Cranberry Centerpiece and Fancy Napkin Folding

Cranberry Centerpiece Photo

Cranberry Centerpiece Photo

Adding festive finishing touches to your table can make holiday meals or most any occasion extra-special. Whether it's a sparkling centerpiece, sleek napkin fold, memorable place markers or an attractive way to serve stuffed tenderloin, table toppers like these take just minutes to assemble. Best of all, each idea is easy and inexpensive, too.

Berry Bowl Brings a Warm Glow to Table

Ruby-red cranberries lend festive color to many holiday recipes. Their brilliant color can brighten your table as well as part of this simple centerpiece. It's "berry" easy to assemble because it requires just a few supplies.

First, choose a shallow glass dish. The fluted serving bowl we used has a decorative rim and measured 10 inches in diameter. You may want to pick one with a pedestal to give your arrangement some height. (Because our bowl didn't have a pedestal, we created one by inverting a smaller bowl.)

floating candles photoFill the serving bowl partway with water—we used about 2 cups. Then add the cranberries until you have enough floating to almost cover the surface (about 1-1/2 cups).

Gently place a few floating candles or tea lights into the bowl among the cranberries. For the final step, light the candles right before dinner to add warmth to your special gathering.

Place Markers Are Conversation Starters

Dinner guests are sure to comment when they see these unique place markers at each table setting. Instead of using ordinary paper cards with each guest's name, use a miniature picture frame to display his or her photo.

Choose small frames that coordinate with the centerpiece, dishes or silverware. You could even buy inexpensive ones to send home with guests as favors. Another fun variation is to fill the frames with each person's baby picture to spark conversation and rekindle childhood memories.

Folded Napkin Gives Plate Setting Polish

A sophisticated napkin fold can add elegance to place settings without a lot of fuss. The easy-to-fold design shown here doesn't even need a napkin ring.

You can ready each one in a jiffy, too. To start, place an ironed cloth napkin open on a flat surface. Fold the napkin in half diagonally by bringing the two opposite corners together to form a large triangle.

napkin photo 1With napkin folded this way, bring the two outside points created by the fold together to meet at the open point as shown. This will form a square.

napkin photo 2Now fold the open point underneath the napkin to create a triangle. To finish, simply lift the napkin at the center and arrange it on the plate.