Decorate Paper Tableware for a Budget–Smart Christmas
Don’t be afraid to use paper tableware such as plates, cups, and napkins for Christmas entertaining and decorating. Paper goods come in many holiday motifs, but those fancy designs add to the price. Be budget-smart: Buy plain, inexpensive paper items and add a little of your own Christmas style with these fun decorating tips:
Embellish paper napkins: Stamp or stencil paper napkins with a Christmas motif to help change the ordinary into something really cool.
Purchase a large quantity of napkins with your monogram or a Christmas motif from at a wedding or party supply store that does personalized napkins. You can use the napkins for years to come.
Decorate paper tablecloths: Decorate your paper tablecloth just as you would any other type of paper. Instead of place cards (which would be odd anyway, because you’re using paper), write directly on the tablecloth for a touch of whimsy. Provide crayons at your table and then encourage your guests to draw before, during, or after dinner.
Believe it or not, you can iron paper. Just be sure that the paper you’re ironing isn’t plastic backed (it will melt), and that you use your iron on the lowest setting possible with no steam. Gradually increase the temperature of your iron if the creases are not ironing out. Never leave an iron unattended, and make sure you keep the iron moving across the paper!
Make vellum table runners: Vellum, a translucent paper, can be bought in large rolls at office supply or architectural drafting supply stores. To make a quick custom table runner, roll paper down the center of your table and trim the edges as desired. Stamp Christmas motifs or designs on the edges of your runner, or grab a paint pen in complementary colors and write along the edges to wish your guests a happy holiday, give them a blessing, or remind them of a favorite quote.
Dress up the paper cups: Ribbons, markers, paint, stamps, or attached paper adornments are creative ways to customize paper cups.
Make paper place mats: Place mats usually measure 10 x 14 inches. Cut 11-x-17-inch paper down to size, or get creative and use other paper products, such as unique shopping bags, handmade paper, mat board, or poster board. If you like a particular type of paper, but it’s not big enough to make a 10-x-14-inch place mat, you can piece odd-shaped strips of paper together to make the proper size place mat, and then tape them together on the back sides.
Keep embellishments on your paper place mats to a minimum; your place mats will mainly be used for protecting your surfaces. Decorate the edges with paint, stamps, or stencils, but keep the accents flat so that you won’t have to arrange flatware around any three-dimensional attached pieces.
Decorate paperboard food containers: Chinese food containers come in different colors and sizes and are great to have on hand for guests to take home leftovers.
You can use these containers for party favors, too. Stack gourmet cookies, pile in party mixes, or include nice little personal items like bath salts or small lotions and potions. You can put whatever you want into the containers.
You can leave them plain, or embellish them with paper cutouts, markers, paints, ribbons, stamps, iron-on monograms, or anything else you can come up with.
Use paper portion cups: Paper nut cups can be a party favorite when they hold tiny tummy yummies, such as almonds, peanuts, mints, or chocolate truffles. Plus, they’re sort of retro and cool.