Monday, November 12, 2007

Frugal Ways to Decorate the Tables for Christmas

I know first hand what a struggle it is to do anything of quality in a church with limited funds. Which by the way is a nice way of putting "we're just broke." Since I've always felt (and I have made myself fairly clear about this) that any efforts put into a church function would be our best, I wasn't satisfied with a green sprig here and there in between the salt and pepper shakers. Sometimes it takes a few years to come up with enough of a "stash" of stuff to handle any kind of party, but here are some inexpensive ways to decorate your tables for your Christmas dinner or party. You can also check out my "Snowy Evening Decorating Theme." I plan on posting more like it, but this is as far as I've gotten.

The Table Coverings
Party stores have a variety of pretty patterned paper (try saying that 5 times fast) table coverings. You can cut them in half and have instant table runners. Or if they have the big white section down the middle, just cut off the patterned sides as your runner and use the white section for your food table. Just put the "runner" over a solid color and you have a really pretty table to start with.

Another favorite idea of mine is to use wrapping paper to cover your tables. There is a lot of pretty paper. You could even use it as table runners also.

1. Angels We Have Heard on High.
Make a plea for all of your angel collectors to come together. Have everyone bring in their angel figurines, etc. and group them into little settings at each table. Be sure to mix them up. Don't put all the angels of the same height together, etc. You can surround them with pillow fluff and a few clear votives if you wish so that they appear to be floating in the clouds. You could use these "themed" idea for any kind of Christmas collectible. Stars, Snowmen, etc.

2. Into The woods
Make Christmas Candle Logs. We did this one year and used them for several years after that in a variety of ways. This takes a little time, but it's really inexpensive. Have someone cut the logs (make sure they are all of similar size) in half and plane the bottoms so that they lay flat. Then you will need to drill holes along the top (not quite sure what tool you have to use for that...someone else did it for me) for candles. Make them wide enough to hold long tapers. Decorate the top of your logs with pine greenery, poinsettias, ribbon, etc. You can get some little flowering poinsettias or other Christmas greenery pretty inexpensively at Wal-mart. We used hot glue and a staple gun. We then added our tapers (in whatever color you choose) and wow! Very pretty table decorations.

3. Jars A Plenty
One year we were pretty broke and I wanted to create something special and interesting for the tables. So I gathered Mason Jars (both pints and quarts), purchased some inexpensive starlight mints and some tealights. We filled the jars (with various amounts) of starlight mints (both green and red) and added the tealights. I wrapped the top of the jar with raffia (you could also use that thin star tinsel or fabric). We then took pine cones that we had rescued from the church yard and more old-fashioned Christmas candy and made a tablescape. It was really unique and got lots of attention! You could use any kind of Christmas candy you wanted to...gum drops, whatever.

4. A little bit of this and that
If you are really in a pinch try using a little bit of this and that. Get some sort of clear glass plate or platter (or whatever color scheme you are trying to go with), a few long candle tapers or one big chunky candle, a few pretty Christmas bulbs and go cut off some greenery from a nearby evergreen bush or tree. Just check for bugs and be sure not to cut too don't want any kindling! Create a little scene inside your plate or platter with the candles, bulbs and greenery.

5. Christmas Bulbs
And speaking of Christmas Bulbs, one year we had an overabundance of rather abused and neglected bulbs left over from our tree trimming party. We just simply spray painted them to freshen them up and filled a variety of large glass candle holders, bowls, etc. with them. We added some of that thin star tinsel garland woven in amongst them. You can also use some silver or gold tinsel itself.

6. Illuminating Luminaries
One year after Christmas our local Hobby Lobby store had marked down their merchandise to a whopping 90% off. I spent just a little money on a lot of stuff. Among my treasures were dozens and dozens of those little paper gift bags. These bags were a little Victorian looking. The next year when it was time to decorate the tables again for the Church Christmas dinner we pulled these out. We spent an afternoon poking a few holes in them and filling them partly with sand. They became a very pretty addition to our Christmas Tables.

7. Wrap It Up
As I stated above, I like using Christmas wrapping paper as table covering, either has a runner or the table covering itself. You can take that idea a bit farther and make the table a big present. Just use some wide ribbon and crisscross both the height and the width of the table...adding a big bow in the center. You could also wrap a variety of boxes (nothing too big) and make a tablescape with wrapped presents, curling ribbon and a few votives.

8. Hostess with the Mostest
One unique way to decorate your tables is to enlist the ladies (or fellows) of your church to "adopt" a table. They would be in charge of decorating one table. There are so many ways to make this idea extra special. They could add old family Christmas photos, small favors or treats that are their specialty. Now just a warning to the know your congregation best. We have had some ladies groups that would have eaten this challenge up. Other's would have been a bit put out. You decide if this idea could work for you...and make it completely voluntary.

Here is a link to Creative Ladies Ministry. Julia has lots of links and ideas. This particular link is for her "Baking Up Christmas" theme and has some cute decorating ideas.


Anonymous said...

Great tips! Very creative & thrifty too. I too shop the after Christmas 90% off sale and load up for the next year. Especially liked the idea of cutting the tablecloths into runners- never thought of that.
Thanx for your thoughtful tips!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas. This has been most helpful. Creative and Thrifty is the best part as we don't have a lot of money for our event.

Thanks again for your tips.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any ideas for a Ladies Communion breakfast?

Unknown said...

We did a thing at our church called an all church Birthday Party. People in the church would adopt a month and decorate a table for each month. You only need 12 people to make this work.At the Birthday party members sat at the table of the of the their Birthday month. This makes people sit with members they may not normally sit with. The children in the church would go around asking different people what month their BD was in.We made this a yearly event. Each year it was amazing the different ideas people came up with to decorate the tables.