With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, busy hosts often don't have extra time to set eye-catching tables. These pretty place cards, no-fuss napkin rings and sparkling centerpiece are quick and inexpensive, too.
Make the most of this year's holiday greeting cards by displaying favorites on your dinner table. To create the appealing centerpiece shown in the photo at right, you'll need a bowl, a wire photograph holder, Christmas cards, ornaments and a garland.
We selected items to match the colors of our place setting. We picked a silver bowl, a silver wire photo holder, metallic glass ornaments and matching bead garland.
When choosing cards for your arrangement, consider ones that work with your color scheme and have appealing designs or sentiments. To keep your centerpiece from looking too busy, select cards that focus on simple artwork.
First, place the photo holder in the center of the bowl. To keep it from tipping, use reusable adhesive (like Fun-Tak) to secure the base of the photo holder to the bottom of the bowl.
(If you don't have any reusable adhesive, use florist's clay or do without, taking extra care when moving your centerpiece.) Then arrange the ornaments in the bowl around the photo holder and drape them with the bead garland.
Next, arrange your cards in the arms of the photo holder, placing the smaller cards in front. To avoid a crowded look, don't place a card in every arm. Our photo holder had 10 arms, but we displayed only five cards.
Because this arrangement is one-sided, you may want to place similar-sized Christmas cards back-to-back, so the arrangement is pleasing from both sides.
Feel free to adapt this idea to birthdays, graduations and other special events throughout the year.
Easy Place Markers
Recycle old Christmas cards by turning them into personal place markers. Careful cutting showcases the card's design by making it "pop up" above the place marker.
For best results, select cards that have space at the bottom to write a guest's name. To make the cutting easier, choose those with designs that are evenly framed by a plain area.
Remove the back of the card and discard it. Measure the height of the card and mark the midpoint on both sides of the design. These marks, placed where the border and design meet, designate the starting points of the "pop-up" cut.
Set the card on a cutting board or work surface. Starting at one of the pencil marks, use a craft knife to cut up and around the top half of the design. (Do not cut on the fold line or around the bottom half of the design.)
Use a ruler to ensure straight edges as you continue to cut around the design to the other marked midpoint.
Write the name of a guest on the bottom of the card. Then carefully fold the card in half at the midpoint, except for the design, which should pop up.
Repeat these steps for each place card. Then arrange one at each place setting for a holiday table your guests will not soon forget.
Wrap Napkins with Festive Garland
Deck your table with nifty napkin rings that take seconds to assemble using a tree-trimming garland.
For each napkin ring, simply snip off a 10-inch piece of bead garland and wrap it around a folded napkin a few times (see our napkin in the photo at the top of the page). Tuck the garland's ends underneath the napkin before setting it on the plate.