Hobbies: Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater

Sandi Genovese
Tribune News Service

Is it cheating if the pumpkins you bring to a Thanksgiving dinner are made of paper? Well, if you are traveling by plane to your holiday destination, this may be your best option.

If you are flying home for a family celebration, or if you just want to change it up a little this Thanksgiving, try bringing handmade paper goods to your dinner. Yes, you can probably find a box of chocolates or nuts to bring, but why not put all of the effort you would have put into baking a pumpkin pie, making a pumpkin centerpiece or pumpkin place cards, or even pumpkin glasses fashioned into a photo prop for a quick and easy turkey day activity? Whether you are traveling across the street or across the country, paper decor can be embellished at home and will easily lay flat to fit in a suitcase to be assembled once you get there.

If you decide to go the paper route, check out a few of my favorite paper goods:

3-D Pumpkins: Cut out six or seven pumpkins from orange paper, fold them in half (all in one stack) and staple in the fold line. Fan out all of the paper layers and add a leaf to the stem with the name of each guest for a personalized place card at each place setting.

3-D Pie Centerpiece: Cut triangle-shaped boxes and decorate them to resemble all different varieties of pie. I made these last year for my Thanksgiving and everyone wrote one thing they were thankful for about each person. The papers went into the pie slice for each guest and were read as we went around the table. Some were comical, some were heartfelt, and it was one activity that all ages could enjoy together. I don’t know about anyone else, but I still have mine and when I want a little pick-me-up, I open the box and re-read the notes.

Thanksgiving-Themed Photo Props: One sure way to lure guests away from the TV and out of the kitchen is to give them photo props to hold for a series of group and individual photographs that will help you all remember this special day.

Thanks for the Invite Magnet: Purchase a box of business card-sized, self-adhesive magnets (available at office supply stores) and decorate one with themed stickers and a handwritten thank you. The trick is to leave the magnet on the fridge as you are leaving so your hosts will find it later. The surprise is half the fun of it.

This year, instead of carving the pumpkin, switch out the knife for a pair of scissors and try your hand at a few paper pumpkin projects.

Contact Sandi Genovese and find free video demonstrations of more photo projects at sandigenovese.com.