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7 Thanksgiving Tree Ideas and Decorations

Itching to bring out the Christmas tree? Ease into the season by starting with a Thanksgiving tree instead!

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Thanksgiving treeDNY59/Getty Images

What Is a Thanksgiving Tree?

A Thanksgiving tree is a Christmas tree decorated to celebrate autumn. Since Thanksgiving falls between scene-stealing holidays Halloween and Christmas, it’s often diminished in discussions of holiday decor. Another reason to give this trend a shot: Thanksgiving trees give you a head start on setting up your Christmas tree.

Whether you’re trying to correct past Thanksgiving decor neglect or sneak a little Christmas in before others in your household are ready (we won’t blow your cover!), take inspiration from the warm cozy glow of these fall-themed items.

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Thanksgiving Tableejs9/Getty Images

When to Put Up a Thanksgiving Tree

So when’s the “right” time to put up a Thanksgiving tree? Unless you don’t decorate for Halloween, you probably shouldn’t put it up in October.

Doing it the first week of November, however, allows you and your family to transition through the fall holidays. And if you’ve chosen a tree that takes time to assemble, you can slowly add to it each day or week.

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Thanksgiving garlandsolarisimages/Getty Images

Thanksgiving Tree Decorations

Fall-themed decorations are the order of the day. Garlands of leaves, gourds, plaid and flannel-patterned ornaments are all appropriate choices. You may also consider pheasant feathers or wheat to add in some more textures.

If you’ve got kids or you enjoy crafts, you can make your own, especially if you want to make gratitude a key feature.

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Thanksgiving WreathLaura Drago / EyeEm/Getty Images

Are Thanksgiving Trees the Same as Grateful Trees?

They can be, but don’t have to be. Grateful trees are a specific kind of Thanksgiving decor.

You start with a bunch of paper leaves, in different fall colors, and some pens. You, your family, friends and guests write down different things you’re grateful for, one on each leaf. This can be a month-long project or a Thanksgiving Day activity.

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We love the natural elements in this Thanksgiving tree by Holly at Home with Holliday. She combined faux oak leaves, various mini pumpkins, seed pods and juniper bush cuttings to give her slim tree texture and girth. The distinctive topper, made from curly branches and pheasant feathers, provides a beautiful finishing touch.

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Modern Thanksgiving Tree

Kara from A Kailo Chic Life created a wonderfully out-of-the-box tree without a gourd in sight.

Recreate her ultra-modern, cheerful look with an orange tree or another autumnal color. Then add faux flower stems in the color family of your choice. The real star is the folded cardstock “leaves.” To make them, cut colorful cardstock sheets into a leaf shape, then accordion fold each one.

Check out more detailed instructions at A Kailo Chic Life.

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Monochromatic Thanksgiving Tree

This monochromatic tree from @eringladding makes a big impact with minimal effort. Just decorate your flocked Christmas tree — we love this pre-lit seven-foot pine — with a Thanksgiving-themed banner, tuck some faux gourds at its foot and you’re good.

Make your banner with white cardstock and vinyl sticker letters, or order someone else’s handmade option from Etsy.

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Crafty Thanksgiving Tree

DIY Thanksgiving crafts are a great way to get into the fall spirit. The fall-themed wood ornaments on @heritagehillhomestead‘s tree work with the more traditional-autumn features such as faux fall leaves, stems and pumpkins. And white twinkle lights warm up dark November nights.

Achieve a similar look with these hand-painted scripted ornaments from Etsy, and by painting wood pumpkins with these pumpkin-shaped craft cutouts.

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Elegant Tradition

Start with a flocked tree and add beaded garland to recreate this stunning Thanksgiving tree from @sharee.designs. We love that the tree makes beautiful decor and is part of a family tradition. Sharee and her family write something they’re grateful for on a faux leaf and add it to the tree on each day of November.

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Amy of Savvy Saving Couple decorated her Thanksgiving tree with harvest ornaments, florals and rustic fall-themed accessories. We especially love the fall wreath as a creative tree topper. Amy advises fluffing the tree branches before decorating, then filling in bare spots with big floral stems or ornaments before moving on to the smaller decorations.

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Easy Thanksgiving Tree

Your Thanksgiving tree doesn’t need to be complicated or stuffed with ornaments to be beautiful. @angelabreed created this tree with fall leaf garland and shimmery deco mesh ribbon — that’s it! We love how the cozy glow of the lights shines through the different textures.