Yes, Virginaa, you can afford to decorate your table for the holidays this season. Even on a tight budget, with most of your money going to food and gifts, there is always a way to decorate the holiday table with little or no money. For best results, stick with multi-purpose table decorations including decorative place cards or edible centerpieces. Don’t overwhelm with table with a formal silverware setting, or guests will be scrambling for spoons and forks for their after-dinner coffee and desserts. Only set out what you need for each course, on top of the tablecloth and placemats and your homemade centerpiece.
Everybody loves to munch and graze at the holidays. Create multi-tasking table decorations by using foods, from Clementines to nuts and grapes, on your table. Intertwine non-edible items including colorful bows, ornaments and homemade crafts including turkey pine cones or acorns with drawn faces.
It’s fun to sprinkle a bit of whimsy across your holiday table. For a winter holiday, create a winter wonderland centerpiece. Cover a two-tiered cardboard cupcake holder with aluminum foil to make the “ice.” Make your own indoor snow people with marshmallows and use mini marshmallows and sweetened coconut for snowballs and snow flakes. Add candy canes, cinnamon candies and after-dinner mints.
The Great Outdoors
Foraging outside for holiday decorations is not only a way to walk off pre-holiday calories, it’s also the path to creating one-of-a-kind table decorations.
– Alarge branch with fall berries in a tall vase can become a focal point on the table.
– Line up ears of tri-colored corn wrapped in shimmery ribbon and stand them vertically for a Thanksgiving table setting.
– Stack miniature pumpkins, with greenery in between. Use natural table linens in solid colors and run a bamboo or twig runner down the center of the table
– Spray paint your own pine cones and acorns and stack set them in a large wooden bowl for an instant holiday centerpiece. Use gold for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Blue and silver can be for Hanukkah or Christmas.
– Dress up interesting branches or twigs with tiny bows and ornaments. Add a few fresh flowers or twigs of greenery to vary the colors and textures.
– For Hanukkah spray paint an interesting or twisted branch or a collection of twigs with white or silver spray paint. Add blue ribbons and seasonal greenery from outside. Add chocolate brown table linens for a tasty touch.
The response I like to hear at the holidays regarding my table decorations is, “That’s different.” Different is good. When I can create an unexpected centerpiece, that’s even better.
– A copper tea kettle or wide pot can hold bright white flowers, all set off with a velvet black ribbon. The effect is dramatic and fits any holiday.
– Symmetry and matching are overrated. When you want to surprise holiday guests. Use candles of different heights, a variety of candle holders or jars turned into candle holders, and mix and match place mats and china. It’s eclectic and inviting, without setting too formal tone of a tone at the holidays.
– Formal holiday table settings can be almost somber, which is not the mood you want to set at the holidays. Why not mix and match pieces from different china sets, especially incomplete sets passed down in your family. The assemblage of plates, saucers and tea cups may trigger some family memories of joyful holidays from the past.
– Add small decorative elements to your table using what you already have.
– Fold napkins into squares and wrap ribbons around them, to make them look like gifts.
– Use simple items including raffia, twine and gift wrap ribbon to add color to chairs, candle holders and even salt and pepper shakers.
Read more from Pam Gaulin:
10 Eco-Friendly Holiday Table Setting Place Cards
5 Edible Thanksgiving Place Cards for the Kids’ Table
Holiday Paper Crafts: Thanksgiving Wine Glass Charms