Yesterday I had a brilliant idea.

The Thanksgiving centerpiece to end all Thanksgiving centerpieces.

I was going to create a giant burlap cornucopia out of paper mache and toothpicks and determination.  I admit that the construction details were a little fuzzy.  No worries.  I was going to go all Tim Gunn and make it work.

And that’s not even the brilliant part.

I was going to place it on a linen runner and have pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and textures spilling out in every direction.  Gray pumpkins and white pumpkins and green pumpkins.  Pumpkins with stripes.  Pumpkins with warts. Pumpkins that look like they just left a night club and were still ready to party.

Can you see it?

Are you with me?

thanksgiving centerpiece kitchen

And so it was on a blustery, rainy, overcast cloudy day, I embarked over hill and over dale on a quest for pumpkins.

I went to the farmer’s market.

No luck.

There were only two lone orange pumpkins left that looked like someone should have blessed their hearts.

centerpiece ideas

I went to store after store and garden center after garden center only to walk away empty handed.

No pumpkins.



They had all left the building and been replaced by Christmas trees.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece idea

At my last stop, I waded through the reindeer and smiling santas and twinkling lights and flocked evergreens only to find four lumpy, bumpy grapevine pumpkins on clearance.

My shoulders slumped and released a sigh along with my dreams of a giant over-sized cornucopia filled with pumpkin perfection.

Dejectedly I turned to leave.

And that’s when brilliant idea number two struck me.

(total aside:  I know you might find this almost impossible to believe, but occasionally I have multiple brilliant ideas within a 24 hour period)

centerpiece kitchen Thanksgiving

The produce aisle.

I mean…weren’t people cooking for Thanksgiving?  Shouldn’t it be fully stocked this time of year?  Shouldn’t there be gourds and pumpkins and squash and a treasure trove of decorating possibilities.


I filled my cart with artichokes and cabbage and squash and apples and gourds and headed home to the kitchen table.

thanksgiving centerpiece

I shopped the house and found two chalkboards and used them as a runner.  Then I hollowed out the center of the cabbage and used it as vase and filled it with leaves from the yard.  I added toothpicks to the base of the cabbage to make sure it was secure.  Then I just filled in the spaces with that wonderful, incredible produce aisle.  I added apples and artichokes and gourds and leaves and more leaves.



Not quite as exciting as the visions and dreams and hopes and plans for the giant burlap cornucopia.

But just as pretty.

PS  Next year I’m shopping for pumpkins like everyone else…..

….in July. 🙂

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  1. Image for Barbara Bussey Barbara Bussey

    Just perfect! If I see one more pumpkin....This is a much more contemporary centerpiece that will take you beyond Thanksgiving. Love it!

  2. Image for Velia Velia

    I think the centerpiece is lovely, it has vibrant color and textures. Additionally, you can repurpose the items. Have a most blessed Thanksgiving.

  3. Image for Leila Jane Leila Jane

    I love the simplicity of this colorful and natural display of real fruit and vegetables. It looks especially vibrant in the middle of your table with the surrounding white and beige decor. I would love to do something similar ~ the only problem is I live in central Florida where the weather is still hot and humid ~ and I'm afraid all of those vegetables would get soft and mushy within just a few days, LOL! I wonder if I sprayed them with a clear acrylic if they would last a bit longer ~ and then just not eat them, of course!! Either way, thanks KariAnne, for the lovely, inexpensive idea for a natural centerpiece. I love how sometimes one idea morphs into another out of necessity but ends up being just as beautiful and brilliant!

  4. Image for mary beth mary beth

    You are brilliant! Every Christmas two minutes before guests arrive, I have the kids run out to cut branches and find pine cones and grab some candles to create centerpieces. Every year! I think I'm a procrastinator and cheap, how brilliant is that? Now I know I can grab things out of the fridge too :)

  5. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    Right? There were tons of unsold pumpkins at the stores, even on Halloween. Tons. Where are they now? In the landfill most likely, which makes me sad. You can find plenty of squash and gourds, but the pumpkins took a quick flight to "see ya later" land. lol. It's sad really, I like to enjoy a season like fall but when they put out Christmas decorations across from Halloween candy, it's just silly. #drop microphone. ;)

  6. Image for Betsy Betsy

    I have a question......when I purchase the November issue of different home decor magazines they feature pumpkins on the table settings, on porches, in kitchens etc. So why is it that you can"t find a pumpkin once November 1 comes around? You are right Kari Anne, the day after Halloween it's Christmas. Even without the pumpkins your table looks amazing.

  7. Image for Rowena Philbeck Rowena Philbeck

    BEAUTIFUL!! I too miss the pumpkins or at least the baking ones. Hope they come back some for Thanksgiving. I would like to make dehydrated pumpkin powder. Great for breads, pies etc. I do love the small ones in arrangements too.

  8. Image for Peggy Peggy

    All I have to say besides brilliant idea is that you have one great produce section in your store. I dream of finding produce like that. I am having gourd envy! Who needs pumpkins?

  9. Image for Nancy @ Slightly Coastal Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    I love fresh, simple, and natural decorating. No one can beat the textures and colors found in nature. Beautiful! I love that you see the possibilities in everything...truly the sign of a creative mind.

  10. Image for Sheila Sheila

    Looks great! After all, Thanksgiving is a celebration and thanks for the harvest! For the abundance of plenty (to eat.) I like simple table settings for fall. This works. Sheila

  11. Image for Susan Susan

    Isn't it ridiculous that they start pushing all of the Christmas stuff before Halloween and Thanksgiving are even over? But you know what...I would consider this a "happy accident" because your Thanksgiving centerpiece is absolutely gorgeous! I would've never thought about using something like artichokes, but I love the texture they give...this was an act of absolute genius, on your part! And, btw, I have no doubt that you have gazillions of brilliant ideas in a 24-hour period...we see that every day on your blog! Wishing you and yours a most beautiful and blissful Thanksgiving...may your blessings be bountiful and your joy be infinite!

  12. Image for cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life...

    Oh I have missed your beautiful posts filled with wonderful ideas and charming repartee !… my life has just gotten in the way of my Karianne time lately! I love the idea of a natural harvest bounty for Thanksgiving styling. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!!

  13. Image for Marie at The Interior Frugalista Marie at The Interior Frugalista

    You had me at "Pumpkins that look like they just left a night club and were still ready to party"...still chuckling over that one KariAnne. Then you had me again at the clever idea of hollowing out the cabbage and filling it with Fall leaves - how fabulous is that!!! Like you proved, who needs a darn pumpkin anyway.

  14. Image for Sarah Sarah

    Your centerpiece turned out beautifully. I do hope the world starts to slow down on its rush to the Christmas festivities soon - I see the start of it in Nordstrom and REI this year. I ran into a similar problem a few years ago. I'm lucky enough to have the land and space to grow my own pumpkins and gourds now, which means my garden gets bigger and bigger each year. Next year I'm attempting sugar pumpkins to make my own pureed pumpkin.

  15. Image for Trina Trina

    I hope you don't mind, but I love, love, loved this story... So much so that I am going to use it with my 4th graders during writing time tomorrow. You see I have been trying to get them to add interesting details to their writing. I've been trying to get them to say more. I have been trying to get them to put spaces in between their paragraphs. But it just isn't getting through. This is truly no different than any other year, I mean they are only 9. But now I have an interesting piece of writing with beautiful pictures that I think they would enjoy. So I hope you wouldn't mind if I shared this with my students. Maybe then they will try to make their writing something that others will love, love, love to read too! Xoxo, Trina

  16. Image for Kris Kris

    So I'm NOT weird or crazy when I put squash on my front porch to decorate it? ;) Sadly, my hubby won't let me do it now--something about "freezing night temperatures will ruin them". He clearly doesn't understand the need to have festive seasonal decorations. Good thing he's a great husband and dad ....

  17. Image for Jane Jane

    Awww...this is so sweet. We can find inspiration in the most unlikely places. This is so pretty and I love the chalkboard runner. Now I have to get working on something!! :) Jane x

  18. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    What didn't you call me?????? I would have told you to get your sweet behind to the local grocery store! And when all else fails get faux pumpkins but I really thing your centerpiece looks so much nicer than with the pumpkins and hey! I think cabbage should get a chance to be center stage. It's like the cabbage has been waiting all of his poor life to take over the star. Now, he's been rehearsing and rehearsing forever and this is it -- this is his chance to shine. Ta dah! And there he is with colorful leaves on his head a la Carmen Miranda. I can hear the music now and see the cabbage doing a little samba on the chalk board. Pure genius! Big Hugs!! (Next time call!)

  19. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Love your story, and love how the centerpiece turned out....beautiful!!! I also love that you used the chalkboards as the base... Have a happy weekend! Lanita

  20. Image for Carol Carol

    Oh, Karianne, You never fail to make me smile. You are a wonderful writer in addition to your myriad of other talents. The colors of the centerpiece are sensual & luscious. May I copy? How true about the availability of materials during the season they are needed for. Last year I began looking for T'day decor the day after Halloween. Wrong! It was all Christmas. So, this year I began looking for them right after the back to school sales. Sigh. My brilliant young adult daughter makes all her holiday purchases after the season when they are on sale. She packs them away & when she pulls them out the next year, they are brand new. And she saved tons of money; always in short supply for one just starting out. Enjoy your weekend.

  21. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    KarieAnne, You are always good for a chuckle, and I love the centerpiece even without the giant cornucopia! It's fun, fresh, festive, and fall-ish!!

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