Creating a space where the children can hang out while the adults prep, serve and enjoy a shared meal is key to a less hectic day. Stock the table with crafting supplies like fall leaves and moss, washable markers and colored pencils. Be sure to choose items that need little oversight and won't cause damage without supervision. Kids can create place cards, napkin rings, gratitude lists and thank you notes. Even more fun are the leaf crowns and laurel wreathes to decorate and wear for the day.

"I love that these templates can be modified again and again," says Lilias & Olive founder JoBeth McElhanon. "And as much fun as I had putting this together, I wouldn't be surprised if you had a a hard time keeping the adults seated at their table."


Paper Project

For the hands-on projects, Lilias & Olive partnered with Emma Walker Creative who has recently launched Society of Creativity, a monthly service providing parents beautiful templates for unlimited imaginative art projects to do with their children. Her Thanksgiving collection includes place cards, napkin rings, thank you notes and adorable floral crowns. Visit EmmaWalkerCr.com/Thanksgiving for a free download of her Thanksgiving Hosting Kit. The nature crowns are included with a membership to the Society for Creativity ($5 per month).


The Lilias Collective

McElhanon and her childhood best friend recently launched a linens company (TheLiliasCollective.com) where they partner with a nonprofit in Dallas that provides refugee women with job skills in sewing.

"Using cloth napkins at the kids table not only provides a dash of style and helps the environment, they can also be a tool to teach young diners table etiquette," says McElhanon.


Make A Holiday Keepsake

Head to Painted Pig in The Heights with a little helper and create a holiday keepsake that's personalized. These can be individually made for each child to have at their place setting, or make a set of four (or more) with one child's handprint to use from year to year.

"We made this set of handprint turkey dishes in colors to complement our family's china," says McElhanon.


JoBeth McElhanon is owner of event consulting business Lilias and Olive, co-owner of Lilias Collective and mom to 3-year-old Harrison.


Leaves, stickers and art supplies are from Hobby Lobby. Paper chargers are from Amazon.