Last-minute quick and easy holiday decor ideas
Fire and ice
A repurposed bundt cake pan becomes an ice sculpture luminaria mold. Arrange holiday greens, cranberries or other decorative sprigs inside, fill with water and place in freezer or outside if it's cold enough, leaving room for the ice to expand.. When frozen solid, unmold and place a votive candle in the cavity.
Trim the tree
Shape poster board into tall slender cones and cover with fabric and trim. Placed atop tall candlesticks, they look like those high-end tabletop pedestal Christmas trees you'd otherwise pay dearly for.
Steal the silver
For an easy centerpiece, gather your silver and silver-plated pieces on one or more silver trays. Arrange in pleasing groupings, layering and stacking them, then add silver ornaments for a sophisticated look or ornaments in various colors for a more whimsical design. Add candles for reflective sparkle.
Christmas tree pancakes
Mix up your favorite pancake mix, add green food coloring, and pour on the griddle in graduated sizes. Cook, stack from largest to smallest, and frost "branches" with canned whipped cream. For a more grown-up presentation, omit food coloring, decorate your assembled "tree" with whole raspberries and small chunks of peeled kiwi fruit, and top with a slice of star fruit.
Pine for you
Pine cones go upscale with a dusting of bling. Set up two shallow bowls -- one with white glue and the other with silver or white glitter. Thin the glue with water, roll the edges of the pine cones in the glue, and then dip in glitter. Once dry, arrange on a tabletop, interspersing pillar candles and votive lights in holders.
Paper cone wreath
Carefully tear pages out of an old book and roll them into cones. Glue your newly formed cones onto a Styrofoam wreath base in a clockwise manner, and then add additional rows until filled. Spray with glitter to make it more festive.
Athletic sock snowman
As simple as a children's craft or as complex as a handmade doll, athletic tube socks become charming tabletop snowmen. Pour a handful of rice into the toe and tie off with string. Stuff the second section with polyester stuffing, tie off, then repeat with the next section. Decorate with glued-on buttons or pompoms for eyes and coal buttons, plus fabric scraps for a carrot nose and a scarf around the neck. Use a baby sock to fashion a watch cap; tie off the toe end, turn inside out and fit it on your snowman's head, hiding the ribbed top of the tube sock.
Scoop on fruit
Whole fruits make inexpensive tea-light holders. Use large oranges, apples, pomegranates and pears. With a spoon or ice cream scoop, carve out a depression large enough to hold a tea light. If the fruit won't stand upright, cut a small slice to level the bottom. For oranges, poke holes with a toothpick and stud with cloves. Place on a tray with holly or evergreens for a natural centerpiece.
Collections shine when grouped together and featured. If you collect teddy bears, gather them on a special chair. Add bits of holiday color by giving them scarves or other themed items that celebrate the season. Display other collections on a mantel or tabletop with a string of lights draped between items.
Create rustic (and low-cost) seating cards for the dinner table with branching twigs cut to size. Leave plain or cover with acrylic paint to match tableware. Trace a leaf shape onto decorative paper, cut out and glue it to the branch. Write your guests’ names with a gold or silver leaf pen.