Following are pointers on livening up your Chanukah table from "Kosher by Design" by Susie Fishbein (Mesorah, 2003).
1. In the Beginning: Dress your dining table with a snazzy tablecloth. A gold one will glitter. Using narrow runners and/or yards of wide ribbons, preferably in shades of blue and gold, weave them under and above each other, creating a lattice effect.
2. Gifted Settings: Create place settings that look like Chanukah presents by using placemat-sized rectangles of Styrofoam (about 2-inches thick). Cover them with blue fabric. Straight pins will secure the fabric to the underside of rectangles. To simulate a bow, wrap gold tulle ribbon on a diagonal around two opposite corners of rectangles.
3. Box Appeal: Find boxes about 3-inches square. Cover boxes with Mylar foil wrapping paper. Tie a bow around them with gold ribbon. With two-sided tape, attach them to the upper left-hand corner of placemats.
4. Got the Gelt: In front of each placemat, situate a gold netted sack of Chanukah gelt. Write each guest's name in gold ink on place cards. Then, with narrow gold ribbon, tie place cards to gelt sacks.
5. Twinkling Fantasy: Flood the center of the table with as many blue votive candleholders as you can find in every size and shape. Fill them with candles and light just before guests arrive.
6. Gaming Table: Scatter around dreidels in varying sizes and shapes, ones made from silver, gold, porcelain, plastic, wood -- and anything blue. Antique dreidels are particularly decorative.
7. Blue Plate Special: Set the table with blue dishes, preferably ones that mix and match. Place a salad plate of one pattern over a dinner plate of another. Wal-Mart sells glass blue plates for $1.25 each.
8. Color Wave Silverware: Set the table with gold-plated flatware or stainless steel with blue plastic handles.
9. Crystal Collection: Buy glasses and wine goblets with blue striations or purchase glassware with a blue tint, found at stores such as Crate and Barrel.
10. Clear Water: Buy mineral water in blue bottles.
11. Fruit of the Vine: Buy wine in blue bottles.
12. Congratulations: You've created a show-stopping setting! Photograph your table for inspiration when planning your next holiday meal.
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