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“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

 –Ralph Waldo Emerson

A cornucopia is synonymous with the American holiday of Thanksgiving and, from the Latin, literally means “horn of abundance.” It is commonly referred to as a “horn of plenty” and, traditionally, is made from a goat’s horn and then filled with, well, whatever the harvest yielded (usually fruit, vegetables, and grains). The cornucopia is actually an ancient tradition that is attributed today to a Greek myth involving Zeus and a goat called Amalthea. Today most people use a horn-shaped basket of some sort and fill it until it’s overflowing with their décor of choice (edible or not). Here are some fun ideas that can turn a Do-It-Yourself project into something as easy as pumpkin pie. 

  • First, you’ll need a horn-shaped basket. You can either purchase one from any craft store or make one yourself. Now, we’re not all basket weavers (in which case I would suggest buying a pre-made horn), but any vessel can be used to a similar effect (such as any wicker basket). Some even use a leftover witch’s hat from Halloween! The conical cloth object can be covered with burlap and wrapped with twine or even grapevine to turn an old costume accessory into a Thanksgiving Day centerpiece! 
  • The most important thing is what you choose to fill the horn with. Do you want to use real fruits, veggies, and flowers or artificial glittery flowers and chocolate coins? 
  • Fruits to add to the horn of plenty include shiny red and green apples, grapes, pears, figs, a small pumpkin, gourds, squash, etc. 
  • Vegetables that should be added include mostly corn. Try to find some Indian corn in all colors for an especially festive look.
  • Wheat is a common part of cornucopia. 
  • Add nuts to complete the project!
  • And don’t forget a cheerful ribbon for extra flair.

Fall Flowers for your Cornucopia

Since Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and giving thanks, a cornucopia filled with fresh flowers is the perfect present for a loved one. It also puts a unique spin on traditional flower arrangements.  Try to find (or order from Chelsea Flowers) autumnal flower favorites like chrysanthemums, sunflowers, marigolds, dahlias, eryngium (also known as sea holly, which dries beautifully by the way), yellow, orange, and red roses, and hypericum berries. Many of these beauties can be found in the custom arrangements “Simply You” and “Bright and Colourful” by Chelsea Flowers. Fall foliage is also a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving-themed floral arrangement. Rustic touches such as corn husks, burlap, pine cones, moss, twigs, and dried flowers make for beautiful, pastoral fillings for your cornucopia as well.

Let Us Give Thanks

Since cornucopia is associated with abundance and plenty, it has become a symbol of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. It originated as a representation of prosperity and was prominent in Greek as well as Roman myths. For example, the Greek deity Plutus (the god of wealth) is often depicted as holding a cornucopia. So, let us be grateful this holiday season and remember that no celebration is complete without fabulous flowers!

To learn more about the floral arrangements mentioned in this blog, check out the links below: