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How to decorate your house for Thanksgiving

Kathleen Wilson is the author of "Quick Decorating Ideas Under $20: The Budget Decorator's Bible" and editor of the popular ezine, The Budget Decorator. For more free ideas, visit her at TheBudgetDecorator.com.

Thanksgiving decorating

Thanksgiving is a special time in our homes, when we all take a little time to appreciate the gifts and blessings in our lives. My number one blessing, as yours, is my family and friends! So let's find some great ways to make your home a warm, inviting place this Thanksgiving Day for all your loved ones, including you!

the Thanksgiving table

This is your opportunity to show your loved ones how important it is to you that they are sharing your table this year. Here are some ideas to make your Thanksgiving table extra-special.

Holiday tablecloths

If you don't have tablecloths, pick up a couple of green or gold sheets from Wal-Mart or a discount store for less than $3.

You can even layer a couple of them if you wish. Don't feel shy about pressing coffee tables or card tables into service if you need more room, just use those cheap sheets! If you run out of chairs, push a table up to a couch on one long side, and you will only need chairs for the other side.

A bounty of dishware, suitable for feasting

Set your table with all your dishware ... it doesn't matter if it all doesn't match, or you had to borrow salad plates from a neighbor! Just keep the arrangement of each place setting the same, and it will tie it all together.

For instance -- dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl, repeat with next placesetting. Distribute the different styles of dishware evenly throughout the tables, much the same as you would do with accent colors in a room!

Indulge in cloth napkins

Use cloth napkins, fold them into accordion pleats and place them in the water glasses. Don't have cloth napkins? One twin flat sheet, a pair of scissors and some iron on hem tape (you could sew hems if you prefer) and you will have elegant napkins you can use again and again. A good size is 18x18 inches.

Centerpièce de résistance

This is where your creativity comes most into play. Keep the centerpiece low so that guests can easily converse. I know many designers make beautiful tablescapes on lifts and talk about height in an arrangement, but isn't the people what it's all about?

1. Use your nature theme, gather up some pretty dishes and pitchers, and pick some fall flowers or grasses from the yard. Pile up gourds on platters, fill bowls with nuts and insert a pillar candle, add pretty dried grasses to a wonderful vase, use bowls of apples, lemons or limes.

2. Take small bunches of flowers, wrap a wet paper towel and some plastic wrap around the stems, and insert randomly into the bowls of produce. Float some mum flower heads in a clear bowl of water, or add some greenery between the other items on the table.

3. Experiment with what you have available, what is affordable in your area, and what creates warmth in your heart. Try things several different ways, until you find a combination you like.

Above all, remember this is not about impressing others; it is about making a statement about how much you care they are in your home, and in your life. Enjoy your family, enjoy being creative while saving lots of cash, and enjoy the beauty of nature -- and give thanks.

Need some holiday craft & activity ideas for your kids?

We have some amazing Thanksiving craft ideas here!
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