December brings many holiday-related events and festivities, but my absolute favorite is the annual Ladies Ornament Exchange my church puts together.
I completely love this event! We all sit at festively decorated tables, enjoy a meal together, sing Christmas and worship songs, listen to an uplifting message (presented by our pastor’s wife this year), and then exchange Christmas ornaments we’ve brought. Our church has organized this event for the past six years, and I’ve been honored to be a table host for the past five years.
As a table hostess, one of my primary responsibilities (in addition to praying for the ladies at my table and making them feel welcome) is to choose a theme and decorate my table. The table hostesses provide everything needed, including place settings, decorations, and even a small favor for the ladies to take home at the end of the event. I’ve had a lot of fun with this over the years, and I’ve played with both traditional and non-traditional themes. I’ve also tried to come up with unique favors each year that go along with the feel of the season. I always have my eyes open for a good deal – I scored 9 of these sets for $1 each – that’s $9 total – after Christmas at a Bath & Body Works outlet. You can’t beat that! 🙂
The first year I participated my theme was a beach-y Christmas. I decorated the table in white, aqua, silver, and tan, with sparkly seashells and glittery coral in the centerpiece. For favors I handmade ornaments full of beach sand and mini seashells.
My second year hosting I had a candy-cane theme. This was probably my favorite table out of all of them. I found the candy cane vase idea on Pinterest, and it turned out beautifully. I used 12×12 scrapbook paper as placemats, and for my favors I gave out homemade caramel popcorn in candy-cane striped bags.
Year three I tried something different again, and went with pale pinks and purples. I had found a box of ornaments in these colors at Burlington and fell in love, so even though it is not my style at all I went for it. I used the scrapbook paper idea again for placemats, and Emily had the idea to turn the plain glittery cone-shaped “tree” in the middle into a Santa hat by gluing white garland around the rim and the point. (This was the year she officially became my co-decorator). Some Hershey’s kisses added to the sparkle, and I found a bunch of mini Christmas-scented candles at Bath & Body Works on sale for the favors.
Last year’s table was probably the most unique – Emily convinced me to go with a gold and black leopard-print theme, and I still can’t believe we pulled it off. I used 12×12 paper again, with a sheer black cloth across the whole table to tone down the white tablecloth provided. I added gold poinsettias in the centerpiece, along with some leopard pieces to tie it all in. We even found leopard-print poinsettias to tie the silverware together! Each seat had a small black cylindrical box topped with a gold bow, which gave the table the Christmas-y feel it might have otherwise lacked. The boxes held my guests’ favors – a pair of fun fuzzy socks.
This year Emily again was my co-designer. After Christmas last year we found some cute polar bears on clearance at Target, and she immediately decided that we were going to do a woodland forest. We found more animals (ornaments), and some mushrooms, as well as some cute moose napkins. We threw in mason jars for drinking glasses with striped straws, as well as a huge burlap runner. A few mini trees in the dollar bins at Target (they were $3 each), some fake snow, pinecones, silver and brown glitter ornaments, and mini LED lights, and the table was done!
Emily and I are super excited about next year’s table theme – we’ve already started buying things for the table! But I’ll give you a couple of clues: first, I showed a picture of one of my favorite tables in this post. Second, part of my table decor already made an appearance at this year’s event:
Any guesses? 😉