Seasonal Centerpieces

Thigpen 1Three easy tabletop ideas.

Written by Charlie Thigpen

Photography by Lindsey Griffin


As Thanksgiving approaches, it is a great time to gather with family and friends to celebrate the harvest season and all of our many blessings. Take a look at these three simple ideas that can help you transform your dining or serving table into an interesting and appealing work of art. We’re blessed to live in the South where we can walk outdoors and still cut foliage, flowers, and fruit that may naturally embellish our tabletop decorations.   


Pumpkin Display 


In a long, narrow trough, dough bowl, or wooden box, place an assortment of pumpkins. We used these great-looking concrete pumpkins, squash, and gourds, but you can use real ones that are readily available at grocery stores and the farmers market. These beautifully shaped veggies look great by themselves, but they can be enhanced with dried pepper berries and a few pieces of green moss tucked around fall’s treasures. It would be easy to transform this into a Christmas arrangement—simply remove the pumpkins and fill your container with ornaments, magnolia leaves, and pinecones.


Floating Flowers and Foliage 

In a round terrarium, we floated fresh-cut coleus foliage and placed a large dahlia bloom in the center of the colorful leaves. If you don’t have coleus in your garden to clip, you can use ornamental cabbage or kale foliage. You might also collect colorful fallen leaves from maple trees to float with blooms. We used a dahlia bloom because it was available, but you could use the fall-blooming Camellia sasanqua flower or purchase cut flowers from your local florist.


Smoke and Mirrors

I like to combine the use of mirrors with centerpieces. The reflection of the arrangement, flickering candles, and bright berries used here adds a special effect. A golden glass gourd placed in the center of the mirrored candle tray makes a fall statement. Burnt orange votives were placed in the flower cups. Then a few pyracantha berries were randomly sprinkled around the mirrored tray. Pyracantha berries are hard to work with because of their prickly thorns, but the bright orange colors work well in seasonal displays. If you don’t have pyracantha berries you can use bittersweet, dogwood, or nandina berries.


Give Thanks

During this holiday season don’t forget to give thanks for all of our many blessings. Each day beauty surrounds us. It might be something small, like a once-green leaf that has turned golden or bright orange. Be aware of the natural beauty that surrounds us each day and use it in some of your table decorations. Happy Thanksgiving!

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