used as a floral frog
- A small pedestal bowl
- 2 votives or other extra small vases
- Clean floral or kitchen shears, garden nippers also work well
To create the main dining table centerpiece floral:
- Start by placing your floral frog in your pedestal bowl with some fresh water. I am using some silicone wrapped wire ties that my husband got for this one. I have coiled them together to insert the stems of the flowers into.
- Add two stems of rosemary on opposite sides of the bowl.
- Next cut and place one hydrangea and one of the mums so that the blooms are hanging over the edge of the bowl in between the rosemary.
- Cut and place one alstroemeria between the hydrangea and Chrysanthemums, and one between the hydrangea and rosemary. Add a stem of eucalyptus adjacent to each stem of alstroemeria.
- Add the last chrysanthemum to the far-left side of the bowl.
- Add the leucadendron into the center of the arrangement.
- Rotate the arrangement around and fill the back of the arrangement up with the last two hydrangeas and one more alstroemeria.
- Fill in any empty spaces with the poofs
To create the smaller votive florals:
- Snip the blooms from one alstroemeria stem for each votive. Each alstroemeria stem has about 5-7 blooms on it.
- Add one stem of rosemary to each so that it reaches out of the votives
Setting the Table:
Arrange the main floral in the middle of the table on a long neutral table runner. Place each of the votive florals on opposite sides of the main centerpiece. Incorporate your own special décor objects and candles by placing them asymmetrically around the other floral items. You can use any remaining flower blooms and some ribbon or string to tie up silverware or napkins. Layer dishes to create a more formal setting and sequencing to the meal.
Holiday Living Room Floral Centerpiece
- 6 stems rosemary
- 3 eucalyptus stems
- 2 stems hypercum berries
- 2 stems spray roses
- 1 stem oriental lily with multiple blooms
- 4-5 grass tufts
- 5 sword fern fronds
- 2 Japanese maple twigs (preferably with some neat fall leaves still attached)
- A medium cylindrical vase
- Clean floral or kitchen shears, garden nippers also work well
- Ribbon to wrap the vase if desired.
To make the arrangement:
- Place the rosemary in the vase filling the left side. Place the eucalyptus branches on the right so they droop dramatically out of the vase.
- Place the hypercum berry stems so that they are nestled in among the rosemary a couple inches above the mouth of the vase.
- Trim and place the lily stem so that it is draping out of the vase on the right-hand side, on top of the eucalyptus.
- Insert two fern fronds in among the berries and rosemary. Place the other three so that they fan out behind the lily.
- Trim and place the spray roses so they fill in the remaining open space in the center of the vase.
- Place the grass fronds asymmetrically in different heights around the arrangement, allowing them to float above some of the flowers.
- Carefully trim and place one of the maple twigs in the vase on the left side so that it arcs out and over the top of the floral arrangement. Place the other under the eucalyptus on the right so that the ends of the twigs trail out of the vase towards the table surface.