Decorative Table Setting Ideas & Ways to Share Your Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Table with food and paper decorations

Give thanks this Turkey Day with a few meaningful additions to your holiday tablescape. And all you need is some cardboard and paper.

Place cards

Yes, there is still a need for place cards at the table this year even if there are no formal seating arrangements required. Place a Thanksgiving card at the place setting of each member of your family to let them know how thankful you are for their place in your life. After all, giving thanks in note form is not just for those who give you presents. They are also for those whose presence in your life makes you thankful. So pen a handwritten note and place each heartfelt appreciation for those who populate your table year-round.

Don't forget your printouts!


Thanksgiving is a holiday and of course you want a festive centerpiece on the table for all to admire. Think a tablescape of paper turkeys, pumpkins and leaves. Include an empty bowl on the table with some pens and have everyone write what they are grateful for big and small on one of the paper leaves. Save the leaves for dessert and read them while enjoying some pumpkin pie.

If you want a centerpiece that stands out, think about a gratitude tree. Collect a few branches from outside and place them in a vase. Decorate the branches with paper acorns and leaves. Throughout the day family members can add their thanks on an individual leaf and hang it on the tree.

Expand the children’s table

Admit it, after years of dreaming about making it to the adult table, you secretly wish you could go back to the children’s table. Why not make this the year to make that dream come true. Forget the fancy linens and cover the table in kraft paper! Adorn the table with crayons and cardboard placemats. Play games like tic tac toe or hangman or a Thanksgiving version of Pictionary by drawing what you are most thankful for and have your fellow dinner guests guess what it is. You can even add these coloring page menus to the table to occupy your little helpers while they wait for the food to be ready.

Share the love

Thanksgiving dinners are meals of abundance, and there is no need to scale down. Share your meal with friends and family by packaging up leftovers of the turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. After all, isn’t one of the best parts of Thanksgiving the turkey sandwich you make the next day? And share the sweetness of the holiday with a slice or two of pie. Just package them in to-go boxes with festive labels and drop off with friends and family and keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive.

No matter who is at your Thanksgiving table this year, let's give thanks for the people in our lives. And make room to display our gratitude with a little paper and cardboard.