Decorating the house, gathering around the kitchen table—Motherboard Moms tell us they love both of these activities during the holidays. So we've taken the cozy out of the kitchen and merged it with holiday decorating.
For starters, dish up warm season's greetings with plates you embellish yourself. It's as easy as this: Cut letters from red paper or have stick-on vinyl letters printed at a sign shop, then adhere to white plates and hang with plate hangers.
Silver trays in varying degrees of tarnish create an arresting holiday display on the wall above the dining table. The shimmering surfaces sparkle in the candlelight and reflect the soft light back into the room. The balanced arrangement of the pieces and their patina hold the collection together as a work of art.
No time for a visit to the florist's shop or to craft an entryway welcome? Keep it simple with white candles and clear vessels from your kitchen cupboards. Group them on a tabletop or mantel, and surround the setup with greenery, preserved leaves, and seed heads for a tasteful holiday scene.
A mix of blooms cluster casually in pink Depression-glass goblets for these creative little bouquets, which can be assembled in less than 10 minutes each. We used roses, ranunculus, tulips, snapdragons, button mums, hypericum berries, and sprigs of fresh pine. Prepare enough goblets to extend down the center of the table and, if desired, intersperse the goblets with votives and Christmas ornaments.
Who would have imagined that a humble canning jar could be so artistic? Wash and dry jars and layer the bottom with the greenery of your choice, and then add a handful or two of cranberries. Pour water into the jar, causing the cranberries to float to the top. Insert a floating candle.
Give new life to odd-lot vintage or reproduction salt and pepper shakers. Coil strands of silver-colored wire and insert them into the shaker holes. Use the wires to showcase favorite holiday or old family photos.
For a fresh holiday centerpiece, build a tiered tree with crystal candlesticks and plates or graduated cake pedestals. Use a mix of antique and new finds, or purchase clear pieces that match. To make the arrangement dazzle, add rings of boxwood and a mercury-glass bird.
Vivid and shapely Christmas candies sweeten the decor in sturdy glass kitchen canisters. The ribbon candy jazzes up a gift-wrap station but would look good displayed in a family room or den as well. Each jar has a pretty patterned paper label attached with colorful cord.
Try a unique way to display your holiday mail this season. Fill vases or jars with floral foam, decorative sand, or glass marbles. Insert silver forks, handle side down, into the support material and wrap the vases with pretty ribbon tied in a bow. Slot the greeting cards through the tines of the forks and arrange on an entry table, sideboard, or sofa table.
Golden and ivory hues combine with evergreen to create this welcoming Christmas table. Keep cross-table conversation barrier free while still elegantly decorated with a low centerpiece and a dramatically festooned chandelier above. Weave evergreen boughs and golden ribbon through the arms and dangle sparkling stars and silver flatware from the chandelier.
A flurry of iced cookies, glass stars, and miniature ball ornaments cascades from a glass chandelier. Hung at different heights, the mix of materials complements the Christmas table's centerpiece. Hang the cookies from the chandelier with clear fishing wire to create the appearance of falling snow.
Make a magical wreath with cookie cutters. Purchase a bag of seasonal colored cookie cutters for a few bucks or use vintage pieces you've collected. Form the cutter shapes into a circle, and then wire the pieces together. Attach a pretty bow with florist's wire and hang the wreath from a nail.
After you've finished baking the last batch of sugar cookies, keep those cutters working and create a seasonal greeting. Add letters to a shelf, a mantel, or entryway. Choose inexpensive cutters from a discount kitchen store for a uniform display or group a set of mismatched styles from your cupboards. Anchor each letter with poster adhesive or removable poster tape.
So simple to make, yet so pretty to admire, these star-shape ornaments begin with cookie cutters. Drill a tiny hole in one tip and use crafting wire to attach clear plastic beads or baubles that dangle in the center. Top with a ribbon bow.
Put heirloom, chipped, or mismatched china cups to good use on the Christmas tree. Tie a dainty patterned cup to a branch for an ambience reminiscent of an old-fashioned tea party. Coordinate colors and patterns of similar scale. For an extra dash of whimsy, hang silver tea strainers and spoons, too.
Grandmother's red damask tablecloth can spruce up more than the dining room table this Christmas. Make color copies of the fabric and use to wrap small gifts. Tie with seam binding, and top off with mismatched flatware turned into gift tags.
Think outside the gift box and use little kitchen knickknacks and collectibles for personalized Christmas gift tags. Serve up a unique label using an old cheese knife (upper left corner) or tag a vintage candy mold (bottom center) with the recipient's monogram for someone with a sophisticated sweet tooth.
Give tattered or stained tea towels, napkins, or tablecloths new life with this easy sewing project. Fabric scraps of all sizes and patterns stitch up into a stunning table runner. The secret to making patchwork look this elegant is to use only one color palette.
Twist your holiday traditions a bit with a new mantel treatment this Christmas. Instead of stockings, hang a treasure-stuffed organizer stitched from homespun aprons and tea towels across the mantel. Hang the organizer with hook-and-loop tape or insert grommets in the fabric to hang from hooks.
If you have some mismatched or orphan cocktail or other napkins, give them new purpose in your holiday decorating. Here, a gently aged white monogrammed cocktail napkin, with traditional punch-work border, is attached with buttons to the front of a quilted pillow cover. Basting would also be an easy way to apply the napkin and could be snipped off, if desired, after the holidays.
Make tea towels to match your holiday decor. Embellish ordinary towels by printing dishware photos uploaded to your computer onto transfer paper. Iron the perfectly patterned motifs in place on the towels and add thin ribbons and bows. Use fabric glue to adhere ribbon to towel.
Make flour-sack towels worthy of a holiday display by adding a seasonal design. Incredibly inexpensive, the towels turn festive with a simple hand-stitched design. Spend a weekend making a set for your Christmas kitchen or as hostess gifts.
When you can't find trimmings to suit your holiday decorating palette, grab a can of spray paint. Separate the caps from old Christmas balls, paint gold caps silver, and spray the balls to coordinate with your color scheme. Showcase your handiwork in snowy-white paper cups in a ceramic muffin pan. Display atop a like-colored kitchen towel.
For a striking holiday display day or night, cluster colored and clear glass bottles, jars, and vintage insulation glass in an outdoor window box. Vary heights, shapes, and colors for visual interest. Insert votives or flickering battery-operated candles to bring your window box out of winter dormancy.