Tuesday, November 9, 2010

7 Simple Ways to Dress Up your Holiday Table

One year during my childhood, my mother asked me to be in charge of the centerpiece for Christmas Eve dinner. Nearly 20 people were coming - including my grumpy uncle - and my mother's centerpieces always wowed them (well, except for the aforementioned grumpy uncle - but nothing really "wows" him) so the pressure was intense. I decided to go a bit of a... non-traditional route and created a geometric 3d sculpture with candles, vases with different color marbles, and my multitude of beta-fish pets that I'd accumulated during our many trips to Walmart. Do I recommend the flaming, fishy centerpiece... well, only if your family has a sense of humor (and doesn't bang the table when they eat or argue.) But I do recommend taking a tour down the path of non-tradition. I wouldn't say my grumpy uncle was "wowed," but he stared at the fish so much that it was the quietest I think he'd ever been. Thankfully, I'm not the main source of creativity around Finders Keepers Furnishings. Here are seven of Betsy's ideas to help you make spectacular centerpieces a snap:
* Fill a basket with fruits and nuts. Scatter some of the nuts around the basket on the table.
* Make an arrangement of different sized pumpkins, gourds and squash. Scatter a few leaves around the centerpiece and add orange, brown or dark green candles.
* Cut the tops off small pumpkins and scoop out the centers. Place votive candles inside and make a grouping.
* Make a bed of pine needles in the center of the table. Fill a basket with pine cones and tie a brown plaid taffeta ribbon on the handle.
* Make floating walnut candles: scoop out the meat from walnuts and set aside the shells. Melt the stubs of old candles in a coffee can set in a pan of water on the stove. If you place the shells in a pan of sand it will be easy to fill each one without dripping wax on your hand. Use a short wick and hold upright in the center of each shell as you fill it with the melted wax. Float the candles in a pretty bowl filled with water.
* Fill a bowl with water and float the tops of flowers such as chrysanthemums or marigolds. Surround with fall colored candles.
* Instead of a centerpiece, create a tiny arrangement of fall flowers in little vases, cups or glasses at each person’s place. Use fall colored napkins & tie each one with ribbon. Tuck a flower under each ribbon or bow.

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