By Faith Teel
Special to Relocation.com
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that involves spending time with family and loved ones – not to mention a bountiful amount of delicious food that will have you stuffed for days. This is also one of the easiest holidays to decorate for since most of the key focus is on the food and less so on overly done decorations. With that being said, the only rule to keep in mind is that this holiday revolves around the dinner table. As long as you decorate  with that in mind, you can have amazing decor on a small budget.
Help Guests Work Up an Appetite.
The easiest way to decorate any room is to pick a few bold colors, combine them with neutrals and stick to your chosen palette. Since Thanksgiving is all about food, you may want to stick with “appetizing colors,” which is how color experts refer to certain colors stimulate the appetite. These include many of the same colors that you see traditional holiday food: golden yellow, apple red, pumpkin orange, plum, brown, cream and sage green.
Inspiration from Nature.
Thanksgiving is also about the bounty of the autumn season, so a good place to get inexpensive (and elegant) decorations is the great outdoors. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, or if you live near a park, forest or other pleasant outdoor place, take a walk. As you stroll along, keep an eye out for natural materials that would look great on your table or in a big vase. For example, if you grew asparagus in your garden this year, pick a few of the dried, feathery ferns with their red berries still attached. Other great natural materials include pine cones, brightly-colored leaves, evergreen branches, holly, seed pods and feathery grasses. (Just make sure that if you’re picking plants from someone else’s land, you have the owner’s permission.)
If you live in the heart of the Big City and a nature walk is out of the question, drop by your local farmer’s market or grocery store instead. Food can be wonderful for decorating, and if you can eat your decor later, your grocery budget can double as your decorating budget. Pumpkins and squashes look wonderful in baskets, and if stored properly, they can keep until it’s time to bake them for Christmas dinner. Apples, oranges, lemons and pineapples, in a simple clear bowl, also make lovely displays and keep well.
Around the House.
The cheapest kinds of decorations are the ones that you already have. The first place to raid is your box of Christmas  ornaments. This isn’t the time for snowmen and angels, but how about those red apple ornaments, or the ones shaped like birds, or the sparkly pears? Wouldn’t they look great hung from a chandelier?
I Want to Paint It Black (or Gold).
Keep an eye out for anything that can benefit from a coat of paint. Glittery gold or copper spray paint are excellent choices to shine up an old candlesticks or napkin rings.
For the Table:
Food, Glorious Food.
Of course, the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving holiday is the table. In fact, because the holiday is all about food, why not use the meal as the decoration , too? Make a pretty cake ahead of time and set it in the center of the table. (A covered cake plate can be useful to keep small fingers out of the icing.) Or tempt your guests’ appetites early by heaping chocolates or other pretty finger food in a tiered serving plate.
Bust Out the Good China.
Thanksgiving is a great time to get out the good china. If you’ve never been a fan of fine porcelain, you can still use your plainest everyday ware and dress it up with accessories such as cloth napkins and pretty goblets.
On the other hand, it’s tempting to hand out paper plates at big holidays like this, unless you can persuade someone else to wash the dishes. If you use disposable plates, there are still several ways to keep it classy. First, be sure to use sturdy plates that won’t let the gravy soak through. Solid colors will be more elegant than patterns. If you have a little bit of room in your budget, spring for classier disposables made from bamboo or clear plastic.
If you use disposable plates, try to use your best serving bowls. Even potato chips look better in a crystal dish!
A Little Bit of Fun:
Because Thanksgiving is a family holiday, it’s a great time to involve your children in the decorating . Save your brown paper bags from the grocery store and help each child cut out a few leaf shapes. (You can also use colored construction paper.) Have them write something they’re thankful for, and then string the leaves together with a needle and thread. Hand your “Chain of Thankfulness” over a doorway or from a chandelier.
Old-fashioned paper chains made from paper in pretty colors are another fun project. Update the idea by using pretty wrapping paper in brown and red and gold. (Kids really appreciate the chance to use nice paper.) You can also have the children use a needle and thread to string together plain popcorn.
For the Little Ones.
If you plan to seat the children at a separate table, consider adding a few fun features to keep them occupied while Mom and Dad eat. For example, you can cover the table with plain white butcher paper and put a basket of crayons (or washable markers) in the middle. You can even go a step further and add Thanksgiving-themed coloring books.
The fun can continue into the evening with a “bobbing for apples” contest. To avoid the mess of a tub of water, hang apples from the ceiling by a long string. Have participants try to catch the apple in their teeth.
Crafts don’t have to be limited to kids. This year, make a light-hearted “guest book” by drawing a pear-shaped turkey body on a nice sheet of parchment paper. Have each guest add a thumbprint in the tail area, than sign their names nearby.
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the things that make life sweet: a loving family and close friends. If you decorate with them in mind, you don’t need a big budget to have a welcoming home. Remember, a little creativity and using what you have goes a long way.