Thanksgiving Themes

Woman Arranging Flowers On Dining Table

Are you looking for a way to add some flair to your annual Thanksgiving dinner? Consider incorporating a theme to your celebration to make it stand out and become an unforgettable event.

Creative Thanksgiving Themes

If you want to spice up your traditional Thanksgiving celebration, switching up the decorations and food can turn it into something unexpected and spectacular. You can keep with the traditional feast of turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes and add in a few surprises to please your guests or do something totally different and surprising. Consider some of these themes for your Thanksgiving gathering:

Color Themes

Proper use of color can help any host set the mood of the party. Thanksgiving themes can be started and brought together with good use of color. Autumn colors are warm, inviting and relaxing. They will help you set up a relaxed mood that will help your guests get in the holiday spirit and have fun. Perfect autumn colors are amber, brown, tan, burgundy or orange.

Some great color themes for the season include:

  • Autumn Spice: Use a mix of hues of red and orange to create a spicy décor. Decorating with candles in cinnamon and spice scents can help set the mood. Add cinnamon sticks to drinks and serve a dessert to complement your theme such as spice cake.
  • Going Green: Use environmentally-friendly paper products and incorporate a natural color theme to your Thanksgiving tablescape. Set up a recycling station for glass, cans and paper.
  • Festive Fall: Rich colors represent fall. This means using hues of orange, brown and yellow to tie into the fall theme. Decorate with leaves and other fall embellishments to set the mood of the celebration.
  • Burgundy and Brass: Spice up your fall themed table with rich burgundy leaves and glassware with jeweled brass tone plates, cups and candle holders. Mix in some bold colored fruit and dark gourds, and you'll have a decor no one will forget.
  • Brighten It Up: Brighten up your table by adding a little white to your holiday decor. You might choose to add a white tablecloth, candles or dinner sets. The rich Thanksgiving reds and oranges set against the bright white will really liven up your table.
Farmhouse style Thanksgiving table setting with white pumpkins

Outdoor Theme

You can bring the great outdoors inside for your Thanksgiving celebration. This is easy to do. In addition to decorating with some colorful leaves and branches, set your dining area to resemble a picnic. Use a plaid tablecloth, paper plates and napkins and serve your meal buffet style where each guest can help themselves.

Outdoor theme table setting for Thanksgiving

Harvest Celebration

In addition to giving thanks to family and friends, Thanksgiving is about the bountiful harvest in front of you. Focus your decorations around the harvest by adding gourds, corn husks and even a cornucopia to your table. Rather than a traditional tablecloth, try using a woven or burlap material. You can add rustic brass vases filled with dried flowers or just sprinkle dried flowers around your table setting. Show your guests that you are thankful for the food and welcoming in the new season.

Thanksgiving Dining Table Place Setting with Autumn Decoration

Sports Fanatics

Since Thanksgiving Day is filled with plenty of football games to watch, use a sports theme for your Thanksgiving celebration. You can still serve the traditional dinner but add a few creative twists such as decorating the table in your favorite team's colors. Allow guests to watch the games while enjoying the meal and cheering on the home team as part of the day's festivities. For an added touch, ask your guests to wear a football-themed jersey.

Around The World Potluck

This theme will bring a dramatic twist to your Thanksgiving gathering. You can ask your guests to choose a culture and bring a side dish to represent it. Some food ideas for this theme include:

  • Moroccan stuffing
  • Mexican corn fritters
  • French style green beans

Decorate your table in a fusion style that can incorporate a variety of cultures. Play international music and have each guest describe a bit about the culture they are representing while enjoying the delicious offerings from around the world.

A Formal Affair

A Thanksgiving dinner party can be a great way to bring friends and family together. Turn your traditional Thanksgiving celebration into a formal affair by asking guests to dress in their best attire. Serve the traditional dinner on fine china and use your best table linens. Accent the room with candles and soft music and hand each guest a glass of champagne as they arrive to your celebration.

For The Kids

If you have a lot of kids coming to celebration, focus the day around them through some fun kid friendly themes. This will make it fun for the kids and easier on the parents.

Focus on the Feast

Make the day about the Thanksgiving feast through making your Thanksgiving menu kid-friendly and include items such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, turkey sandwiches and mini apple pies. You can also include activities like:

  • Decorating with turkey and Thanksgiving feast coloring pages and turkey cut-outs that can be decorated and hung around the house.
  • Grab a few extra pie pans that you won't use for those delicious pumpkin pies and allow kids to use acrylic paint to decorate them. They might choose to use a paintbrush and paint little drawings or go Jackson Pollock and create a totally unique splatter painting. Use these to accent your table.
  • For a special twist, bake a batch of cookies in the shape of turkeys and allow each child to decorate them for dessert.

Fall and Leaves

Bulk up your a kid-friendly fall theme through fun fall foods that kids love and handmade decorations.

  • Rather than wine for dinner, maybe have apple cider in wine glasses and dessert of apple fritters and donuts.
  • Have the kids run outside and collect all different kinds of leaves to use for decorations.
  • Make custom leaf inspired table decorations. Have kids dip their leaves into the paint or paint the leaves and gluing them on white construction paper or stamping their leaf designs right on to the paper in different colors.
Children dipping fall leaves in paint

Family Themed Holiday

Rather than worrying about your decor, make your theme about family and letting each member know how special they are. Rather than the traditional turkey and stuffing, you might try creating foods centered around your family like having everyone bring their favorite dish or making a family favorite. To keep your family engaged try out a few of these activities:

  • Set up a holiday crafting table and have the adults help the kids create Thanksgiving based drawings.
  • Take a walk outside after the big meal or play a board game in the family room to bond together as a family.
  • Create cards that give thanks. All you need is some construction paper, markers and creativity for kids to create cards that give thanks. They can create one for each of their family members that they can pass out before dinner.
  • You can also have your own holiday parade and have the kids march around the room showing off their Thanksgiving creations. They might choose to show off their artistic prowess or hand out their cards to their loved ones.

Special Touches

After you settle on a Thanksgiving theme, carry it throughout your entire party. If you send out invitations, give your guests a clue about the theme on the invite. Decorations, food and activities can all tie into the theme as well. A theme is a great way to spice up your celebration and turn the day into an unforgettable celebration.

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Thanksgiving Themes