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Simple crafts add cheer to holiday table

Posted December 1, 2008
Updated December 2, 2008

Sometimes the little things do make a difference. Take setting the holiday dinner table.

Part of the joy in sitting down to a holiday dinner involves the extras - the special plates, the cloth napkins - that signal a special meal.

The following holiday crafts - napkin holders, place cards and a simple, elegant centerpiece - were chosen for their ease. If you have wound-up children underfoot, you can put them to work (entrust a hot glue gun, however, only to experienced teens). The crafts were created for Christmas and Hanukkah, but can be adapted for other holidays.

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Elegant Floral Centerpiece (reds and greens for Christmas; blues and silver for Hanukkah)

Supplies you'll need:

-Three glass, cylinder vases of different sizes

-White or cream-colored vellum paper (quantity depends on vase sizes)

-Thin ribbon in holiday colors

-Double-sided tape

-Glue gun with glue stick

-Scissors

-Fresh flowers

Assembly:

1. Wrap each vase with vellum paper, overlapping 1/2 inch, and attach with double-sided tape.

2. Wrap ribbon around the vase, crisscrossing a few times, beginning and ending at the seam. Using the glue gun, attach the ribbon at the starting and ending points.

3. Carefully fill vases with water and fresh flowers appropriate to the respective holiday.

(Adapted from "Candy-Stripers" centerpiece at http://www.marthastewart.com )

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Festive Napkin Rings

Supplies:

-1 1/4-inch-wide wooden napkin rings (available at craft stores, such as Michael's, for less than $1 each)

-Holiday ribbon ( 3/4-inch wide is ideal, but 1/4-inch will do)

-Acrylic paint in holiday colors

-Glue gun with glue stick

-Optional: Small pieces of holiday candy, such as candy canes, 1-inch Santas or gold coins

Assembly:

1. Paint the wooden rings, including the sides.

2. Wrap the middle section of the ring with ribbon and attach with glue.

3. Attach holiday motif, such as a small piece of candy, if desired (it can be removed after the holidays).

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Wrapped Candy Place Cards

Supplies:

-Card stock in holiday colors

-1 1/2-inch ribbon in holiday colors (two color-coordinating patterns work well)

-Hole punch

-Ruler or tape measure

-Pencil

-Pen

Assembly:

1. Cut out 3-inch ovals from the card stock.

2. Using the hole punch, make a hole at each end of each oval.

3. Write guests' names on the ovals.

4. Cut ribbon into pieces about 6 inches long. Thread a piece through the back of each place card and up through the hole punches. Notch the ribbon ends.

(Adapted from "Candy-Cane Place Card" at http://www.marthastewart.com )

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Star of David Place Cards

Supplies:

-Heavy card stock or craft-foam sheets, in blue shades

-Silver or gold metallic paint marker

-Scissors

-Pencil

Assembly:

1. With the card stock or foam sheet, make a Star of David template, overlapping two triangles to create a six-pointed star approximately 3 inches in diameter.

2. Use template to cut out additional stars. You will need two stars for each place card.

3. For each star, cut one slit from the space between two points to the center. Join two stars by sliding them together along the slit.

4. Pick a spot for writing a guest's name, carefully separate the two paper or foam forms, and, using the paint marker, write the name on one of the stars. Decorate both stars with dots, stripes or swirls, etc.

5. Reattach the two finished pieces to create a 3-D Star of David.

(Adapted from "Christmas: 101 Wondrous Ideas," 2001, Better Homes & Gardens Books. On the Web: http://www.bhg.com )

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