Darcy Miller’s Thankful Tree and Tabletop


I love Thanksgiving, so when Good Morning America asked me for decorating ideas, I created this easy family activity and kids’ table. My favorite part is that all this decor can be created ahead of time (like this weekend!), so you can get your table out of the way to make time for baking pie or roasting turkey next week. If you don’t get to it this weekend, just shop for supplies: The supplies are affordable and the projects are easy enough that they could even be created the night before.

This Thankful Tree is a sweet centerpiece you can craft ahead of time — and it’s perfect for teaching kids what Thanksgiving is really about. To make it, get branches from your yard or local florist (I used curly willow) and cut paper leaves from construction paper. You’ll just need a small piece of double stick tape to attach the foliage to your branches.

(Sources: Gold paper from Paper Source embellished with Martha Stewart Crafts Deep Edge Punch from Michaels, pillar candles from Colonial Candle, gold paint for pumpkins from Martha Stewart Craft Paint, chocolate turkeys from Godiva, birch rounds for trivets from SaveonCrafts).

When people arrive or just as they sit down to eat, ask guests to pick a leaf and write what they’re thankful for. Go around table and read the leaves, then add them to your scrapbook when the holiday is over. (It’s so nice to read these year after year.)

(Source: Paper leaves from Courtney McFarland)

I like to have a special table for the kids at Thanksgiving. Decorating is simple: Just have children draw designs on a brown craft paper “tablecloth” with crayons, stickers, and stamps. Paper cups can be embellished with glitter leaf stickers and flameless, battery-powered candles will make kids feel like grown-ups.

(Sources: Amscan turkey table decorating kit from Party City; orange paper napkins and gold paper drinking cups from Party City; glittered leaf stickers from Martha Stewart Crafts; paper turkeys and orange table runner from PaperSource; battery flickering candles from Saveoncrafts; coloring crayons from Melissa and Doug; wood table with chairs from Ikea; wood plates and flatware from

Candy cups filled with candy and popcorn become ships when you adorn them with my Mayflower template. You can also attach our template to a skewer, then stand it in a cup full of treats.

(Source: Gold paper candy cups, New York Cake and Bake)

Treats are not just for eating! These treats add color — and fun — to table decor.

(Sources: Martha Stewart Collection Serveware from Macys, cylinders from

Menu cards are a fun way to let guests know what’s to come. You can also add personal touches, like identifying which courses are family recipes.

(Sources: Cornucopia menu clip art, pilgrim menu clip art, turkey menu clip art, paper from Paper Source, cylinders from

Check out Good Morning America for great deals and offers on materials used in the segment, including 50 percent off on my favorite Martha Stewart Crafts punches and paints!

Photos: Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Comments (6)

  • [...]  Darcy Miller [...]

  • The decorations were very good. I personally think that it is not Thanksgiving without a cloth tablecloth and napkins. Guess it is just an old fashioned way of showing that family means a lot.

  • Darcy is absolutely amazing and never fails to come up with the greatest ideas to save the befuddled hostess. Cheers Darcy and keep those ideas coming.

  • I LOVE the Tree decor! It’s fun, informal, creative and thoughtful. Everyone can write what they’re thankful for and the tree should be bursting with color. Thanks Darcy!

  • [...] by editor extraordinaire Darcy Miller of Martha Stewart Weddings and her use of paper to pep up her Thanksgiving Table. A good paper decor scheme can be just as beautiful as a great floral arrangement (and is [...]

  • [...] Darcy Miller’s Thankful Tree and tabletop @darcymiller, @ Martha Stewart [...]

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