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Free and Inexpensive Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

Updated on May 28, 2011
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Anytime the holidays roll around decorating becomes a fun time.  But the most fun comes from using the stuff that is free and right at our fingertips. 

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to decorate for the Thanksgiving season.  In fact you can do it all for free or practically free.  How?  By using what is in your closets, drawers, attics, and all the bounty that nature has to offer.

Take a walk through your yard or a nearby forest.  You will be able to find all sorts of stuff to use.  Take a bag to carry your goodies in and start the treasure hunt.

Use Nature


You can do a lot with pine cones including making wreaths and potpourris.  Use them in creating a handmade turkey.  They are great to use when decorating the Thanksgiving table.  Arrange them around a candle or a set of candles to give them depth and richer color.

Fall Leaves

These are the some of the greatest decorating pieces you find.  Nature provides the multitude of colors, shapes, and styles.  You cannot find such a variety in the stores as you can in Mother Nature’s store.  You can use leaves as wall decorations, hanging from light fixtures, in wreaths, under a clear tablecloth, on the place cards at the meal.  Create your own candle display by gluing leaves around your candles and adding a few berries or pine cones.


Don’t forget to use pumpkins in your decorating.  There are some adorable miniature pumpkins that would be perfect on the mantel or included in the centerpiece of your table.  Use a pumpkin shell as the base for your fall floral arrangement or as the container for floating tealight candles.


Find some holly berries or other local berries that are not toxic and use them in arrangements.  Include them around the candles, in the floral arrangements, and on the mantle.  Use old lace that has been lying around and string them together.  Add leaves and dried fruit.  Use your imagination.


The scent of pine can bring back so many memories.  Grab some pine needles to bring the scent of nature inside.  Use them in the same arrangements.

Seasonal Fruit

Use apples and the various other fruit in your area that are abundant this time of year.  Use them to create a centerpiece reminiscent of the very first Thanksgiving. 


This is a natural decorating piece for the fall.  Use it in your displays and in much of your yard decorating.  Include some dried corn cobs and maybe a scarecrow or two.  Add some pumpkins and gourds.

From the Cupboard

If you want more of the fall color yet want to branch out past the leaves, cones, and berries, you can look into your cupboards.  Have you ever thought of using dried fruit?  String them up with some crystal beans and drape around candles.  Fill them in the bottom of vases to give more color and texture to the display.  Use cinnamon sticks for the wonderful fragrance.  These are great in many of your displays.

Don't Forget to Say Thank You

Ok, you’ve brought nature in to enjoy.  Give a little thank you back to nature.  Start your fall and winter nature gift giving.  Use little baskets that you have stashed in the closet.  Make your own baskets with construction paper and yarn.  Place dried fruit, seeds, peanut butter, dried bread, or jelly into these containers.  You can even use that pinecones that you picked up to put the peanut butter and jelly onto.  Hang them in a tree or two outside.  Watch the birds, squirrels and other small critters rush to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast that you have invited them to.  Why shouldn’t they be included.

Use Your Imagination

Don’t forget to use your imagination.  Go through the closets and drawers that you never use.  Find what you can add to your decorating adventure.  Don’t limit yourself.  Almost anything can be used to decorate for the holidays.  Old lace is great to crafts and accenting pieces.  Candles never fail and everyone has some tucked away somewhere.  Experiment.  Include the children.  They have not been taught to limit their minds yet.  Let them explore and come up with suggestions.  When you set down at the Thanksgiving meal, you’ll be able to be thankful for the bounty of nature and the imagination you used to help celebrate.


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    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Awesome ideas. Pine cones are cheap enough for me! haha nice hub here.

    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 5 years ago

      Good hub. I like your pictures.

    • Food Wine Travel profile image

      Food Wine Travel 8 years ago from New York

      Good hub! It's great to remind stressed out people in this tough economy that "You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to decorate for the Thanksgiving season. In fact you can do it all for free or practically free."

      check out my hub if you like, I've got a related hub I just put up:

      colorful Thanksgiving hostess gift / tabletop décor craft that cost $6.00 tops.

    • cocopreme profile image

      Candace Bacon 8 years ago from Far, far away

      I love the idea of putting floating tealight candles in pumpkins. Fall decorations are my favorite and you have a lot of great thanksgiving ideas.

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 8 years ago from Texas

      Great ideas and so helpful in these difficult economic times.

    • profile image

      jacky 8 years ago

      hey very good hub

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Lovely decorations and a lot of fun to go out in he woods looking for them. We have already picked lots of nuts, pinecones and leaves. Today will be going to a pumpkin fair to get our pumpkins.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 8 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Love your flower signature picture. Enjoyed this hub and think better put up few decs in the guest house.

    • jesusmyjoy profile image

      Betty Bolden 8 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      wonderful hub

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 8 years ago from Indonesia

      Creative ideas, in fact, the teens in my church had the pine cones crafts as favors in Christmas a few years ago. Thank you for the ideas. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Simple and simply beautiful! I do like the animals thanksgiving treats too! Thanks to YOU!

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Cool! I will get my daughters to collect these and create something. They love the inspiration and the eldest has the time while she applies for grad schools...

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good hub. I like the giving the animals a Thanksgiving, too!