Thanksgiving Décor Goes Glam

Valley Forge Flowers’ Barbara King offers advice for sprucing up tablescapes for the holiday.



Gold spray painted pumpkin with cabbage, brown pheasant feathers, painted gourds, artichoke, bunches of herbs, and jewel tone flowers//Photo courtesy of Valley Forge Flowers

Between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving can frequently get lost in the shuffle. But this holiday, which so often brings families and friends together, deserves something special beyond a gourmet meal. Add some glamour to Thanksgiving this year with artful arrangements and unique, subtle touches. Here, Valley Forge Flowers’ president, Barbara King, shares some of her favorite ways to decorate.

MLT: What are some unique ways to decorate for Thanksgiving?

BK: I find that one of the most fun and readily available ways to decorate is with fruits and vegetables. Herbs are wonderful to tie into your centerpiece, too. It gives texture and makes people think, “This holiday is all about the food.” Whatever my recipes call for, I get a little extra—rosemary or parsley—and I tuck a few into the centerpiece. If you’re having squash soup, make mini gourd bowls. Having your décor match the menu will be a subtle but memorable mix.

MLT: What’s on trend this year?

BK: Gold is hot. Whatever your favorite combination is, whether it’s the burnt autumn colors or jewel tones, add gold. Pineapples are also very hot—spray them gold.

MLT: What are non-gourd options?

BK: I love kale, and artichokes are incredible. Pears and lady apples add a delicious look. I love adding pheasant feathers. It’s another texture, color, and it kind of tells the story of the day.

MLT: Is there something you always like to incorporate?

BK: Something of your own, even from the garden. Whether it’s your own vessel, a family tradition—a soup tureen makes an awesome container. It makes it so much more personalized. We can customize the arrangement to go with a customer’s look and tradition.

MLT: How can you repurpose decorations from Halloween?

BK: Don’t throw the pumpkins out. Cut the pumpkins or gourds and use it as your container. It doesn’t just have to be the centerpiece—on the coffee table, the hors d’oeuvre table. Put something that holds water tight inside. If your pumpkin isn’t looking so great, a metallic gold spray looks gorgeous.

MLT: What are your favorite flowers for Thanksgiving?

BK: This season, one of my favorite elements to add is succulents. You could take one off and lay it into your centerpiece—it’s amazing. Even use them as a garnish on food trays. They can last weeks out of water and soil for decorating and afterwards, you can plant them.

MLT: How can you safely integrate candles?

BK: The safest way is to make sure they’re inside glass. I love pillars and tapers this time of year. Tapers don’t typically fit inside glass. I’ll have them in candlestick holders. I always say more is better with candles. Big fat chunky candles, tapered candles, different heights add a lot of drama and warmth. Just never leave them alone in the room while they’re lit.

MLT: What are some care tips for fresh cut flowers to keep them healthy?

BK: The main thing that’s the demise for flowers is bacteria. I add just a teeny splash of bleach and some 7Up and that makes the flowers last longer.

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