3 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Placeholders

3 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Placeholders

Delight friends and family with 3 easy-to-make placeholders that add some pop to your table.

By: Debra Steilen

1. Rosemary Wreath Placeholder
Display this miniature wreath atop a plain linen napkin or Bounty Quilted napkin for a rustic yet elegant presentation.

Rosemary sprigs (8 inches long or longer)
Bounty paper towels
Floral wire: green or silver
Twine: white or natural
Heavy paper or cardstock: white or cream
Computer and printer (optional)
Calligraphy pen (optional)
Paper cutter (optional)
Crafts knife (optional)
Straight edge (optional)


  1. Soak rosemary sprigs in water long enough to make them flexible. Blot them dry with a paper towel, then cut them into 8-inch lengths with scissors. (Shorter lengths will work, but you'll need to adjust the size of the nametags to suit the smaller wreathes that result)
  2. Gently form one of the sprigs into a circle, overlapping the edges slightly. Wind a short piece of floral wire around the overlapped edges to secure the shape
  3. Using the scissors, cut a 10-inch-long piece of twine. Cover the wired section of the wreath by wrapping the twine around the floral wire two or three times. Tie a knot, then tie the twine in a bow. Snip off excess twine
  4. Using the photograph as a guide, create a place card to go with each wreath. Either use a computer to create a word document of names or hand-letter the names on heavy paper or cardstock. Leave enough room around each name to center it within a 3 1/2-by-1/2-inch rectangle
  5. Create a place card banner template by cutting a 3 5/8-by-5/8-inch rectangle out of heavy paper or cardstock. Snip the edges into a “v” shape. Use the template to trace a banner shape around every name. Cut out the place card banners, then curl them around a pencil or marker to add some shape
  6. When setting your holiday table, put the wreath on top of a folded napkin and lay the place card banner across the center of the wreath

Tip: For Thanksgiving Recipes, checkout Bounty tips and articles: Thanksgiving Recipes.

2. Mini Pumpkin Placeholders
Celebrate the season’s bounty by creating pretty placeholders from miniature pumpkins.

Miniature pumpkins with stems (one per placeholder)
Heavy paper: white or cream (optional)
Vintage book pages (optional)
Leaf template (maple leaf, oak leaf or simple curved leaf)*
Fine-point permanent marker: black
Small hole punch
Twine: white or natural

*Tip: Create a simple leaf template by folding a piece of paper in half, then cutting a gentle curve that begins and ends on the folded side. 


  1. Wash and dry the miniature pumpkins, taking care to keep the stems attached
  2. Using your chosen leaf template(s) and a pencil, trace leaves onto white or cream-color paper or pages from a vintage book. Using scissors, cut out one leaf per placeholder
  3. Using a fine-point permanent marker, print or write each guest’s name on a leaf; the leaves will be used as place cards. Punch a small hole near the stem end of the leaf
  4. Attach a leaf place card to the stem of each pumpkin using a small piece of twine

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Tip: Can’t find miniature pumpkins? Use other stemmed fall produce such as pears, apples or gourds.

Tip: Make extra placeholders to use on the buffet table to identify special dishes (e.g. Grandma’s Cranberry Salad).

3. Cinnamon-Scented Placeholder
Add color and fragrance to your holiday table by creating placeholders from cinnamon sticks.

Cinnamon sticks: 7 per placeholder
Rubber bands
Raffia, jute or twine
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Heavy paper or card stock: white or cream
Fine-point permanent marker: black


  1. Count out 7 cinnamon sticks that are approximately the same length. Gather them into a bundle, then use a rubber band to hold the sticks in place
  2. Dab hot glue on the bottom of the cinnamon-stick bundle, near one end. Attach the end of a length of raffia. Wrap the raffia around the end of the bundle several times, cut off the excess and hot glue the end beneath the bundle. Repeat steps near the other end of the bundle; leave enough room between the wrapped pieces of raffia to insert a place card. Remove the rubber band
  3. Using scissors or a crafts knife and straight edge, cut out rectangles of paper that are just the right size to fit between the two raffia-wrapped sections of each bundle. Write the guests’ names on the rectangles to create place cards

Tip: If you want to use patterned scrapbook paper for the place cards, choose a subtle pattern so guests' names are legible.

  1. Insert one place card between the cinnamon sticks nearest the top of each bundle

Do you have a place card that’s easy to make last minute? Share the instructions in the comments below!

Debra is a Midwest-based expert on crafting, home design (especially kitchens, baths and storage) and holidays. She spends her free time renovating and decorating her 1909 Craftsman home — and wrangling her two Golden Retrievers.

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