Need a quick centerpiece? Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers and a few bags of fresh cranberries, and you'll have a beautiful, florist-grade...

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Need a quick centerpiece? Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers and a few bags of fresh cranberries, and you’ll have a beautiful, florist-grade centerpiece in minutes. For a more traditional centerpiece, use a rustic bouquet of fall colors, and for more contemporary flair, choose a tight bouquet of white flowers.

Cranberry flower arrangement

1 clear glass vase or pitcher

1 to 2 12-ounce bags fresh cranberries (depending on size of vase)


1 bouquet of fresh flowers (white ranunculus)

Add 1 or 2 bags of fresh cranberries (depending on the size of the vase) and enough water to fill vase three-fourths full. Cut the ends off the fresh flowers at a 45-degree angle. Add cut flowers to vase, arranging as needed.

Replace water as needed, and discard berries when they become soft, which can range from a few days to about a week.

Source: Ocean Spray Cranberries

Harvest centerpiece

Sprays of dried wheat and grasses, arranged in simple terra-cotta flowerpots, are an attractive seasonal decoration that can be clustered together on the table or used to dress up the buffet.

• Gather a variety of dried wheat and other decorative plants and grasses, such as rice stalks and lavender (available at floral-supply stores), and a pair of garden shears.

• Fill terra-cotta pots of varying sizes with floral foam, trimming foam for a snug fit.

Starting at the center, insert one stalk at a time in the foam.

• Add more stalks, working your way out from the center in a circular pattern, until you have achieved a pleasing symmetry and fullness.

Source: “Thanksgiving Entertaining,” Williams-Sonoma ($24.95, Free Press)

Heirloom recipe

place markers

A treasured recipe tied with a satin ribbon makes an elegant place marker for your guests to take home. Use a recipe from your Thanksgiving menu, or choose a regional specialty or family favorite.

• Type your recipe in a classic typeface on the computer, and print one copy for each guest on heavy, cream-colored paper.

• Roll up each recipe with the printed side facing out. Tie a length of ribbon around each recipe, and trim the ribbon.

If you like, attach a tag with each guest’s name to a ribbon, or write it directly on the recipe. Lay a rolled recipe across each place setting.

Source: “Thanksgiving Entertaining,” Williams-Sonoma ($24.95, Free Press)