Making Merry For Less
A Christmas Table Setting
Most of us love getting together with family and friends and the giving and receiving of gifts but hate trying to figure out how to stretch the budget to do everything we want to do. With that in mind, let’s create a simple but elegant table setting and a party favor. For our purposes, I’ve chosen a traditional color scheme of red, white and green but of course, you can use whatever coordinating colors you like.
First, you don’t really need special Christmas napkins. We used plain paper dinner napkins in Christmas red and created a napkin ring from the leftover Christmas wrap of last year. You could also use scrapbook paper cut in wide strips. Then add a touch of nature by gluing a small pine cone onto it.
In decorating circles there’s a trend to bring more natural elements into home décor. This is good news for budget decorators because these items are free for the gathering and pinecones make good holders for place cards, too.
When you are setting the table, there is room to insert silverware inside each napkin, if that’s a look you like.
We thought this plain white embossed dinner plate was perfect for entertaining. Of course, even if you do find nice dinnerware, it’s not likely that you will be able to purchase a complete set at a dollar store but you can get around that by thinking about what serving pieces you have at home that would compliment the plates you are looking at.
We liked the subtle pattern and shape of this stemware. You could use the larger glass as a water goblet and the smaller one for wine or juice.
Easy, inexpensive and pretty, what could be better?
Making your own Christmas crackers isn’t a new idea but it’s a fun and inexpensive way to add a unique touch to your holiday table. Start with two or three different colors of paper dinner napkins, enough empty toilet paper rolls for each dinner guest you expect and ribbon in complimentary colors. Scour the aisles of the local dollar stores for things to put in your crackers.
Kids are easy enough. A small toy and some individually wrapped Christmas candy will delight your small guests and you can easily pick things to suit each child.
For adults, use things like miniature flashlights, small pewter ornaments, cell phone charms and the like. You may be able to find things miniature ornaments, which would help you fill a few crackers. You will need to decide how much you want to spend per Christmas cracker.
Into each cracker, put in the small gift, an individually wrapped chocolate treat or other candy and a quote. If you don’t have a book of quotes, try the library or online. Type the selected quotes using the smallest font on your word processor and print them out. Then simply cut them into strips and put one in each Christmas cracker. We added a small Christmas sticker in front of each quote before we separated them.
When you are satisfied with the cracker’s contents, open one fold of the dinner napkin and lay it length-wise on the table. Center the toilet paper roll with its contents length-wise in the middle of the napkin and roll it up, securing with a piece of tape. Then gently twist each end, tie with ribbon and curl the ribbon.
To decorate each cracker you can use strips of Christmas wrap, as we did with the napkin rings, Christmas stickers or as here, a variety of Christmas scrapbook borders. Each package of two will suffice to wrap around four Christmas crackers, i.e. five packages of borders will decorate 20 Christmas crackers. Cut each self-sticking border in half and wrap one half around the middle of each cracker.
You might want to keep track of the contents of each cracker and whether it is suitable for a male or female. Or you could simply add a name tag and use your Christmas crackers as place cards. Now you are ready to sit down to Christmas dinner in Dollar Store Style!