Home & Garden

10 quick and easy ways to entertain this holiday season

One of my favorite, creative ways to entertain for the holidays relates to involving the entire family, especially the children, in the creation of items for the table. How you decorate your table may be just as important as what is served, so why not highlight your table with festive decor to enhance the presentation of your meal? Here are some of my holiday table decor ideas that are both fast and festive.

1. Think simple. Decorating a table with walnuts is a fast and affordable way to decorate. Sprinkle some along your table or place in small trays or bowls along the table. You can even cut a little slit on the side and use them as place card holders if you are assigning seats to your guests.

2. Layer your place settings. Using a charger, dinner plate and salad plate is an elegant way to set the table.

3. Use napkin holders. Napkin holders and rings automatically add a touch of formality that is perfect for the holidays.

4. Have personalized menus. As a child, whenever my mother and late father would entertain family and friends there was always a menu at each place setting indicating the arriving courses. Make your menu using on your home computer, print on vellum and cut to size. Punch a hole in the top and add a colored ribbon or other embellishment.

5. Assign seats. This added touch isn’t just for formal events like weddings. Consider having a place card at each place setting, on a napkin placed in the center of your place settings or handwritten in beautiful cursive writing at the top of personalized menus. Need more inspiration? You can create your place card holder out of colored paper, in traditional Thanksgiving colors such as chocolate brown or deep orange, writing each name using white ink pens found in a craft store.

6. Incorporate nature. From twigs gathered from your backyard to pine cones and small branches of pine, these natural elements can go a long way in dressing up your table in a fast, creative way.

7. Get crafty. One of my favorite Thanksgiving craft ideas involves taking different colored pieces of felt and creating little turkeys. Use pipe cleaners for the feet and little cotton balls for the head. Use the beak of the bird to hold your place cards.

8. Break out the china. So many homeowners keep their china hidden and tucked away in cabinets waiting for that “special occasion” only to want to use the dishwasher-safe set come holiday time to avoid having a huge pile of china dishes to wash. I’ve been there! But now IS the time to use that china – what a special way to serve your guests.

9. Consider pumpkins and gourds. White pumpkins are a pretty way to dress up a table. Consider using all white pumpkins, perhaps decorating with paints or glitter.

10. Decorating using fruits or vegetables. Apples, pomegranates or even artichokes make great centerpieces. Just take large vessels and fill!

Cathy Hobbs is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior-design and home-staging expert. cathyhobbs.com.