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.