While the turkey takes center stage at most families' Thanksgiving dinners, there is a another table element that's competing for that top spot.
The Thanksgiving centerpiece is one of the first items of the table—and often the entire room—that families and friends notice when they sit down to chow down.
"A Thanksgiving centerpiece is a great way to add a decorative flare to the holiday meal," said Wayne A. Gruber, owner of Gardens on the Prairie in Lowell.
Making the perfect centerpiece for your table is a matter of simply becoming inspired by the things around you, he said. Warm up your holiday table with these centerpiece ideas.
Don't throw away those Halloween decorations—they may make perfect Thanksgiving centerpieces, Gruber said.
"Gather small gourds and pumpkins around Halloween and use them on the Thanksgiving table," he said.
If that window box is no longer of use because of the cold weather, bring it inside and set it on your table. Fill it with gourds, candles, berries and fall leaves for an elegant look that stretches the whole table.
Simply placing gourds and Indian corn in a glass vase can serve as an easy and affordable centerpiece as well. Add more color by including copper-toned chrysanthemums or marigolds in the centerpiece.
Walking outside can deliver inspiration in many different ways, Gruber said.
"Cut dried seed heads, grasses, branches and berries from the garden to make a cut arrangement for the table," he said.
Twigs also can be used by placing them in a vase and suspending mini pumpkins from the branches to create an eye-catching centerpiece. Add little suspended notes of which each person is thankful for this year for a truly unique setting.
Pine cones are easy additions to any centerpiece as well, and can be spruced up using glitter or metallic paint.
Fresh greenery from an evergreen tree is another good addition to a centerpiece.
"The centerpieces with fresh greenery in them will add a lovely fragrance," he said.
Another option for outdoor lovers is to bring in some of that cut wood that will go in the fire place and use it first as a centerpiece.
Cut a handful of pieces at different lengths and place them together in an arrangement in the center of the table, standing each log up so the top of each serves as a table on which candles and greenery can be placed. Make sure the tallest log is short enough where two people sitting across the table each see each other.
The food on the Thanksgiving table doesn't necessarily have to be part of the meal.
Have lots of glass containers scattered throughout your home? Gather different sizes to create an interest array of textures by filling them with different types of nuts - hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, just to name a few.
When Thanksgiving football grabs the attention of your guests after the meal, offer up the nuts as a game snack.
Looking for something simple? Place candles in the middle of a glass container and fill it with corn kernels or even candy corn.