- Inexpensive Centerpiece: Decorate your table with things you already have. Take branches or pinecones from your yard and place them in a tall clear vase or lay out in the center of your table around some candles. The scent and feel of the outdoors will bring a nice touch to your holiday table.
- Leftover round glass ornaments and/or cranberries work well too. These items are extremely festive and add color to your table…either pile them in a nice clear dish or vase and place around your entertaining area.
- Use food — take red and green apples and use a tea light candle cutter to create candle holders.
- Instead of exchanging gifts, play games with the prizes being a gift from the dollar store or homemade (with a cap on the cost of making it). The games can be a questionnaire that each person has to fill out before the get-together, anonymously, and bring to the party along with a dollar store item. During the party, read the questions and all of the answers and have people guess who answered what. Ask fun questions that tell more about your guests. A few may include questions such as: “What country/state/city were you born? What day of the week were you born on? Did you go to preschool? What sports/instruments have you played?” The winner is the one who knows your guests the best.
- Be prepared. Keep make-ahead appetizers in the fridge or freezer so that you can just grab them in an entertaining pinch. Phyllo dough is awesome. You can make great apps in a matter of minutes and they taste delicious. Take strips of phyllo dough and apply an egg wash, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, twist, and bake according to package instructions. (Refrigerator biscuits are also a great ingredient for many recipes.)
Last Minute Gift Ideas:
- Homemade gifts no baking required. Give gifts that you don’t have to bake. Get a mason jar and put a boxed cookie, cake or bread mix with some fresh ingredients like dried cranberries or chocolate chips. Layer the ingredients in the jar and tie with a ribbon. Include the directions off the box on a handwritten or typed little tag!
- Need a last-minute gift on Christmas day? Go online to stores like Amazon and other online retailers. Many allow you to buy a gift certificate and email the certificate to you or your recipient 24 hours a day.
- Don’t forget the bathrooms. Add a little touch of décor by adding some greens to a bathroom shelf. Try adding some red shiny stones to the bottom of the sink (leave them there). Adds a touch of elegance to a room that will be visited, often.
- Scents are wonderful. Place some water in a pot, add cinnamon or allspice, lemon or orange rinds maybe ginger and simmer on low heat all day long (works on wood stoves as well as kitchen stoves). Do not leave the house or forget to replenish the water level throughout the day.
Got any other must-read, last minute tips? Share your ideas here.