Nature Walk Centerpiece
A few hours before your Thanksgiving meal, send the kids outside on a nature walk to select items for a special holiday centerpiece. Ask them to clip assorted dried flowers and grasses still standing in your garden or in the woods. When they come home, have a hollowed-out pumpkin or a large, solid-colored vase waiting to be filled with their treasures. Youll soon have a dramatic, inexpensive centerpiece and the kids will be proud of their contribution to the family celebration.
Its a good idea to send an adult or teenager along to help supervise younger children. They can also carry the scissors and a large shopping bag to hold the finds. Even the little ones will have fun helping hunt for bright leaves, seed pods or curvy twigs.
When they return, set them to work in an easy-to-clean area. Working with dried materials can create quite a bit of litter on the floor. Good work areas are a garage, a porch or deck. If the materials are already dried, theres no need to fill the pumpkin or vase with water, which will help keep down the mess.
Even though you dont need water for the arrangement, it’s a good idea to pick up some floral foam to put inside the pumpkin or the vase. The foam will make it easier to add and arrange the various items. Just continue to add branches, leaves, grasses and flowers until you reach the desired shape.
Add some festive color to the arrangement with bright red cranberries. Just thread Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries onto thin, sturdy twigs or small branches and place throughout the arrangement.
You can also pick up a few dried flowers or seasonal decorations at the craft store ahead of time, just in case the arrangement needs a little filling out.
If you have a grown-ups’ table and a kids’ table, have the kids fill up hollowed-out mini pumpkins or a small vase to decorate their own table, too.
Here are some items to consider collecting outside. Depending on your climate, you may have other interesting flowers, branches or plants to add to the arrangement.
Rudbeckia and Purple Coneflower
These daisy-like flowers leave behind dark, round spiky seed heads that add great contrast.
Ornamental grasses and common weeds have feathery seed heads that add height and drama to an arrangement.
Rose hips are the round buds left behind after rose bushes have finished flowering for the season. Most shrub roses yield a round fruit that ripens to bright red. The sizes vary from tiny sprays to 1-inch fruit. Beware of thorns.
Sprays of tiny flowers turn to fluffy, fuzzy seed heads. These are great to fill in the bouquet. (These seeds do tend to drop more easily than the others.)
Stone Crop sedum is a favorite because of its tall pink blossoms that last so late in the season. Even after a hard frost turns them reddish brown, they still stand tall, perfect to anchor a centerpiece.
Interesting Twigs and Colorful Leaves
Red Twig Dogwood or curly willow twigs are a natural choice. Oak trees often still have their colorful leaves by Thanksgiving, so a few short branches of golden yellow or ruddy brown oak leaves will add a burst of color to your arrangement.