Interiors: Create a warm, inviting atmosphere for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving makes us want to decorate our homes in a very warm and inviting way. Here are some ideas to make the dining table special this year.

First, greet guests as they walk in the door with a tray of hot cider garnished with fresh cinnamon stir sticks. That will get them in the mood and feeling warm and welcome.

At the table, consider placing gourds, pumpkins, squash and leaves in the center. The gourds don't have to be traditional in color. Some are white with gray, and that combination with either dark green or orange would make for a nice fall look on the table. You can get these in various sizes to create interest for the eye. If you find three that are large, medium and small, you can cut off the tops of the large and medium and pile them on top of each other with the smallest one on top.

Surround whatever centerpiece you have with a combination of tall candles and short, votive candles to add to the warmth of the room.

The place settings can come to life with a layered look. Start with a place mat, top it with a charger, then a plate then a napkin that has a twig wrapped around it with a name tag inserted. If name tags aren't in order, place a dried leaf under the twig, or if you prefer, under a ribbon.

Pinecones are everywhere at this time of year, so use them for decoration. Place them among the candles and gourds or whatever you have for the centerpiece. You can also fill glass bowls and/or jars with pinecones. This is an inexpensive yet attractive way to add the feeling of the season to your table.

Create your own special decoration with glass jars, votive candles and acorns. Place the votive candles in the jars and add acorns around the candle. Taller candles work, too.

If you have rustic baskets, these make for a good addition to any Thanksgiving decoration. They can be used as centerpieces or as accessories on cocktail tables or end tables. Fill them with seasonal items such as berries, gourds, squash and nuts.

Create cozy sitting areas for your guests. Chairs arranged in a circle or semi-circle will do the trick. Be sure to have at least one accent table that is accessible to all the seats so guests have a place for their drinks.

Start a tradition by cutting small rectangles of papers in red and in green. Have each of your guests write what they are thankful for; then, loop the papers to form a chain. Place that chain on the Christmas tree once you get it and decorate it. Be sure to put the year on at least one of the papers. Do this every year; then you can look back and read what you and your family and guests have been grateful for over the years.

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