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With the onset of the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years), many of us find we may have some occasional unexpected company. There are several items that we can keep on hand, and things to do to make such visits more pleasant.
When entertaining this holiday season and you find that you are in need of an extra platter, use the glass platter that's inside your microwave oven. Works like a charm.
Instead of purchasing expensive serving dishes for every holiday, place a cloth napkin over an everyday plate. You can place the plate on a cake stand for a little extra presentation. If serving foods that may stain, line with a small piece of wax paper.
If you need to purchase napkins for this tip (on sale of course) remember red works for the most holidays: Christmas, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, etc.
By Jenifer M. from New Haven, CT
Here are some festive and frugal ideas for crafted place markers to help you get your guests seated where you want them!
Approximate Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Paper and card: These include the very plain and simple folded card with the name either handwritten or created on a printer. Many free templates are available on sites like Hubpages which can be personalized.
An extension to this type of place marker is to build up layers of paper and card in colors which compliment your over all table scheme, then embellish with beads buttons or ribbon for more of a keepsake item. If there will be many children at your party, why not make simple cones from thin construction paper in complimentary colors and embellish them before adding the names of your guests.
Markers crafted from items such as baubles, crackers, and candles: The most common way to use Christmas tree baubles as place markers is to craft small tags with the names of your guests then tie them to the baubles with sparkling or colored thread. An alternative to this, is to use a fine correction fluid pen to write the name of guest directly onto a plain bauble. This method has the advantage of also creating a personalized keepsake that your guest can hang on their own tree. Christmas crackers can be treated in similar ways to those outlined for baubles. Plain or ready embellished glass tea light holders, in a variety of colors, can be bought very inexpensively from dollar shops or IKEA. They can have the names of guests applied easily using glass paint in tubes or pens.
You can also make place markers that use the novelty of edible goodies: One of the most simple but fun technique for using edibles is to fasten small gift tags to red and white striped candy canes. This is very popular with children and is particularly effective if you are using a traditional red and green table scheme. Gingerbread cookies have the advantage of being traditional Christmas fare, so are readily available in shops during the Christmas season if you do not have time to make them yourself. They can be quickly turned into place markers with sugar icing applied with a very fine nozzle on an icing bag or by using ready-made icing in tubes. Miniature paper flags bearing the names of guests, fixed to cocktail sticks or toothpicks look very effective pushed into cupcakes, especially if these have been decorated with edible silver balls or similar decorations and are also in foil cupcake cases. This method also works with clementines, satsumas, or mandarin oranges and these look particularly good if they have some glossy green leaves still attached.
There are tons of variations on all these ideas, just use your skills and imagination to help you create an unforgettable festive table!
By Mrs Christmas from Slovenia, EU
When entertaining use your crockpot to heat up side dishes such as canned veggies, or use it to keep mashed potatoes or a soup warm.
Small pretzel sticks make great skewers for bite-sized appetizers - nothing to throw away.
I get out all the serving bowls I will need for the feast when I set out the holiday dishes. I drop a note in each bowl or platter to remind me what goes where.
Seasonal cookie cutters make great festive napkin rings and can be a little party favor, too. Just add a bright bit of ribbon or raffia.