I also wanted to create a design that was affordable and could easily be duplicated by YOU. This past week I offered some Thanksgiving Countdown Ideas (also here and here). I incorporated many of the suggestions from those post into the design and decoration of this Giving Thanks Party. Natural objects, such as pumpkins, pine cones, acorns, and leaves, were used throughout the decor. I transformed what is normally the kids' craft center into a dessert/party "buffet" so that everything was in one place and easily accessible. You can do the same by using a buffet table, bookcase, or a regular folding table that you already have in your home. Get creative!
When planning your party, you can save time by purchasing some pre-made dessert items (I bought these ready made leaf cookies and pumpkin cookie sandwiches from the Target bakery). You can inexpensively dress up brown favor bags by using mini wooden clothes pins and freshly fallen leaves from your yard. There are also many, many cute and FREE printable out there that you can use to add color and style to your party. I used a free printable mini banner from Paper & Pigtails and Kara's Party Ideas, here, to dress up my pumpkin and baskets.
To help recognize the importance of giving thanks and supporting others less fortunate than ourselves during the holiday season (and any time, for that matter), ask guests to bring canned goods to donate to a local food pantry. Provide craft paper, food labels, and string/ribbon for children to "wrap" their donations and write a message of hope or thanks to be sent with the items. Share a favorite Thanksgiving story, play games, and of course, include lots of yummy treats!