When the bite of fall is in the air, our thoughts turn to crafts! Halloween is the sexy holiday for crafters; everyone loves to dress up and to find fun and funny ways to elicit both squeals of fright and delight from guests young and old. Christmas and Hanukkah are so ingrained in the crafter’s psyche that most stores started laying out their twinkle lights and snowflakes in August! However, getting caught up in the excitement of the expected crafty holidays overlooks an important opportunity for truly meaningful crafts that your friends and family may cherish forever and take on as of new traditions for years to come—Thanksgiving.

Yes, the traditionally American holiday has usually been all about the food, and with good reason. That first Thanksgiving story was one of survival, of overcoming unimaginable hardships, and of the generosity of the Native peoples toward the English settlers struggling through hideous drought and famine conditions. The concept of being grateful for all we have in our lives is born from this simple, shared meal dating from 1621.

Crafts can play a large role in reminding guests, whether in your home or at the local community center, that there is much to be thankful for. The oft-used Pilgrim motif has been supplanted by images of autumn, bounty, and contemplation. In large part, this is because of the wonderful technologies that now allow for professional-grade place cards, centerpieces, napkin rings, and printed materials like menus and even prayers.

Consider the frost of late-autumn in creating sparkling tablescapes for formal Thanksgiving meals. Crystalline glitter applied to arrangements of supermarket small pumpkins and gourds evoke thoughts of approaching winter, and pick up twinkling candlelight for a magical look. This frosty theme can be continued with large silk autumn leaves, hand-printed with names for seating, crystal beaded napkin rings around goldenrod or pumpkin colored linen napkins, as part of themed hand-stamped table linens with leaves and even the words “Give Thanks” imprinted in gold and silver ink. Those table linens, properly treated, can be used for every Thanksgiving and passed on from generation to generation, reminding families of wonderful holidays past as they make new memories to cherish.