Wow Your Thanksgiving Guests with Creative Decor

Mary Mazzeffi loves the holidays. Every year, she shares creative ideas to put some flair into your holiday decor.

Last week, Chicago native Mary Lalagos Mazzeffi, pro accessories specialist and floral designer extraordinaire, led a workshop on holiday decor at Toms-Price furniture store in Wheaton, IL. In two sold-out workshops, Mary showed guests how to add some sparkle and creativity to their holidays — and it’s easier than you think to do.


Mary Mazzeffi

Mary Mazzeffi has more than 30 years experience in the floral industry, and her magnificent designs have graced countless weddings, corporate events, and fundraisers. Mary is skilled in working with fresh flowers and plants, as well as silks. She is a sought-after Christmas decor specialist, decorating some of the Chicago area’s most beautiful homes. She channeled her creativity into merchandising, and accessorizing, conceiving gorgeous displays for several stores, including Toms-Price and Nona Jo’s. She’s been conducting holiday demos for many years.


Holiday Decor 2015

Mary Mazzeffi presented ideas on how to achieve an abundant holiday display, and how to transform your dining room (and home) into one glistening with holiday charm and sparkle. She showed us some tips and tricks for both Thanksgiving and Christmas decor, that with some planning and preparation are pretty easy to create and set up — that achieve maximum effect.


Fun and festive Thanksgiving decor 

Mary presented some fun ideas for the Thanksgiving table. Right before our eyes, she created a beautiful “rustic meets chic” tablescape, utilizing driftwood and honeysuckle, plus using burlap and deerskin panels instead of a traditional tablecloth. She discussed the importance of using items of different heights to bring the eyes up and around the room, and the use different textures to create depth. She also reminded us the importance of scent, as well as sight. Mary ads lots of candles (she uses the battery-operated ones, because it’s one less thing to worry about, but it’s your table, your preference). She uses items like sprigs of rosemary for scent, and seasonal elements to make it festive.


How’s this for something different?



mary 3
Love, love, love the pumpkin and feathers! Mary filled in the table using mini pumpkins; gourds of different colors, sizes, and shapes; and an artichoke as a candleholder, to add interest and dimension to the table.


Some other tips:

  • Decorate outside too. It’s a preview of what people will see inside your home.
  • Don’t forget the chandelier. Bring the entire room together by bringing elements from the table and around the room, like bows, and festive garland.
  • Add a little pizzazz to your china cabinet. Place some some garland, pumpkins and gourds on top, as well as inside. Bring those harvest colors indoors.
  • Create a display on your buffet. Use pumpkins, sliced logs — use your imagination.
  • Plan ahead. Make a list, be organized and prepare some items in advance, then assemble everything the night before.



A cool idea for a place setting, utilizing a slice log as a charger, a festive paper napkin to spice up your china, and a cute place card.

More festive and innovative ideas

Here are some really fun, creative ideas Mary presented this year:

  • Use a hollowed out pumpkin as an ice bucket.
  • Carve a pattern into a pumpkin, put a battery-operated timeless candle (runs on a timer) inside, and fill with feathers, This cool idea makes a great conversation piece! (see photo at top)
  • Use log slices as chargers.
  • Hollow small pumpkins, a pear or apple, fill with water, and add a fall flower. Add a pick with a little sign as a place card.
  • Use your regular china, but find some fun holiday themed paper napkins to give it a fall look.
  • Hollow out an artichoke and put a timeless candle inside. Put several on the table.
  • Tie a now around your captain’s chairs with ribbon or burlap, and add elements used around the room.

Mary recommends that if you prepare any florals and carved pumpkins a few days in advance, keep them in the garage to keep them fresh until the big day.


Don't forget the outside! Mary stacked pumpkins and gourds, and used other materials like sticks, pine cones and grave vine coil, burlap, red cabbage heads, greens, and even kale (we hear squirrels HATE kale!) to create this super fun planter display.
Don’t forget the outside! Mary stacked pumpkins and gourds, and used other materials like sticks, pine cones and grave vine coil, burlap, red cabbage heads, greens, and even kale (we hear squirrels HATE kale!) to create this super fun planter display.

Christmas Specialist

Christmas is definitely Mary Mazzeffi’s favorite holiday, and she shared some incredible ideas. You’ll have to wait until later this month when our Holidays 2015 section is live! One holiday at a time!


Happy Thanksgiving!

See more of Mary Mazzeffi’s creations at Nona Jo’s — where she creates all their silks and displays — 9th annual Cup of Soup Party, Thursday, November 12, 9:30 am – 7:00 pm; Friday, November 13, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm; and Saturday, November 14, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. Nona Jo’s is located at 410 W. Fifth Avenue, Naperville, IL. 630.355.4488.


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