Thanksgiving Decor With Fruit, Foliage And (Of Course!) Flowers

I feel compelled to remember our foremothers during Thanksgiving who have been busy preparing bountiful as well as beautiful Thanksgiving tables.

A Thanksgiving Centerpiece with pumpkins, squash, cranberries, and cinnamon.

Photo: Katiekills

You can incorporate seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers to create a Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

I collect vintage books about flower arranging and have recently been reading one that was published in 1957 by Better Homes and Gardens. Some of the ideas in the book made me understand more about traditions popular in the fifties. Here are some ideas for Thanksgiving decor:

Vintage Suggestions For Thanksgiving Centerpieces

  • A suggestion given to a hostess for Thanksgiving is to use a green tablecloth with a centerpiece of purple grapes spilling out of a straw cornucopia. A variation is an orange cloth with green grapes.
  • Another tip is to use a low bowl of fruit with the admonition that only a few colors of fruit should be included. For example, the hostess should limit the arrangement to just three colors such as those found in (red) apples and (yellow) lemons and oranges, or a combination of green and red apples with purple grapes. The reason given for not selecting a haphazard collection of many colored fruits is that it would look unplanned.
  • Fine evergreen foliage together with autumn leaves is also suggested for framing a low bowl of chrysanthemums of a single shade that harmonizes with or contrasts with the tablecloth. Since evergreen foliage does not wilt when it is out of water it can be laid directly on a table cloth around the base of a container or in a line down the center of the table.
  • The book also recommends placing a small duck decoy, turkey or pilgrim figurine among the evergreen foliage or in the middle of a bowl of short stemmed flowers.
  • Hostesses who live in warm climates where there are still flowers blooming in the garden can also scatter fresh yellow, red or orange flowers directly on the table cloth around the base of candle holders. Single flowers such as tropical hibiscus are showy and will last for a day with or without water.
  • Those of us in cold climates can use unshelled nuts and pine cones.

Buy Flowers For Thanksgiving

As you shop for your Thanksgiving groceries this year, wherever you live, wheel by the floral department even if it is just to look at what is on display. As my book reminded me: “Flowers and fruits are bounty that remind us of the reason our Pilgrim forefathers expressed thanks.” I feel compelled to add that we should not forget our foremothers who, since the beginning, have been busy preparing bountiful as well as beautiful Thanksgiving tables.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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