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Craft a memorable Thanksgiving

November 19, 2018

Much about Thanksgiving centers around the dinner table. It’s where the turkey is carved, our thankful messages are shared, and unseemly amounts of whipped cream is topped onto pie.

So for this Thanksgiving we are going to create the perfect arrangement, or tablescape, in which to enjoy these moments at the Thanksgiving table. These are all activities that, with a little pre-planning, can be done while the turkey is in the oven on Thanksgiving day. The crafts also are child-friendly and will provide a nice distraction for little ones who are getting antsy during the part of the holiday that’s post-parade and pre-pie.

Oreo turkeys

It’s best to do this craft with plenty of lead time before your feast, just in case a cookie and candy corn or two is consumed during the making. Provided some survive, these Oreo turkeys will make a sweet addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Supplies:

Oreos (I recommend the Double-Stuffed variety): About $3 at the groceryCandy eyes: About $3 at the groceryTube of icing: About $3 at the groceryCandy corn: $3 for a tub at Big Lots!Thin pretzel sticks: About $3 at the grocery

First, gently unscrew the Oreo. Next press about five candy corns in an arc into the filling around the top of the cookie for the turkey feathers. Put a dab of icing in the center of the filling and replace the cookie top. Next, put two small dabs of icing on the cookie top to adhere the candy eyes and another dab for the nose, for which you’ll use an upside down candy corn. Lastly, take a pretzel stick and break it in half, then gently poke an end of each half into the filling, opposite the candy corn feathers, for the turkey’s legs.

My 7-year-old was able to make her turkeys completely unassisted and completed one in about 3 minutes, so it doesn’t take long. I found it helpful to store these in the refrigerator for about an hour so the icing can harden, before displaying the Oreo turkey in all its candy corn glory.

Dried citrus garland

This craft will take a little prep work, as your oven likely will be otherwise occupied on Thanksgiving day. Drying the fruit takes a while, but is hands-off and leaves your kitchen smelling wonderfully of citrus.

Supplies:

Lemons: About $3.50 for a 2-pound bag at the groceryLimes: 50 cents each at the groceryMandarin oranges (you can use other, larger oranges, however they will take longer to dry): About $5 for a 3-pound bagTwineLarge-eyed needleCinnamon sticks—$1 for pack of about 8 at Big Lots!

Start by cutting your citrus into 1/4 inch thick round slices and placing them on a cooling rack set atop a cookie sheet. I did two lemons, two limes and two oranges per batch, but you can vary the amount of fruit to suit your needs. It is important to bake the citrus on a cooling rack so the slices are dried evenly on top and bottom.

Place in a 250 degree oven for about two hours. The slices should come out mostly dry, but slightly sticky. If you have extra time, turn off your oven after the two hours and let the slices sit on the cooling rack overnight to ensure they are completely dried. Once the citrus is dried, cut about a yard of twine and knot a cinnamon stick on the end. Then thread a large-eyed needle (I used a plastic one, but metal would work fine) with the twine and string on slices of citrus. I tried to put the needle through the center of the slice when possible.

For our garland we tied a cinnamon stick after every three slices of dried fruit. Again, my 7-year-old was able to string the fruit by herself, though I helped with knotting the cinnamon sticks. Once completed the garland can hang vertically from a light fixture, horizontally under a mantel or simply be placed on the table in an artful way.

Thankful tree

It’s important to remember that Thanksgiving is not just about food, football and free time, but a chance to reflect upon the people and things for which we are thankful. This craft helps make that concept more tangible, plus it get the children outside looking for the perfect stick and some leaves to trace.

Supplies:

Stick(s)Simple glass vaseDried pinto beans (optional)Popcorn kernels (optional)Leaves to trace or leaf clip artFall leaf-colored card stockHole punchThread, string or twine

For this craft you’ll need to find a stick with several arms or small branches from which you can hang multiple leaves cut out of card stock. The stick doesn’t need to be tall, just kind of interesting. If the perfect stick can’t be found, several sticks will work, too. While the children are outside stick-hunting, have them also gather a few different leaves to trace. If your yard is treeless or well-raked, print out a picture of an oak, maple and birch leaf that the kids can cut out and trace onto autumn-colored card stock. Once the card stock leaves are cut, have the children write things for which they are thankful, such as family, their Nintendo Switch, or in my family’s case, dragons and trees. Punch a hole near the stem and feed a piece of thread through and make a knot. Then hang it on the branch, so the branch appears to be a tree with leaves hanging off. I wanted to use this craft as my Thanksgiving centerpiece, so I set the stick in a vase filled with alternating layers of dried pinto beans and popcorn kernels for extra color.

Arrange your garland around the vase and place an Oreo turkey on each plate and your Thanksgiving table is set for a memorable holiday.

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