Let’s start at the very beginning. You can make a plain tablecloth into an attractive decorative feature in one very simple and inexpensive step. Simply select some good quality wrapping paper, lay it flat down the middle of the table, then fold the paper under the hem of the tablecloth at either end, and secure with some sellotape. This gives you an instant themed blank canvas to work with.
Perhaps the cheapest and most effective option for flowers on your table is to fill some small vases with bloomed red and white caations. These flowers are inexpensive, but colourful, delicate, festive and slightly fragrant. They won’t get in the way of anyone’s line of sight across the table, and you can put as many of these dainty blooms as you like out without the space looking too crowded.
Buying battery powered, LED or electric candle/tea lights is much safer, more cost effective option to having candles, and can be equally as aesthetically pleasing. You can pick these little gizmos up in pound shops and hardware stores quite easily at this time of year, as well as being able to order them from several different online companies. Or, if you have a guest asking what you’d like for a Christmas present, this is a good one to ask for. They range in price enormously so you won’t be obliging them to spend a particular amount, and you’ll have them in time for dinner!
For place names, an inexpensive and utterly charming option is to buy a large amount of cinnamon sticks, some red ribbon, and some paper. By tying the sticks together in a bunch with the red ribbon, and then adding small bits of paper with your guest’s names on them, you have an instant place setting – which doubles up as a party favour. Sweet smelling, traditional and completely delightful, these can be taken home as decorations for your guest’s Christmas trees, and can be used by them year after year.
A stroll in the woods is the perfect excuse to forage some pine cones. Once you’ve got them home, simply add a little spray on glitter (around £2 a can at supermarkets), and make a fitted, small round paper base into which you can place the decorated pine cone upside down. Then, just a simple addition of a paper star, a finger-sized bunch of tinsel or perhaps a spare cake decoration figurine on top – and viola – you have tiny Christmas trees to place on your table.
Small things make all the difference. Taking an extra 20 minutes or so to polish your cutlery properly and straighten every item on the table goes a long way. Lighting is also an important factor and worth things about a few days before the dinner – experiment with lamps and dimmer switches, and if you have any leftover Christmas lights or decorations, think carefully about if you can place them somewhere in the room without them being overpowering.
A very merry Christmas from Function Fixers!