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Thanksgiving crafts, decorations and cards - with the look of vintage Americana

Thanksgiving scrap photoThanksgiving crafts are all about hospitality: Welcoming decorations for the front door, for the walls and windows, and especially for the table. Oh, and turkeys, turkeys, turkeys.

The American Victorians loved Thanksgiving. It became a big 19-century cause, with Sarah Hale (the Victorian Martha Stewart) waging a 36-year campaign to establish a national Thanksgiving holiday. That's why vintage images and clip art from the period strike such a nostalgic tone for us today.

Popular Thanksgiving crafts then as now include door decorations, like wreaths, sprays and swags. Winter greenery, dried vines, dried herbs and flowers, Indian corn and fruit are favorite materials - and turkeys are always appropriate.

Inside, fresh and dried greenery adds harvest atmosphere and scent. Pumpkins are very appropriate to the holiday, along with fresh or dried gourds and flowers. Decorative images of Pilgrims and depictions of the first Thanksgiving are good craft subjects. Oh, and turkeys.

The main focus, of course, is the Thanksgiving table. Handmade place cards, napkin rings, personalized linens, and favors are always a sign of hospitality. The table centerpiece can range from seasonal flowers, like chrysanthemums, to holiday harvest symbols like a cornucopia brimming with miniature pumpkins, gourds, fruits and vegetables. The colors of autumn prevail, with pine cones and dark, spicy candles. Or a turkey will work.

Joann.comHowever your creativity is expressed, Thanksgiving crafts focus on the beauty and bounty of the season. Making decorative crafts is a wonderful way to make your day with family and friends that much more special.

As always, if you need anything for your crafts, Joann.com is online with fast delivery, and only a click away.

Thanksgiving Crafts

Thanksgiving place cards craft Thanksgiving Place Cards are a snap with our FREE vintage images and template. Just print and cut them out, fold, and write your guest's name at the bottom. We have two images with a boy and girl riding bronco on turkeys!
Thanksgiving tie craft photo Make a Thanksgiving Tie for your favorite turkey-carver! The three vintage images trace the evolution of the turkey, from "doing well" to "well-done." This is the easiest of Thanksgiving crafts, using a cheap tie and an iron on transfer sheet.
Thanksgiving quilt craft photo This Thanksgiving Quilt decoration has all the plush charm of a primitive quilt - but almost none of the sewing. At the center is a vintage image of a charming Victorian Pilgrim, printed on fabric. And around him - a simple cross stitch design that will delight your guests!
Accent blocks photo Thanksgiving Napkin Rings are probably the easiest, and classiest craft we have come up with so far. Paper, scissors, and glue are the prime ingredients, plus one of the classic vintage images we provide - a proud turkey or a thankful child at the Thanksgiving table.

The Many Symbols of Thanksgiving

Although research has documented earlier community celebrations in gratitude for good harvests or deliverance from hardships, history recognizes the first American Thanksgiving as the three-day feast in October, 1621, at the Pilgrim colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims, led by Governor William Bradford, invited the chief of the native Wampanoag Indians, Massasoit, and his tribesmen to join the fifty colonists who had survived the harsh winter. The menu came from what was on hand, including wild turkeys, duck, geese, venison, seal, lobsters, clams, bass, corn, green vegetables, and dried fruits.

Over the next century, various days of thanksgiving were celebrated in autumn throughout the thirteen colonies. It wasn't until 1789 that George Washington declared a national holiday, although it was not established annually. It took a 36-year, personal campaign by Sarah Hale, the editor of Ladies Magazine and Goday's Lady's Book, to raise public and political interest that resulted in Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation establishing the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving. This proclamation was repeated each year by successive presidents until 1939, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved it to the next-to-last Thursday of November - essentially to lengthen the Christmas shopping season by a week. As had been true since 1789, the holiday only applied to the District of Columbia and federal employees, and many states continued to celebrate Thanksgiving on different days. In 1941 Congress passed a joint resolution decreeing Thanksgiving an annual national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.

The symbols of Thanksgiving are the images of prosperity, Pilgrims, harvest and food - usually a turkey. In 1856, the publishing of a 1650 manuscript by the Pilgrim governor, William Bradford, captured the Victorian imagination about the first Thanksgiving. His description of the Pilgrim fortitude and survival, the assistance of the Native Americans, and the primitive feast, resulted in romanticized illustrations and depictions that stay with us today. Also associated with the holiday is the horn-shaped cornucopia, a magical symbol of fertility and abundance from Greek mythology. Add in pumpkins and the fruit of the fields, and you have the makings of Thanksgiving.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving craft? We would appreciate hearing from you with ideas, comments or questions. Please, contact us with a note!

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