Thursday, September 19, 2019

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas and An Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse Recipe

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

I had so much fun creating a spring tablescape using lovely, affordable finds from Giant Tiger, a Canadian-owned discount retailer that sells fashion, food, decor, linens and more. I'm pleased to partner with Giant Tiger again to bring you ideas for a budget-friendly yet beautiful Thanksgiving table. Thanksgiving is all about food, family, fun and, of course, gratitude. While those things should be the focus, it's nice to set the scene and welcome guests with a festive seasonal table. A tasty, colourful dessert doesn't hurt either! In that vein, I am sharing a new recipe for easy-to-make, family-friendly vegan strawberry mousse.

Read on for table decor ideas and a celebratory dessert recipe!

*This post is sponsored by Giant Tiger. All opinions are authentic and my own. Thank you for supporting the awesome companies that partner with Woman in Real Life.*

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

The inspiration for my table's red and white/cream colour scheme was this lovely red plaid tablecloth (priced at only $12!). Once I discovered that little beauty, I scoured the shelves of Giant Tiger for other tableware and accessories to match.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

We have been using these white dishes from Giant Tiger for a few months now and they still feel fresh and fun to use. I like colourful dishes too, but I find it so easy to dress up (or down) basic white plates and bowls. For my Thanksgiving table, I also added this pretty Hampton Forge flatware.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

I have a habit of decorating with fruit - it's colourful and you can eat it later! My local Giant Tiger has a lovely produce section and I was able to buy local Ontario blue grapes, purple grapes, Niagara pears, strawberries, mangoes and clementines to dress a bountiful Thanksgiving table. I placed the fruit in a red Hearthstone Ceramic Bakeware dish. (It came in a set of four and is oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.)

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

I was drawn to these large, lidded soup mugs - how great will they be for clutching warm soup in your hands in the winter? For the moment though, I decided to use them to hold a trio of inexpensive tropical plants from Giant Tiger for a colourful fall centrepiece.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

I used pears as simple but pretty plate toppers. Nature makes the best decorations! In place of cloth napkins I used soft dish cloths in a deep red colour that matches the tablecloth. I folded the "napkins" in thirds and ironed them into place before laying them between the two plates at each table setting.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

For simple table nibbles, I picked up cans of mixed nuts in Giant Tiger's grocery area.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

I used my favourite crystal wine glasses to add a vintage touch to the Thanksgiving table decor. For water glasses, I picked up these Pasabahce All-Purpose Coolers, just $5 for 4 glasses. Glasses are always getting broken in this house so I'm happy for budget-friendly options to replace them.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

I couldn't resist picking up a set of toque and antlers dish towels for fall.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

For some totally free table decor, I trimmed a few branches from one of our Japanese maple trees. I love the rich hue of the leaves in fall. I added a couple of inexpensive pumpkins that can be cooked later.

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

When afternoon turns to evening and your guests are enjoying drinks, dessert and conversation, it's nice to have soft lighting on the table. I chose two inexpensive red lanterns - the HomeStyles LED candle lantern in "rust" - as well as a couple of pleasantly scented candles in jars. 

Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

I also chose a battery-powered LED deer bottle for another touch of fall decor - it has mini lights inside and the gold exterior looks really pretty when it's lit up at night.

Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse dessert recipe ingredients

A Thanksgiving table is not complete without a sweet dessert (or two). I found the fixings for an extremely simple vegan dessert in the grocery section of Giant Tiger, including strawberries, coconut milk, vanilla extract and dark chocolate. I also got maple syrup for an optional additional sweetener.

Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse dessert recipe - making coconut cream

To make the Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse recipe, start by chilling a can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It's important that you choose full-fat, because the refrigeration process will cause the fat, creamy portion of the coconut milk to separate from the watery part. It's the thick, creamy stuff you'll need to make luscious coconut whipped cream for your strawberry mousse.

Making your own coconut whipped cream could not be easier. Turn the thick coconut cream out into a bowl that has been chilled in the fridge. Add icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer until combined and creamy.

Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse dessert recipe - making strawberry puree

Make strawberry puree by blending fresh strawberries with sugar.

Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse dessert recipe

Combine part of the strawberry puree with coconut whipped cream and refrigerate for an hour or more to set. That becomes your strawberry mousse. To serve, layer remaining strawberry puree with the strawberry and coconut cream mousse. Top with more coconut whipped cream, sliced strawberries and chunks of dark, dairy-free chocolate.

Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse dessert recipe

The combination of thick coconut whipped cream with sweet strawberry puree is lightly decadent (if that even makes sense) and delicious. And this dessert is super easy to prepare. Just be sure to keep a can of coconut milk in the fridge so it's ready to go when you are.

The only hard part is waiting as your dessert chills in the fridge. This vegan strawberry mousse can even be prepared a day ahead of your Thanksgiving dinner. It gets more "moussey" the longer it stays in the fridge.

Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse dessert recipe

My daughter describes this vegan strawberry mousse as a perfect combo of strawberries and coconut - soft, delectable and light. (Yes, I went to my teen for adjectives, haha.) You can add as little or as much icing (powdered) sugar to the coconut whipped cream as you like, depending on your taste and preferences.

Tips for decorating your Thanksgiving table on a budget

To summarize, here are my ideas to create gorgeous Thanksgiving table decor without spending a ton of money:

  • start with an inexpensive but pretty tablecloth
  • dress up everyday white dishes
  • re-purpose inexpensive dish cloths as napkins
  • create a centrepiece with affordable plants and big mugs that can be used for soup later
  • use pears or other fruit as a plate topper
  • decorate with fruit and squash/pumpkins to celebrate the bounty of Thanksgiving (and eat your decorations later!)
  • trim leaves from a Japanese maple or other tree for table decor
  • add ambiance with affordable candles and lanterns
  • mix new items with vintage items you already own
  • explore the affordable home decor finds at Giant Tiger

Read on for my Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse Recipe.

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends (and lots of food!) this year! 

Questions for you

Do you have any favourite ways of dressing up your fall or Thanksgiving table on a budget? What are your favourite things to shop for at Giant Tiger?

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Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse Recipe

Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse


Easy Vegan Strawberry Mousse Recipe

  by Joann MacDonald
  • 1 398 ml (approx 14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 24 hours
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Make Coconut Whipped Cream
Place a large mixing bowl in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.
Open chilled can of coconut milk (it’s important that it was refrigerated for 24 hours) without shaking or otherwise disturbing the contents. Scoop the thickened portion of the coconut milk out of the can and into the cold mixing bowl. (Alternatively, you can turn over the can before opening and pour out the liquid portion into a small bowl.) Set aside the watery portion of the coconut milk - save it for smoothies or other recipes if you like.
Add icing sugar and vanilla to bowl and beat together with the coconut cream using a mixer, for about 5 minutes, until ingredients are combined and coconut whipped cream has peaks. Set bowl in fridge while you make strawberry puree.
Make Strawberry Puree
Add strawberries and sugar to a blender. Blend until combined. Reserve ½ cup of strawberry puree.
With a spoon, mix the remainder of the strawberry puree (about ¾ cup) with 1 cup of the refrigerated coconut whipped cream mixture. Put in the fridge for at least an hour to set.
Layer strawberry puree and strawberry-coconut cream mousse in serving dishes. Use any remaining coconut whipped cream on top if desired. Garnish with sliced strawberries and dark chocolate chunks.
Recipe Notes: The NuPak coconut milk I bought at Giant Tiger worked well for this recipe. Results may vary depending on the fat content and other ingredients of the coconut milk. Make sure you buy a full-fat coconut milk. If it doesn’t appear to separate after refrigeration, you may have to move on to another brand.


  1. The mousse looks absolutely delicious! I love the fall display you made as well - especially the use of a house plant in the center :)

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so happy you like it all! :)

  2. Looks delicious, can't wait to try it.