Here are a few ideas for making centerpieces:
• Make luminaries for the tables. Fill white paper bags ¼ way with white sand. Place candles in small jars and place jars in bag.
• Since real flowers are very expensive, use fake flowers. They are less expensive and look great.
• Use helium balloons with fancy ribbons tied to small decorative sandbags.
• Consider decorating seasonal potted flowering plants with foil or pretty paper. Before everyone arrives, place a number under one of the plates on each table. At the end of your meeting, the person with the number takes the plant home.
• Use themes Stepping Up To (volunteer, mission, bus, etc.) or In Their/His/Her Steps. Collect shoes from friends (men’s and women’s) or thrift stores. Spray paint the shoes gold or silver or your theme color. Then arrange the shoes in the center of the tables and slip flowers and candles.
• Use tissue to wrap canning, recycled mayo, or pickle jars. Tie ribbon that matches the tissue paper around the neck of the jar. Place inexpensive flowers in jar.
• For fall or winter centerpieces use free items and natural items such as pinecones, wild berries, acorns or wild nuts or anything native to your area. Use spray paint, empty cans, glue gun, and put items together for a beautiful nature centerpiece. Examples: Hollow out a small pumpkin and place a pot of marigolds or garden mums and place in a small basket with the pumpkin lid leaning against the arrangement.
• For Christmas or winter banquets, purchase a package Chinette plates. Turn plates upside down and hot glue pinecones around the outer edge of the plates. Take a bunch of the pine branches and pine needles and glue them to the plate. In the center of the plate, place a glass votive candle holder w/candle. Spray the entire plate with fake snow to make it look like it’s just had a light dusting of snowfall.
• For fall, make “scare-crow” centerpieces. Use old children’s clothing, some stuffing, and hay. Find tiny sized jeans and little flannel shirts at yard sales or thrift stores. Allow some bits of hay to stick out of the arm and leg openings. Stuff the body with old rags or even newspaper until they are as plump. Hot glue the openings shut. Make the head out of an old tan sock with features drawn on and hay or yarn glued on for hair. Place a hat on its head. Place a scarecrow on each table sitting among fall vegetables or pumpkins. Your scarecrow will probably need to lean against something unless you put him on a stick for support.
• For an elegant centerpiece at Christmas, gather long, thin sticks about 2or 3 feet long. Spray paint them white. Add a bit of glitter. Place iridescent streamers into an old, clear florists’ holder. Arrange Christmas flowers and several of the painted branches into the holder. If you can’t find 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 ribbon. To dress up the area under the “arrangement”, scatter fake snow or confetti.

If you plan on lighting the candles you are placing in your centerpieces, always use candles that are enclosed in glass or metal holders.

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