If your family is gathering for Independence Day, the holiday’s tri-color trimmings immediately set a festive atmosphere for your party.
To get guests mixing and mingling, Judy Klemm, owner of Galleries on Williams Street, suggests adding novelty or whimsical pieces to your table as an icebreaker.
“I think any time you have something unusual on the table, something different in your table settings, that’s going to be the hit of a party. People love something they haven’t seen before,” Klemm said.
The businesswoman suggests a clever seafood display with a crab crawling out of an ice bucket or napkins imprinted with humorous sayings.
“I have candles designed with ants or ladybugs crawling around the tops of them that are cute,” Klemm said.
She said if candlesticks are wrapped in wax paper then placed in the freezer overnight, they’ll burn longer. Candles in ceramic pots or glass containers may be placed in a refrigerator just until cold to accomplish the same thing.
The hostess also suggests mixing materials on your table. It doesn’t matter if guests are dining on paper plates with plastic cutlery, she said; still incorporate your Arthur Court serving pieces on the table.
Here’s where to find the merchandise featured in photos on E1 and E8.
Galleries on Williams Street 1403 Williams St.
Watermelon plate, $22.95.
Apple pie plate, $22.95.
Set of four red-checked napkins, $15.95.
Redneck Wine Glass, $15.95.
Ice cream scoop with patriotic handle, $11.
Set of four ice cream spoons with patriotic handles, $14.95.
Kohl’s, 1812 Gunbarrel Road
Sonoma picture frames, regularly $19.95, now $9.99.
Individual wire photo holder, $6.99, now $3.49.
Nesting ceramic star dishes, $34.99, now $19.25.
Blue, tin, star-shaped votive holder, $19.99, now $8.99.
Strand of metal star lights, $29.99, now $16.50.
Bi-Lo, 7804 East Brainerd Road
- Case of 12 glass canning jars, $8.92.
Target, 1816 Gunbarrel Road
American flags, set of three to a package, $1.
Stars and stripes paper napkins, $2
“People are mixing everything in their homes these days. The more interest you can create, the better,” she said.
Before hanging red, white and blue streamers or inflating balloons, consider the following ideas. Use a few key pieces in stars and stripes, then accent with red and blue accessories in solids or buffalo-checked gingham.
Remember, less is more. You don’t want your star-spangled decor to look like a fireworks explosion.
DO TRY THIS AT HOME
Here are 10 ideas that are quick, simple and inexpensive. Most can be accomplished for less than $25.
1) Create a festive atmosphere by stringing strands of lights in decorative shapes such as stars or red, white and blue lanterns. If a plug isn’t handy at your outdoor party, try the new solar light strands.
2) Fill a plastic beach bucket with sand, then insert candles, sparklers or pinwheels for a quick, simple centerpiece. After the party, children may take buckets home as favors.
3) If you’re plating dinners for guests, line a beach pail with wax paper and serve a child’s hot dog dinner and chips in it. Again, the pail doubles as a party favor that children can take home.
4) Put a disposable camera on each table, inviting guests to capture their favorite moments throughout the party. As your guests leave, present each family with a photo frame decorated in a patriotic motif to hold one of their shots. If money isn’t an object, have a frame for every guest.
Also, freestanding, shaped-wire holders for individual photos double as great place-card holders. Put one at each place so each guest may take one home.
5) Worried about stains on your good tablecloths? Cut lengths of red or blue gingham to fit tables. Use pinking shears so you don’t have to hem edges.
6) Use glass canning jars to hold silverware, flowers or the beverage you’re serving, such as lemonade with old-school, peppermint-striped, paper straws.
7) Opt for flameless, battery-operated candles wherever possible for safety reasons.
8) Make a quick, simple centerpiece by filling one-third of a glass Mason jar with red, white and blue gumballs, then insert several small flags. The gumballs will hold the flags in place. Finish with ribbon around the neck of the jar, if desired.
9) Make kids part of the party. Have paper streamers, balloons, prefabricated metallic streamers, pennants and other Fourth supplies on hand so they can decorate their wagons, trikes and bikes. Then have a driveway parade.
10) Set up an old-fashioned candy shop under a shade tree or other cool place. Fill baskets or apothecary jars with a variety of treats such as oversized spiral suckers, peppermint sticks, taffy, gumballs and penny candy. Set out cellophane bags and a scoop so guests may fill a bag to take home.
Source: Various Internet party sites
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...