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Unique Modern Thanksgiving Ideas for a Festive Gathering

I might be hosting my first Thanksgiving this year! The verdict is still out, but at the very least, I’ll be taking a big role in planning and executing the meal and the decor. I’m very excited, as I love collecting creative and scrumptious ideas for festive holiday meals. Today’s post is dedicated to the art of the modern Thanksgiving. From the backdrops and tablescapes to the delicious dishes and beyond, these Thanksgiving ideas will hopefully inspire you to put your own twist on Turkey Day. Enjoy!

Setting the Stage

Set a festive, colorful mood by welcoming guests with unique decor. I’m a big fan of this Yarn Banner DIY from Creativebug, which is easy to create with wooden dowels, yarn, neon masonry line and a couple of other basic supplies. Wouldn’t this vignette be divine hanging next to your Thanksgiving table?

DIY yarn banner from Creativebug

I’m also quite drawn to the triangular shape of this Unique Holiday Wreath from Design Love Fest. Changing out the floral elements with the seasons is a great way to keep the design alive year-round. Perhaps some winter blooms would be fitting once December rolls around…

Unique holiday wreath from Design Love Fest

The same interchangeable concept is possible with this fringe garland DIY from A Subtle Revelry. Choose festive yet non-specific colors for the tissue paper fringe, then switch out the gold lettering for each holiday. I’m thinking that “THANKFUL” would be perfect for Turkey Day!

DIY fringe garland from A Subtle Revelry

The images below appear along with a tutorial for a Painted Feather Cake from A Subtle Revelry, but I like the idea of creating a garland with the feathers. Unique, colorful and earthy, don’t you think?!

Painted feathers from A Subtle Revelry

Designing the Table

When it comes to holiday gatherings, nothing brings me greater joy than designing a beautiful table that serves as the perfect backdrop for the deliciously prepared food. The image below is from the Thanksgiving Still Life Photo Shoot for my blog Mirror80. I’m a wee bit obsessed with marble tiles from the flooring store. While you can’t serve food on them, they’re perfect as backdrop elements to your tablescape. Add brassy bowls (like these from CB2) and spray paint some small pumpkins, and you’re done!

Marble tiles and spray painted pumpkins on a fall table

For an easy runner idea, try painting some geo designs onto brown paper. No worries if the food stains this disposable Geometric Paper Runner DIY from Oh Happy Day!

Geometric paper runner from Oh Happy Day

I’m a huge fan of preserved moss. Remember when I used it to create the outdoor wall art for my front porch makeover? Try using preserved moss as a runner that anchors your Thanksgiving table. This clever idea comes to us from Camille Styles:

Moss table runner

Last year’s Friendsgiving celebration from A Beautiful Mess has inspired me to no end. I love the way white and painted gold pumpkins added a touch of class to the table, while colorful accents from peach roses brought the vignette to life. I’m definitely using white and metallic pumpkins on my Thanksgiving table this year.

Friendsgiving celebration from A Beautiful Mess

I will also definitely be adding a touch of neon. This idea for dabbing the prongs of pine cones with neon paint could not be more on trend. For a full Neon Pine Cone Placecard Holder DIY, head on over to Camille Styles.

Neon pine cone placecard holder from Camille Styles

Delicious Consumables

It’s Thanksgiving, folks! The food is an art form on this special day of celebrating nature’s bounty. Start it all off with an unforgettable drink that can become the signature cocktail for your gathering. I can’t wait to try out this Prosecco and Cranberry Mimosa recipe from A Beautiful Mess, featuring thyme. Yum!

Prosecco and cranberry mimosa from A Beautiful Mess

Here’s another pic from my Mirror80 Thanksgiving photo shoot. I’m a big fan of cheese plates. They’re so easy to throw together, and they have such a decadent feel. Try adding interesting spices and herbs to your cheese plate, as well as foodie favorites such as olives and dried fruit. Below we see feta and chives, as well as cinnamon-dusted Toscano cheese from Trader Joe’s:

Thanksgiving cheese plate idea

Since there are a lot of vegetarians in my family, I love serving a hearty salad when I entertain. This delicious image comes from this year’s Holiday Table of A House in the Hills. Such a feast for the eyes–and the tummy.

Hearty salad from A House in the Hills

I’m also on the hunt for a tasty carrot slaw to serve with the fish that my mom will be preparing for the event. This Carrot Sesame Slaw from A Girl Defloured has definitely captured my attention:

Carrot sesame slaw from A Girl Defloured

Personalizing your holiday dessert is a great way to add a signature touch to the meal. This Thanksgiving Alphabet Pie Topper DIY from Oh Happy Day is created with the help of alphabet pasta:

Alphabet pie topper from Oh Happy Day

Saying Thanks

One way to show your guests you’re thankful for the relationships in your life is to send them home with delicious edible favors. If I host this year, I’d like to think that I’ll be together enough to gift my guests with some foodie goodies–I’m hoping for the best! Plus, you can prepare these treats ahead of time. These Flavored Butter Party Favors from A Beautiful Mess look absolutely delectable. Plus, guests can enjoy them during the meal!

Honey butter and chipotle butter from A Beautiful Mess

Since many of my guests prioritize healthy eating in their lives, I’m very taken with the idea of preparing a healthy, spicy nut mix. These Curried Cashews from GI 365 look scrumptious, and I also came across this healthy recipe from EatingWell.

Curried cashews from GI 365

Another fun favor idea: infused olive oil. Guests can enjoy it throughout the holiday season, serving it with warm bread or mixing it into salads. This Chili, Garlic and Herb-Infused Olive Oil from Make, Do and Spend is a fabulous foodie find:

Infused olive oil from Make, Do and Spend

Should I take the plunge and host Thanksgiving this year? Regardless of how things pan out, I’ll be sharing a couple more Thanksgiving-themed posts with you in the coming weeks, especially as I delve into preparing for this special day. Until then…

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

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