Trim your table

Putting together a personalized holiday table is a snap! You can use household items or a few inexpensively acquired different items from your local craft store or the outdoors to create a festive table to remember.

For your table runner and/or tablecloth:
Table runners are an elegant way to make a statement at your table, especially when accented with a centerpiece. But for a simple option, you have many choices:
  • Use 2 tablecloths. For example, if you have a usual white tablecloth you use, spread it over the table. Then take a second tablecloth, in a different color like red or silver, and fold it in half lengthwise, then lengthwise again. You should be left with a runner that can elegantly go down the center of your table. To smooth down the edges, run an iron over it according to the tablecloth’s care instructions.
  • Use sheets. Clean ones, of course! If you’re running short on a tablecloth or would like to try your hand at decorating one, a plain cotton sheet (clean and ironed, of course!) is a great option!
  • Use a scarf. Do you have a long, thin, solid-colored scarf? Wash it, iron it, and use it as your table runner!
  • Are you a quilter? Make a table runner for your table out of winter-themed scraps—much less work than a giant, stuffed quilt

For your place settings:
It’s fun to mark out where each guest will sit, whether you’re hosting a simple dinner party or a big holiday dinner. Take these easy ideas:

  • Candy canes. Take some notecards, print or write out your guests’ names on them, punch a hole through a corner of each card, then tie with a ribbon to a candy cane and set on the appropriate plate.
  • Pinecones. Grab a few of your silvered pinecones from this article or wash and dry some of the pinecones you find in your yard. Write each guest’s name on a piece of cardstock, then use the pinecone as a paperweight at the top of the card on the center of each plate.
  • Pine branch. Grab some length of pine branches from the outdoors—about 3-4” long for each place setting—and gently soak them in warm water and a mild disinfectant soap, then rinse. Let dry on dishtowels or paper towels, then rest at the top of each place card.
  • Stamped napkins. Pick up a set of blank, inexpensive white cloth napkins to use for your next get-together—and a set of stamps! Pick some stamps in the theme of your event or the season, paint with fabric paint, and apply once to the napkin so that it’s visible when folded to your liking.

For your centerpiece:
A centerpiece doesn’t have to be one large structure smack in the middle of the table—it can extend down the length of the whole thing, if you have room!
  • Garland. If you have lengths of garland around, use a long piece for the center of your table! If you have any white spray paint or spray adhesive that you could use with fake snow, you could lightly mist bits of the garland to look snowy.
  • Votives. Tealights in inexpensive glass votives make the perfect centerpiece in a variety of ways. If you have a serving tray, especially if it’s a long one, arrange the votives on it and then customize however you like—scatter some pine branches (preferably the ones that have just been washed) as a bed, or even nestle the votives in a bed of cranberries.
  • Champagne glasses. Try taking some slender champagne glasses and filling with some curled ribbon and confetti, letting a few strands of ribbon drape out of the glass. Line 4 or 5 of them up along the length of the table center. Perfect for a New Year's celebration.
  • Snowflakes. If you have a brightly-colored tablecloth, this idea pops! Take some squares of white cloth (cut up a yard from the fabric store or use scraps you already have) and some sharp scissors, then fold the cloth like you’re making paper snowflakes. Cut a snowflake shape out of each pieces of cloth, then unfold and lay flat in different spots around your tablecloth.
  • Flowers. If you have any poinsettias or other flowers handy, take a few smaller matching containers—glasses, votives, or whatever you have handy—and place a budded flower in each with a bit of water. Cluster around the center of the table or line up along its length.

Have you had any creative tabletop inspiration for holiday parties or get-togethers? What have you used? Share below!

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