By Lisa Corcoran


Confession: I decorate for the holidays. And by holidays, I don’t just mean Christmas! Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter and everything in between is an excuse to decorate! For me, the decorations are just one part of the ritual of celebration and are nearly as important as the food. I love when everything feels fresh and subtly seasonal; it might be the simplest of things like fresh greens or some new pillows and a coordinating vase help pull it all together. The key is being subtle.

I dream about hosting one of those outdoor garden dinners with a long harvest table, an eclectic mix of chairs, twinkly lights in the trees, candles in mason jars, fresh flowers from my garden, surrounded by my friends and family on a hot summer’s evening. But as we move to fall, that fantasy will have to wait for another summer (and a bigger yard with some large trees and a giant table… sigh). But the idea feels comfortable, like home.

So as my summer memories fade, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving to great that same comfortable space to host family and friends. We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year! We just moved in to our new home and within a few days, I started searching on Pinterest for inspiration to help me bring the warm fall tones home without over doing it.


We’re nearly ready and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Here are my favourite tips to decorating for Thanksgiving on a budget:

Find inspiration – I usually start with Pinterest, my favourite home stores and magazines. Once I get over the initial panic that I don’t have dishes with a turkey motif and in fact my dishes are blue, I move on. Looking at the top rooms where every item coordinates gives me a better idea of what I want to do and lets me focus my time and money on a few key high impact ideas.

Be seasonal – Think about harvest, leaves falling and warm hues. The look to what is available in abundance -leaves & twigs, pumpkins, corn and apples. Here’s a few easy ideas:
• Cut the top off a pumpkin or squash, scoop out the insides, place a glass inside and use as a vase for some daisies, sunflowers or some other simple arrangement.
• Create a centrepiece with a collection of apples in a glass bowl on a side table or some leaves in the centre of your dinner table.
• Pick up your Halloween pumpkins early and set outside of the front door. Add in a couple golden or orange potted mums and it’s a welcoming fall scene.

Keep it simple – Use things that you already have in your home. I would have sworn that I have nothing that would work for Thanksgiving until I pulled out my white cake tray and piled it high with apples and white mini pumpkins. Add in some candles at different heights placed on overturned wine glasses with some paper (gasp!) napkins in a coordinating colour and my table is set.


The dinner table is always the focal point, but I also like to add little touches elsewhere in the house; front entrance, coffee table, mantle etc. Pick a couple of places to add a little fall whimsy.

• Take glass votives, fill with popcorn kernels and tea lights. Line up a few on a mantel or bathroom counter.


• Pick up a couple of mini pumpkins from the grocery store and either paint them with acrylic paint or glue and sprinkle with sparkles from the craft store. This is also a great craft to do with the kids, providing of course, you aren’t too particular about the results!

Thanksgiving sparkly pumpkins

Most of all, remember this is about having fun not trying to overdo anything or have picture perfect decor – our lives are busy enough as it is. I love this kind of thing, but if it’s not for you, relax. Thanksgiving dinner is often all the décor you need.

Lisa-webLisa’s a Calgary newbie who spends her days working as a marketer and her free time taking her kids on adventures. She’s a mom of two, wannabe cork dork, baker extraordinaire and always has a supply of bubbles and sidewalk chalk. She blogs about her adventures at