Colourful cut above
Individual place settings of velvet-red roses, pink cyclamen and holly berries deserve suitably decorative holders.
These are made using craft paper secured around mugs with glue but if, instead of glueing, you overlap long edges with double-sided tape, you could remove the paper post-Christmas. Visit The Deco Patch Place for decoupage craft papers.
Ensure Christmas is a white one with a dazzling snowy-white arrangement of wintry stems.
Pearlised honesty seed sprays, alder branches and snowberry stems can be found at many florists, but alternatively, buy everlasting stems, from £9.95 for a single honesty branch. All from Sarah Raven including glass jar vase, £34.95.
Silver candle holders
Tin cans, stripped of labels and with tops cleanly removed, provide effective silvered holders for groups of candles. White rock salt holds the candles firmly in place and makes a sparkling, frosted finish.
Display among sphagnum moss from the garden centre and up the voltage by tying red ribbon, secured in a bow, around each tin.
No more needles
With tiny fir cones, this everlasting pine garland is a great base for baubles and it won’t drop needles.
Florist Willow Crossley creates dramatic table displays with long-stemmed ornamental miniature pineapples on sale at this time of year.
Crossley arranges them with sprays of Japanese quince, cuts off the stems to make placecard holders or uses them as bases for candles, which she secures with a blob of Blu Tack. To keep pineapples upright, you may need to slice off their bases.
Magnolia minimalist magic
Create a magical festive tree with a dozen golden drops and a fistful of stems from the florist or the garden. Florist Willow Crossley’s choice is Magnolia grandiflora, with its gnarled stems and silken buds.
For more clever Crossley ideas, buy her book Flourish (Kyle Books) for £15.99 including p&p, instead of £19.99, by calling 01903 828503 and quoting ref KB HP/FF.
Make a Scandi-style Christmas tree from birch branches secured with string, rope-ladder style, and hang with natural trims such as pine cones, rose hips and seedheads.
Poinsettias on parade
Dainty miniature poinsettias, readily available, make great decorations ranged down a table or standing at individual place settings.
Display them in style by wrapping their plastic pots with scraps of insulating felt and securing with string. Or gussy up scarlet poinsettias with red felt wraps held in place with gold twine. Use felt squares from Hobby Craft.
Add some zest
Oranges studded with cloves deliver the delicious scents of Christmas. Update the Victorian pomander ball by scoring swirls and geometric patterns into the peel using a lino-cutting tool — available from Hobby Craft — and punctuating at points with a single clove.
Underscore the fragrance with the RHS Orange & Clove Scented Reed Diffuser from Wax Lyrical at £10.