Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the home > Christmas Centerpieces and Place Settings

This elegant centerpiece is fairly easy to put together if you happen to have brass candle sticks and horn. Line up six candles in a row with the tallest in the middle. Tie the horn to one of the middle candle stands. Arrange greenery and pinecones around the bases. Even if you don’t have brass anything, you can still make a lovely centerpiece with a row of candles and greenery around the bases. Christmas balls nestled between the branches adds a nice touch of color and shine.

Make a simple matching wreath by tying another brass horn to a wreath with a bow that matches the color of the candles. If you don’t have a brass horn, any Christmas ornament you especially like would make the wreath stand out.

Make napkin rings with little sprigs of fir or holly, or use floral picks. Whether it is  natural or artificial holly or fir, tie it on with a bit of twine or ribbon. If it has wire in it, simply bend the wire around the napkin.

This nut cup is a brass bucket that I was fortunate enough to find at a dollar store (100 yen store.) I snapped up a dozen of them as soon as I saw them. An alternative is to make them out of paper cups, and add a handle made out of wire. Red or green cups wrapped with the edge of a paper doily would look almost as good as the brass ones here. Sometimes I hang them on the Christmas tree with candy treats in them instead of using them on the table.

To make a centerpiece children will enjoy, place gift boxes in the middle of the table and put one toy on top of each box. These boxes were part of a set that I bought at Costco. But you can make your own by wrapping cardboard boxes with Christmas wrapping paper.

Make an even more extravagant centerpiece with open boxes full of toys (cover the boxes with wrapping paper.) If you raid your children’s toy boxes for this, you may want to ask their permission first. They will probably be delighted to see their toys showcased, as long as they know you are only borrowing them for the afternoon, and they will get them back as soon as dinner is over.

Use a flat Christmas ornament to decorate the napkin or plate. Make it into a place card by writing each person’s  name on them. Gift tags are another option to use as name cards--they are inexpensive, and cute ones are easy to find.

Bears or small dolls make cute ornaments to hold a candy cup or candy cane. If your child doesn’t have an extensive Beanie Baby collection, or doesn’t want them used this way, you may have to buy one per guest. But, happily, Christmas ornaments are relatively inexpensive. These bears were actually key rings at a dollar store (100 yen store) and I promptly bought a dozen of these, too. Some years they decorate the tree.

For a free alternative to paper plates, recycle old Christmas cards by slipping them under clear plates. Each person gets a unique design.

You can cut circles out of Christmas wrapping paper (this can be recycled, too, by saving paper that has wrapped gifts.) Use a plate as a pattern, and cut out 3 or 4 at a time to save time.

Clear plates have been placed on top of paper doilies that show up nicely on the dark table cloth. If you don’t have clear plates, just make sure the doilies are big enough to stick out around the edge of the plate. Each napkin ring is one piece of green felt with a holly leaf cut on each end, and red holly berry circles glued on. Cut a slit near one leaf, and tuck the other leaf end through it.

Layer pieces of plaid cloth across the table horizontally for a change from a table runner laid down the center of the table. If you are lazy like me, and don’t want to take the time to sew them, make sure the selvedge edges are on the ends, and fold the raw edges under (iron if necessary.)

A centerpiece with a sweet treat such as gingerbread men and candy canes is sure to make everyone jolly. A 2 tiered display makes it more visually exciting (purchased from a 100 yen store), but is not essential. You could have several different kinds of candy in various glasses and goblets--just vary the shapes. Keep the cost of the candy down by keeping the containers small.

Keep the color theme going throughout the room by hanging a wreath with a matching ribbon. Vine wreaths are relatively inexpensive--add your own bow and fasten on pinecones with florist’s wire. If you already have wreaths everywhere, hang up something a little different, such as this twig Christmas tree. I purchased it at a dollar store (100 yen store) and added the decorations myself. view how to tie a bow

Another edible, kid-pleasing centerpiece is a rice crispy Christmas tree, or in this case, a corn flake tree. I made three batches with green food coloring, and shaped each batch into a section--only the top section was a cone shape--the others had flat tops. Actually, the bottom layer was quite short since it was so big around. I pressed the candy on while each section was still warm, then stacked the 3 layers.  This tree is fairly quick to make

view  rice crispy recipe

The snowman cupcakes were adapted from the Family Fun website. They aren’t too hard to make, but do take quite a bit of time if you are going to make a lot of them. I also found out the hard way that the pretzels soften, and the snowmen topple over if you put them in the cakes a couple of hours ahead. So poke these in at the last minute.

Poke a skewer into 2 or 3 marshmallows and take out again, to make it easier to push in a sweet pretzel to hold the marshmallows together, and to poke into the cake. Do the same thing for the arms. Add hat and scarf, eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons with icing, or make the hat and scarves out of fruit roll-ups.    view icing recipe

Make a Christmas tree on every plate by using ferns. The ornaments are thin slices cut from carrots, and  the stars are made from the pealing of a golden apple cut with a small star cookie cutter. I don’t know why I didn’t just cut them out of paper, or sprinkle the “trees” with sequins. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have ferns growing in your yard, florists sell them relatively inexpensively. The one thing that is essential for all this, is the clear plate to put on top of it all, and to eat off of. If you are going to eat buffet style, just take the clear top plate off--it is too heavy to try to carry 2 plates!

Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the home > Christmas Centerpieces and Place Settings