tea light candles: $1
3 pears: $1.50
1 container of kumquats: $2.99
1 spool of gold-and-silver cording to hang letters: $3
florist wire: 87 cents
Coat hangers take on a whole new look when spelling out a favorite holiday word. Bend wire coat hangers to the appropriate shapes. (Be sure to wear gloves.) Consider simple words such as "Noel," "joy," "jolly," or "merry." Using florist wire, attach greenery, such as boxwood, from the yard to the hangers. Boxwood is a great choice because it lasts a long time and dries beautifully.
Continue to arrange greenery on the mantel, and add seasonal fruits to the display as well. The combination of green pears and orange kumquats is a fresh alternative to the standard Christmas color palette.
Use glasses from the cupboard to serve as votive holders. They don't have to match; mix martini, wine, and water glasses for variety. Float tea light candles and kumquats in each container. Hang greenery-covered coat-hanger letters with pretty cording, and drape along the mantel to spell out your greeting. --created by Julie Feagin Sandner