With Thanksgiving coming in just a couple days, we are in last minute prep mode around here! As much as I adore large, organized parties… sometimes it’s the little details that really take a gathering from everyday to amazing. During a busy week like this one, there isn’t enough time to do everything from scratch. That is why I love hints and tricks that give our gatherings those homemade touches that seem natural (and are super easy to achieve). This way, you can still have time to baste the turkey!

I am thrilled to be partnering with Marie Callender’s this season to share 4 Thanksgiving party tips to help with a your last minute touches.

Temporary table runner made from contact paper

One of the wonderful and crazy things about a Thanksgiving is the need for more surface space. No matter how big our table is we always need an extra one for seating, setting desserts, bar service etc. Normally I pull up our fold out tables and use a tablecloth which always ends up wrinkled and looking out of date. This year I decided to stick with the natural wood of our tables and just add a graphic detail with contact paper!

Forming a contact paper table runner is really easy and will make your party space stand out. The contact paper works just like a sticker so it is a completely temporary update and can be done in any shape, color, or pattern you choose.

Contact paper table runner

Contact paper table runner

DIY contact paper table runner

To make the contact paper table runner, start with a basic design (download our hexagon template right here). Purchase contact paper at your local big box store, or order it online right here. Working on the backside, trace out the template and cut. Remove the backing and place the decal stickers on whatever table you are using this year. The result is a festive, modern take on a traditional table runner.

Temporary table runner made from contact paper

Party tip: Make your pies chatty with chocolate letters!

Get your pies and your guests chatting with a sweet typography pie topper. The hardened chocolate letters are a great way to give thanks and celebrate! Make miniature pies as place cards, or big ones with notes of gratitude on the top. Adding elements like hardened chocolate letters make for a dessert that definitely has the homemade feel, no matter how you managed to get the pies done. Because we all need a little room for slack and whimsy this year.

Chocolate letter topped pie

pie for days...

DIY chocolate letters

DIY chocolate letter pie topper

To make the hard chocolate pie typography – start with a printed version of the text you’d like to use (download our examples right here). Lay the paper out on a baking sheet and layer wax paper on top. Heat up chocolate candy-melts per package directions and place into a fine tip plastic squeeze bottle. Trace the letters onto the wax paper and allow to fully dry.

Once the chocolate is dried simple remove the text and place on your desserts. The letters will keep in a plastic container for up to a week – so make them tonight and be ready to easily add your perfect final touch come Thursday.

Last minute party idea: Chocolate letter topped pies!

Party tip: Use old necklaces to top holiday pies.

Here is an amazing last minute way to make your table shimmer and shine! Use old costume jewelry, or grab a couple new chains (thift stores have a great selection) to adorn your napkins and your pies with bling! A little shimmer and a little shine can make a huge statement on a holiday dessert table.

Gem topped pies and napkin rings!

Party tip: Use old necklaces to make napkin rings!

Party tip: Use old necklaces to top holiday pies.

Jeweled napkin rings, made using old necklaces!

To make the jewel napkin rings you will need a couple costume jewelry necklaces. Using scissors or needle nose pliers when needed, remove the jewels from the necklaces and thread or glue onto a piece of thread. Combining different jewels and designs makes for a table setting that will really WOW your guests. If you’d prefer not to permanently damage the necklaces – you can simply wrap the entire necklace around the napkins, layering around and adjusting the gems as you go. Use glue dots to hold the gems in place temporarily. The look is so pretty and perfect for any holiday meal.

pie-jewel-square

Jewel topped holiday pie

The same concept works to gussy up holiday pies as well. Marie Callender’s pumpkin and pecan pies are so easy to make, they have a rich and traditional homemade taste, and with an added element like jeweled edges – no one will know your freshly baked pie was not started from scratch. Our little secret.

To adorn the pies, you will need to start by thoroughly washing the gems with soap and water and allow to fully dry. Layer the necklaces around the edges of the pies and build up with the gems for a dessert table that will not be ignored!

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters to top a pie!

This last party tip is a great way to top end of the night drinks, pies, or anything you might be baking. Using cookie cutters to make festive designs out of frozen whip cream will be the hit of the night. Any night you do it!

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters

Frozen whip cream cookie cut-outs

To make these whip cream cut-outs. We first covered a pan with a layer of parchment paper, then sprayed an entire can of Ready Whip into the pan. Smooth the top out with a spatula and let freeze fully overnight.

When drinks and dessert are ready to be served, simply pick out your favorite cookie cutters and push them into the frozen whip cream. Carefully push the molded whip cream out of the cookie cutter and place onto the treat. Pie with a side of adorable detailing is a fabulous way to end a Thanksgiving feast!

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters to top pies!

MC LogoYou don’t need the juggling skills of a big-top performer in order to host a successful holiday gathering. Careful planning, time management and an eye for adding quick and easy ‘homemade’ touches will make your gathering one for the memory books, while still having plenty of time to enjoy the company of your guests. This holiday season, let Marie Callender’s arm you with everything from decorating tips for the home, to pie-serving tricks from the kitchen. We’ll show you our secrets to getting the homemade goodness your guests crave while spending less time in the kitchen and more time with family. To discover more secrets worth savoring, check out Marie Callender’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MarieCallendersMeals?ref=br_tf

Compensation was provided by ConAgra. The opinions and ideas are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ConAgra. Thanks so much for supporting our sponsors!

(Photography © A Subtle Revelry by Jocelyn Noel).