Tea Light Candle Centerpiece

If holiday shopping has put your savings account in the red, take comfort in the fact that you don’t have

If holiday shopping has put your savings account in the red, take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to spend a lot of “green” to present guests with a pretty dinner table!

For this eye-catching centerpiece, we simply wrapped pretty ribbon around inexpensive tea light candles (see instructions below) and set them on a tray along with red pillar candles and fresh cranberries.

1. Affordable tea light candles are easy to find in craft, department, discount and even grocery stores, especially around the holidays. Besides those with traditional metal bases, you may come across colored metal and clear or colored plastic bases. We chose white tea light candles for our centerpiece, but feel free to use whatever color you prefer.

2. Measure the height of the base of your tea light candles (5/8 inch is fairly standard) so you purchase the correct width of ribbon, then be creative! We used a solid green ribbon, but you can use a lace braid, plush velvet ribbon, beaded braid, sequin trim or any other decorative ribbon.

3. Wrap a piece of double-stick tape around the entire metal band on the outside of the tea light. (If you’re using a lacy ribbon, be sure the tape is transparent.) Press one end of ribbon (we used 5/8-inch ribbon) onto the tape and wrap it around the tea light until it abuts the starting point. Trim excess ribbon.

4. You can also mix and match ribbon colors by wrapping half the candles with patterned ribbon and the other half in a coordinating solid color. Make sure the color or colors work with your dishes and table linens.

5. In addition to making a centerpiece, scatter individual ribbon-wrapped tea lights on the dinner table or group them on smaller trays on other tables or the fireplace mantel. (These decorated bases can be used even after the candles have burned away. Just remove candles from plain tea light bases and place them in the decorated bases.)

6. This candle centerpiece can be made weeks in advance. Before your guests arrive, add fresh cranberries and light the candles for a creative table topper.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest