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17 Thanksgiving Crafts Ideas You Need To Try This Year

17 Thanksgiving Crafts Ideas You Need To Try This Year

Thanksgiving is a really homely kind of holiday, and it’s a great time to craft things for your home—whether they be table arrangements for your family dinner, or other decorations. Try these great Thanksgiving crafts to bring a little extra festive spirit to your home.

1. Bring Nature into Your Centerpiece

Celebrate the bounty of fall with a simple centerpiece straight from nature. Grab a basket or a platter and collect pine cones, acorns, chestnuts and fallen leaves. Or if you prefer to go the store-bought route, look for Indian corn and small pumpkins and gourds. Mound them up on the table for a reminder of the natural beauty we ought to be thankful for.

2. Thankful Placemats

It may be the easiest Thanksgiving craft around, but it’s also meaningful. Get some butcher paper or brown paper and cut out placemat-sized rectangles (at least 12 by 18 inches). Write “I’m thankful for” at the top of one side with a marker. You can make a numbered list or draw lines for your guests to write on. Leave a pen at each place setting, give people time to write and share your answers at the end of the meal.

3. Easy Napkin Rings

There are tons of crafty ways to jazz up your napkin presentation, whether you have store-bought napkin rings or craft your own. The easiest way to make a napkin ring is with a cut-down section of paper towel tube. Paint it whatever color you like, then you can add patterns, glue on little purchased autumn decorations, cut shapes out of felt and glue them on, print out tiny pictures of things you’re thankful for and glue them to the rings … the choices are nearly endless!

Or you can just glue burlap, pretty ribbon or fabric onto the tube and have simple, elegant napkin rings in no time at all.

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4. Turn Your Napkin into a Turkey

There are all sorts of fun napkin folds you can bring out for Thanksgiving, but this turkey fold (which is an accordion fold with a little twist) is really cute when you add a gourd to the plate to be the turkey’s body.

5. Crafty Seating Cards

Most of the time life is not so formal that you need place cards, and Thanksgiving probably need not be that formal, either, but these little cards directing people to their seats are another fun and easy way to get crafty. Many of the ideas for napkin rings can also be used on place cards, such as gluing on little shapes. You could also use fall-themed stickers or stamps for an easy way to decorate cards that the kids can help with, too.

6. Burlap Utensil Holder

Keep your forks, knives and spoons corralled in a pretty way on the plate by making little pouches out of burlap or another pretty fabric. Just cut a piece about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide, then fold in half lengthwise. Sew or use fabric glue to make into a pouch. Embellish with ribbon or other decorations as you like.

When getting ready for the meal, slip all the utensils in the pouch and place it on top of the plate.

7. Stamping Fabric

Add a little more personality to your napkins or table runner by printing on them with fall shapes. Use leaves, a cut apple or even shapes cut out of a potato or sponge as your stamps, and use fall-colored acrylic paint (let dry overnight then run in a hot dryer for 30 minutes) or fabric paint (follow manufacturer’s suggestions for heat-setting) to make your marks.

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8. A Yarn-Wrapped Wreath

sweater wreath lizzy ford

    There are a lot of different ways to decorate with wreaths for the fall, but there’s just something really cozy—and easy—about yarn. Use a foam ring from the floral department and wrap it tightly with yarn in whatever colors you would like. Use a little bit of glue every now and then as you work around to help keep the yarn secure.

    An even easier alternative is to cut a circular wreath form, cut the sleeves off a knit sweater and slip the sleeves onto the ring. Glue the ends down and wrap any remaining exposed wreath with a contrasting yarn. (Here are instructions for the wreath shown by Lizzy Ford.)

    You can also add a bow (or yarn pom poms) or any other decorations you might like to the wreath.

    9. Festive Luminaries

    Lining the walk with luminaries builds anticipation if you’re having Thanksgiving dinner in the evening. It’s really easy to jazz up a plain brown paper lunch sack by cutting out a bit and covering up the hole with a piece or pieces of tissue paper.

    Keep it simple by cutting out leaf shapes and covering them with fall colors, or check out this tutorial from Family Fun magazine that turns a cut out circle into a colorful turkey.

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    10. Make a Leaf Swag

    Use real leaves—which you can preserve with a clear sealant—or cut leaves out of card stock, construction paper, felt, fabric or old book pages. Tie or glue them at intervals to fishing line, yarn or ribbon. Drape over the fireplace, hang from the ceiling or from light fixtures, or put anywhere else you want to add some fall flair.

    11. Apple or Pumpkin Candles

    It’s easy to make an apple or a pumpkin into a candle. Just cut off the top and hollow out a portion big enough for a tea light to fit in.

    If necessary, cut the bottom of the apple or pumpkin to ensure that it will sit straight before you light the candle. These are cute as a centerpiece, or put one at each place setting.

    12. Fall Fabric Bunting

    Cut pieces of fall-colored felt or fabric into triangles. Use stitching or fabric glue to attach them to ribbon (I love to use folded bias tape for buntings, because you can hide the raw edge inside the fold). Add the word “thankful” to the triangles, if you like, for extra cuteness and holiday charm.

    13. Mason Jar Decor

    Nothing says homey like decorating with Mason jars. Add a bit of burlap, ribbon and little acorns to make a perfect candle holder or a place to keep utensils if you’re doing a buffet.

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    You can also paint the jars to go with your decor, or use decoupage medium to stick tissue paper to the glass for a stained-glass effect (that one’s fun for the kids, too).

    14. Indian Corn Swag

    Tie a few pieces of Indian corn together with twine and you’ve got a really simple piece to hang on the door or place on the mantel that will bring a bit of Thanksgiving and fall flair with no fuss.

    15. Goofy Gourds

    If you’ve got kids in the house for Thanksgiving, or even if you don’t, buy some little pumpkins and gourds to decorate in silly ways. Have googly eyes, pipe cleaners, feather and leaf shapes and whatever else you’d like on hand, as well as some glue, and let people go to town making their own crazy creatures. You could even have a competition to see whose creation is the kookiest.

    16. Nutter Butter Turkeys

    nutter butter turkeys

      Did you know a Nutter Butter looks just like the body of a turkey? I didn’t either until I saw this awesome tutorial from Mommy Savers. Grab some cookies, candy corn and a few other supplies for tasty turkeys everyone will love.

      17. Handprint Turkeys, of Course!

      Regardless of whether you’re having kids at your holiday table, busting out some construction paper and markers to make handprint turkeys in something everyone can get into. Again, have a contest for the goofiest gobbler or hang a wire over the fireplace and let guests display theirs while others guess which turkey belongs to which artist.

      Don’t miss Lifehack’s Guide to Gratitude as you plan your Thanksgiving holiday events.

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      Sarah White

      Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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      Published on November 14, 2018

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

      Symptoms of Fatigue

      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
      • mental blocks
      • lack of motivation
      • headache
      • dizziness
      • muscle weakness
      • slowed reflexes and responses
      • impaired decision-making and judgement
      • moodiness, such as irritability
      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
      • reduced immune system function
      • blurry vision
      • short-term memory problems
      • poor concentration
      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

      Causes of Fatigue

      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

      Medical Causes of Fatigue

      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

      Anemia

      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

      Diabetes

      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

      Sleep Apnea

      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

      Thyroid disease

      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

      • Lack of sleep
      • Too much sleep 
      • Alcohol and drugs 
      • Sleep disturbances 
      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
      • Poor diet 

      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

      1. Tell The Truth

      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

      • How you feel
      • What time of day it is
      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
      • How your mind and body reacts

      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

      2. Reduce Your Commitments

      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

      4. Express More Gratitude

      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

      5. Focus On Yourself

      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

      7. Take a Power Nap

      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

      8. Take More Exercise

      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

      9. Get More Quality Sleep

      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

      10. Improve Your Diet

      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

      12. Get Hydrated

      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

      The Bottom Line

      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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