Last week I shared my excitement and my plans for Thanksgiving. I’m hosting two of my son’s university friends for break and also hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for my husband’s side of the family. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to do both as well as the chance to go and visit my side of the family, it just makes for a very full schedule. I thought I had made wonderful plans and had the preparations all under control until a small wrench was thrown in the works.
My green tablecloth was not in the moving box I thought it was in and no amount of searching by my very patient husband or me managed to uncover it. In the grand scheme of life, the lack of a particular tablecloth is not a huge deal. I know that. But I am really excited for my sister-in-law, her husband, and our cute 4-year-old nephew to see our new house for the first time and I want things to be nice for all of my Thanksgiving guests.
So my Beloved took me to town to try to find something that would work for our Thanksgiving table, preferably without blowing our Thanksgiving budget. God was merciful, and I found plenty of fall decorations in the clearance basket. I paid less than $6.00 for $51 worth of supplies, so it was much less expensive (and less annoying) than buying a new green tablecloth.
I picked out three pots of artificial flowers and a wreath that had potential because they contained silk flowers that looked more or less real. All were a little bedraggled, a couple had empty gaps where the flowers had fallen off of the stems, but at 90% off, I knew I could work with them!
The one thing I purchased at only 50% off was a single stem of red mums that would make the decorations work with my red tablecloth instead of the missing green one.
Then went home and pulled glass vases and emergency candles out of the closet, raided my pantry for popcorn and pinto beans, pulled out my tool box, and got to work!
I started by cleaning the vases, which were dusty from storage, and getting them thoroughly dry. After centering the emergency candle in the vase, I poured in about a pound of popcorn. I repeated the process for a second candle.
Then I filled the third vase with a little less than two pounds of pinto beans. I snipped each individual red mum off of the central stem, leaving as long a stem as possible on each bloom. One mum went straight in the center of the beans and the other four were evenly spaced in a lower layer.
Then I snipped flowers from the pots I had purchased, each time leaving the stems as long as I could. I arranged the flowers in the vase of beans as it suited me. Then I centered the vase of flowers between the candles on my dining room table.
The wreath held the elements I needed to complete the centerpiece. I snipped off pine cones, berries, and leaves and arranged them in the middle of the table to connect the vases.
I had so much material left that I pulled out a fourth vase and more beans to make an arrangement for the table in my foyer.
Then I finished dismantling the pots and the wreath. I was left with a box of materials that I can use next year, perhaps to make a new wreath or swag. Because I didn’t glue my table decorations together, I’ll be able to gather up the flowers and leaves to box up and use next year, put the beans and popcorn back in the pantry, and stash the candles in readiness for a power outage. Maybe I’ll use the pots for something like this?
While I don’t profess to be ready to go pro with my flower arrangements, and while I am very annoyed that I still can’t find the green tablecloth, I am pleased to have found such an affordable solution to my decorating woes.
And yes, I’m aware that there are far greater problems in the world than missing tablecloths. (Read about one of them here and here.) I’m also aware that my family would love me even if we had to eat Thanksgiving Dinner without a centerpiece. But I enjoy my pretties and it makes me happy to get to enjoy a beautiful meal in a beautiful setting and to share that meal with special people.
So if you are just setting up housekeeping and haven’t yet accumulated some of the trappings that an older woman has had time to collect, or if money is tight this year and you can’t afford to shop even the clearance section for decorations, or if you just aren’t crafty and don’t care to be, then don’t worry about it! Contrary to what one sees on Pinterest (and yes, I have a Thanksgiving board), Thanksgiving is not supposed to be about putting on a show. Thanksgiving was instituted as a day to Give Thanks.
“Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday…next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection…”
President George Washington, from his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789
We choose to decorate, enjoy a bountiful meal, and spend time with family & friends in order to demonstrate our thankfulness, but if we have all the trimmings without an attitude of gratitude, what’s the point?
I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy special times during this Thanksgiving season. Whether you’re feasting with family, celebrating with friends, making an extra donation to charity, or serving a meal in a soup kitchen, I pray you’re reminded of the blessings you’ve enjoyed and are filled with hope as you face whatever obstacles that may be ahead of you.
How will you celebrate Thanksgiving?
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