Halloween is past, Christmas isn’t quite here, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. If you’re like a lot of other folks out there, you don’t want to invest a lot of time (or money) into holiday decorations that will only be out for a few days — but you don’t want your home or table to look barren, either.

Well, fortunately, Mother Nature is here to give your home decor a seasonal boost that’s both appropriate and easy. You can gather elements of nature to use as part of your Thanksgiving display right outside your back door, while walking around to look at autumnal leaves, or during a quick trip to the local farmer’s market or store. It won’t cost you much (if anything), and you’ll still be able to fully embrace the season.

Here are several ways to incorporate nature into your Thanksgiving decorations with style:

Transform Your Pumpkins Into Pleasant Decorations

Who says pumpkins are only good for jack-o-lanterns and Halloween scares? Not us! There are a ton of different ways to use pumpkins on your table and elsewhere to make a stylish decorative statement for Thanksgiving.

Some of the best ideas we’ve seen include:

  • Go Elegant in White: If you love the look of a refined table at your feast and want decor that will set the tone and look splendid with your fine china and crystal, try using a display of white pumpkins as your centerpiece. Albino varieties, like the Snowball or Casper, come in all sizes, so don’t be afraid to mix and match them on your table.
  • Make Charming Name Plates: If you’re hosting a group and want to assign seats, grab a pile of mini-pumpkins and a sharpie to make your own place markers. You can write each guest’s name on a little pumpkin and place it in the center of your place settings for a charming look.
  • Create a Cornucopia: If you want a highly symbolic centerpiece, a small basket that’s overflowing with pumpkins, acorn squash, apples and nuts will automatically emphasize the abundance at your table.

Pumpkins are good for eight to 10 weeks once they’re off the vine, so you can even recycle any uncut gourds you still have sitting around from Halloween. If you have a lot, you can artfully place them on your front stoop or make use of them to dress up your mantel. Don’t be afraid to mix in some of the other design elements we mention below for added panache.

Give Twigs, Nuts and Pinecones a Place

Grab a jacket and go for a walk — but carry a big bag, because you’ll need it to bring home your haul: Gather up the biggest acorns you can find, walnuts that have fallen to the ground, small twigs and pinecones for these simple decorative ideas:

  • Fill Dishes and Vases: Acorns and walnuts look stunning and stylish when they’re piled in a decorative bowl or used to fill glass candle holders and vases. Spray the twigs you’ve gathered silver or gold to match your table’s decor and use them instead of flowers. Pile the pinecones around at random for an easy mantel or table decor that’s both sweet and seasonal.
  • Make Ornaments: Walnuts have long been considered a symbol of good health and bountiful blessings, so play on that tradition by adding them into your decorations. Paint the walnuts silver and attach ribbons with some glue to turn them into graceful ornaments that can be hung from twiggy branches in a vase at your table — and then make sure each guest takes one home as a token of your good wishes. Acorns, too, can be treated the same way, and they’re considered symbols of prosperity and good fortune that you can pass on to your guests.

You’re really only limited by your imagination — and space, but this is a great way to showcase some of your favorite pieces of pottery or decorative vases (without subjecting them to a lot of potential mishaps during the meal).

Indulge in All the Colors of Fall

Do you eschew the stark white and crystal look in favor of vibrant colors? If so, this is the perfect time to look for table decorations outside. Here are some ideas you can use:

  • Make a Bold Basket: Get a variety of apples and put them in a basket for your centerpiece. For added interest, gather up some newly fallen leaves and tuck them in the empty spaces along with some nice, fat acorns for added visual interest.
  • Used Potted Kale and Cabbage: If you’re only familiar with the cabbage and kale you find in your grocery store, you’re in for a surprise: They come in gorgeous ornamental varieties that turn pink, purple, red and white during fall — and that makes for an easy focal point on your mantel, table or by your front door.
  • Display Colored Corn: Ornamental corn can make a lively and festive addition to your holiday since it comes in varieties that range from rustic to almost impossibly beautiful (especially those varieties where the kernels look like tiny jewels). You can tuck ears of colored corn in among your other decorations on your table, pile them around an array of candles on your mantel and more.

The best part about using nature in your Thanksgiving decor? Aside from reinforcing the message that we live in bountiful times and have much to be thankful for in our everyday lives, all of these natural decorations are eco-friendly. Whatever you can’t use for meals can be returned to the earth without any harm.

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