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Monday, November 27, 2017

Holiday table decor for free

from the front

overhead view

This is something that I try to do when setting the table for a holiday dinner. The "work" takes about 10 minutes for 6-8 places at the table, it costs absolutely nothing, it adds decor to the table which frees me from having to do much else for appearance, can be done ahead, it's fun to do, and it wows my family every time. My mom started me on this when I was a kid, so given a simple enough pattern, this is something that elementary school-aged and older kids could do to 1) keep them entertained while mom, dad, friends are busy in the kitchen, and 2) give them something to do to contribute to the holiday meal.

Holiday napkin folds

You can fold paper or cloth napkins. Paper holds creases better than cloth, but either work. I'll post a couple of these between now and New Year's. Some are easier than others. I think the most impressive napkin folds are the ones that stand up on their own. But there are some elaborate-looking ones that are super simple to do, as well.

This is the holiday fan. This one also resembles a turkey, so I made these for Thanksgiving dinner. It is basically an accordion-pleated napkin.

square napkin

fold in half

accordion pleat, about 1" pleats

leave about 3 inches unpleated

fold the pleated napkin in half, with the non-pleated section
 sandwiched in-between the pleated sections

fold the non-pleated section in half, on the diagonal

tuck the triangle of the non-pleated section into the
accordion pleats on the back side

Voila, 1 holiday fan (or turkey)


  1. I should forward these to my son. Ever since he was little, he entertained himself with napkin origami making up all kinds of shapes. This helped keep him quiet and still while the rest of us were still eating. At least for a little bit. :)

  2. What a great idea! Hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving with your family.

  3. Awwww... leave it to you to put such a nice touch on everything.

    This is off topic, but I wanted to thank you for your suggestion to use the stem and leaves of cauliflower in a stir fry. I just tried it and it was delicious! Plus, I felt like I was eating free food. Win win, as they say!

  4. Live and learn, keeping boys, especially, entertained while the adults talk and eat is a challenge. I've never heard it referred to as napkin origami, but that sure fits.
    Kris, I did have a good Thanksgiving. It's been such a busy month that now I am thoroughly exhausted. I hope that you and your family did, as well.
    Cat, I'm glad that the cauliflower leaf/stem idea worked for you. It is exactly like getting free food.


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