Q. What is the best way to create a great country-style Christmas?
A. Adding a personal touch to the holiday season is a great way to change up the ho-hum of a red and green Christmas. To add a down-home touch to your holiday table, check out some of these recommendations:
- Place pie pans or casserole dishes inside grapevine wreaths (available in craft stores) decorated with festive berries or greenery.
- Pile a large bowl high with clove-studded oranges for a fragrant and festive centerpiece. Use a skewer to make small holes in the rind of a whole orange. Insert whole cloves into the holes.
- Don't have enough of one china or flatware pattern for all of your guests? Mix and match patterns with similar or complementary colors to create eclectic, yet homey, place settings.
- Use small metal gelatin molds as holders for tea-light candles.
- Instead of traditional place cards, decorate gingerbread cookies and write guests' names in frosting.
Q. Do you have any shortcuts that can help busy people prepare for Christmas dinner?
A. If the thought of preparing Christmas dinner filling you with yuletide dread, take a shortcut this year by purchasing the main dish.
Many large supermarkets now sell roasted turkeys for the holidays. Just heat and serve with your favorite homemade side dishes and desserts. Remember to order in advance.
To add a festive touch to cold beverages, freeze cranberries and/or mint sprigs in ice cubes. Fill decorative bags with small Christmas cookies and place them in a basket by the door for perfect party favors or gifts for unexpected guests.