Inexpensive Holiday Centerpieces

Inexpensive Holiday Centerpieces

by: Lorri

A friend in our ward was asking me ideas for inexpensive centerpieces (she has to decorate 50 tables with no budget). I took a few minutes and scoured the internet and came up with a few ideas so I thought I would pass them on since we all seem to need centerpieces from time to time and we are always on a budget. Here they are…


Elegant Centerpieces (For Christmas or any time)

At Christmas, or if you would like a more elegant centerpiece, gather fairly long, thin sticks. I try to find ones that are about 2-3 feet long. Spray paint them white. You can add a bit of glitter if you’d like. I have used old, clear florists containers (ones with fairly wide mouths) – put some of that pretty iridescent streamer stuff from the party-supply store in the jar, and then add several of the painted branches. If you can’t find enough clear containers, try using any kind of container (large coffee cans, anything) and wrap the containers with pretty tissue (kind of like florists wrap their pots, just bunch the paper up around the container, tie with curling ribbon or any other kind of ribbon that you like. To dress up the area under the “arrangement” think about scattering some of that fake snow stuff, or more of the iridescent streamers or confetti. If it has a little sparkle, it will catch your lowered light and look very pretty.

I also thought with the above idea you could take curling ribbon and tie paper clips to the branches. Then have sister bring pictures and hang them on the branches using the paperclips. Would be a great conversation piece.


We will be using pumpkins as our centerpieces. I’m going to simply tie raffia and thick, brown ribbon around the stalk and put the pumpkin on a platter of leaves painted gold. I will also scatter the gold painted leaves around the tables.

Wedding Centerpieces

I saw this in a magazine as I was looking for ideas on centerpieces. Have your parents, family and friends make copies of their wedding photos and put them in nice frames to use as centerpieces. Your guests can enjoy the look of weddings past (specially with parents and grandparents’ wedding photos which are expensive) for our centerpieces. My fiancĂ© and I are collecting pine cones of all shapes and sizes. We will be painting them gold and making wreaths out them. We are going to decorate the wreaths with a navy ribbon to match my wedding colors. In the center, we will place an extra large pillar candle (three wicks) also in navy. At my future Mother-in-Law’s suggestion, we are using cranberries.

Each table will have a round (ivy-like) bowl filled with cranberries. Sunken into the cranberries will be a white candle. The bowl will be nestled in the center of a pine wreath decorated with Christmas ribbons.

Use a Christmas theme. On our tables, we wrapped boxes (which look like presents) to hold poinsettias or some other festive plant. We are having a Christmas theme wedding. We bought low white baskets, that were on sale at Easter, and we are filling them with evergreen, poinsettias, holly and Christmas balls. On top will be a plaid bow. We purchased everything on clearance and after the holidays.

My mother is currently planning my wedding a budget. The budget did not include table decorations. She talked to a local florist. Every day or at least once a week, they toss out the old flowers that no one bought and and are too wilted to sell. My mom explained what she is doing and two of the shops let her pick up the wilted flowers once a day. My mom then dries the flowers in a food dehydrator she already had. She’s gathering up hundreds of them.

She then bought several small wicker baskets at the good will for .50-$1.00 a piece. The baskets are in perfect condition. She put a small ivy plant in each basket and arranged the ivy to cover the pot inside the basket. She then arranges the dried flowers among the ivy and adds ribbon bows.
If you gather 5-6 people around a table and give them the supplies you can make about 20 of these fairly quickly. The average cost per centerpiece is $2.00. It may sound odd with the live ivy and dried flowers, but they actually came out beautiful.
For a fall wedding, you can get miniature pumpkins to place on the tables with fall confetti tossed around them.


Edible Centerpieces

You maybe have seen the simple breadbaskets on your table at a restaurant, but your centerpieces may be an overflowing collection of Italian rolls, marble rye, pumpernickel, grissini, and other mouthwatering breads. Have your caterer provide a selection of spreads such as garlic butter, spiced butters, whipped vegetable cream cheese, virgin olive oil, or tapenade. Your guests will love digging into your centerpieces.


Centerpieces From Food

Someone recently shared with me a great, easy idea for making a table centerpiece. All you need to get started is several pounds of Red Delicious apples. The apples you can make into candle holders!
All you have to do is use a paring knife to cut a circle out of the top of the apple (removing the stem). Then use a spoon to scoop out enough apple to allow enough room for a votive candle. If you want to use a larger candle, you could scoop out more of the apple. The top of the candle should be flush with the top of the apple. If you feel a bit more talented carve a small hole on the stem ends and use the produce itself as the candleholder. Tightly fit a taper or votive candle into the pumpkins or gourds. This will work with apples too, though the duration is more limited. Whenever you use actual produce in decorating, protect your table by placing a plate, foil or plastic under the arrangement to keep moisture away from the wood.


Inexpensive Reunion Centerpieces

For inexpensive reunion centerpieces, paper bags (they can get white or even colored bags) filled with sand and containing a candle are luminaries, and very pretty. Ask the girls to bring Basketball sneakers. Place each on a sheet of colored paper (school colors, of course) and, using a small baby food jar, place greens and a few flowers inside the shoe to make a centerpiece.


Inexpensive Slogan Centerpieces

Recently we did one where we bought white gift bags with the handles, colored tissue paper and balloons. We decorated the white bags with our slogan in neon colored paints. (We used lettering sponges to paint the slogan and splash painted the rest).

This tissue paper is folded in a diamond and sticks out the top of the bag, then tie the balloons on the handles. We also used ribbon tied on the edge of the handles. These can be used over and over and changed to whatever color we want for that occasion. This also works with colored bags, and other tissues.


High School Reunion Centerpieces

For the reader who is looking for ideas for a small rural high-school reunion – think flat! Why not photocopy a yearbook and “decoupage” each table with miscellaneous photos covered by clear heavy plastic tablecloths.

Call around to the florists you have in town and ask them if you can have their leftover petals and greenery. They can save these up to a week and you can sprinkle the petals around the candles for a nice flower touch. If you tell the florist it’s for a school function and you will give them advertising in your programs I’m sure they will help for free. I have done this and I’ve been very pleased with their reactions.

You could use narrow curling ribbon, or regular ribbon, in your school colors. Sprinkle some metallic or regular confetti on the tables (not much, just a little will do) and accent with the ribbon. It creates a brilliant, formal effect in candlelight. I hope you have a wonderful reunion.

The reader may want to wrap small or medium boxes in wrapping paper (silver and gold would be festive and elegant). We have several paper outlets locally where large rolls may be purchased inexpensively and the boxes could be found from other frugal people that save them (like me!). Have a great time at the reunion!!!

Look for old hardback books in various sizes at tag sales, garage sales, church bazaars, etc. About 3-4 per table should do it. Remove any dust jackets. Spray paint the books whatever color you like. When dry, stack them & attach to each other with a little hot glue. Tie a decorative ribbon around them with a big bow on top. (That ribbon with wires in it is great). The stacks look best with several different size/thicknesses of books in the stack. We did this once for a girls softball banquet at our local high
school. I used the girls’ uniform shirts. I stuffed them with newspaper so they would stand up on the table, scrunching up the bottoms, so only the shoulder area and arms were stuffed. I asked a local nursery if we could “borrow” some blooming plants for a night. They had no problem with lending plants to us. I used chrysanthemums because they were the school color. We put the plant in the neck of the uniform so it came out the middle. It went over really well, and was extremely cheap. Didn’t cost us anything.
Just the other day I went to a lunch at church where they used a pretty fall/harvest centerpiece for the tables. They used a smallish pumpkin, a 6″ pot of marigolds and/or garden mums and a small basket. They cleaned the pumpkin out and used it as a pot holder for the flowers. The pumpkin/flowers sat in the shallow basket with the pumpkin “lid” leaning against the arrangement. It was very pretty and I’m sure didn’t cost much.

1. Go outside and start hunting up those pinecones and evergreen branches. Collect a whole bunch of them.

2. Then get a package or two of those cardboard type of plates, Chinette, I think.

3. Turn them upside down and start to hot/medium glue the pinecones around the outer edge of the plates. (do this in a haphazard kind of way…nothing in any kind of order. You never find them in order outside on the ground!)

4. Take a bunch of the pine branches and pine needles and glue them to the plate as well.

5. Now in the center of the plate, place a glass votive candle holder w/candle, or get 1 pillar candle per table and cut it in half and glue each half (or votive) on the center of the plates. (red, green or gold candles work well for this)

6. Now cover the tops of the candles and spray the entire plate with fake snow to make it look like it’s just had a light dusting of snowfall.

You now have a winter scene with candles in the center.

Take a toilet paper roll and center in a piece of fall colored fabric. Bring the fabric up and stuff in the top of the tube. Place a piece of green fabric on top and stuff in tube to replicate leaves. Use a brown lunch sack, twist it and stuff it in the top to replicate a stem. You can also do this with paper towel rolls for a variation in sizes. These would also be cute if you did some in solid, print and plaid. Put 3 in the middle of a table and sprinkle fall leaves around. The nice thing is, when you are done with your activity you have your year supply of toilet paper.

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