Know when to wrap 'em, when to twist 'em up, and when to go for fun. We're talking about napkins, of course. They're the easiest, most elegant way to dress up your holiday place settings—and add a big serving of personality. Here are nine sweet and simple techniques. Shuffle through them; we wager you'll find a winner.
Warm metallic accents and a little greenery bring out the sparkle in earthy, neutral plates. The sleek, modern flatware coordinates with the surprise tool that we chose to fasten the magnolia-leaf napkin band: a knitting needle. To assemble it, simply punch holes at either end of the leaf with a hole punch, and write on a guest's name with a gold paint pen. Then set the leaf atop the napkin, and thread the needle into the leaf, underneath the napkin, and back up through the leaf to secure it.
Elegance to the Letter
An indigo dinner napkin punctuates any classic blue-and-white pattern. To turn it into an invitation for guests to take a seat, fold it envelope-style, slide a handwritten menu inside, and secure it with a wax seal featuring a family initial. (Keep linens pristine by making seals on wax paper, then sticking them to "envelopes" with double-sided tape.) To polish off the scene, break out your finest silver.
If you like to live on the bright side, dress up your colorful patterned plates with matte-finish flatware and a charming bow topper: Cinch a napkin in the middle using a playful elastic adorned with wooden beads. Add a circle name tag for each guest to round out the look.
Serene and Centered
The subtle shades and textures of marble (or stone) dinnerware make a great backdrop for a concept cut from a similar cloth. Personalize smooth river rocks with each guest's name, spelled out in gold stickers. Then up the zen glow further with shining cutlery, sepia-tone glasses, and soft oatmeal-colored linens. When the meal’s over, encourage everyone to slip her keepsake in her pocket.
Foraged With Flair
To enliven a rustic look, fall for this butternut-and-amber color palette, which offers a contemporary spin on autumn's traditional deep oranges and browns. Set the scene with vibrant linens, glasses, and wood-handled flatware, and arrange a woodsy welcome: We nestled a small teak bowl of nuts and acorns near the plate's glorious mushroom, and tucked names written on slips of paper into walnut shells.
Make a Pocket
It's easy as 1-2-3! Start with a square dinner napkin and give it a three-way fold for a handy pocket.
Wrap It Around
Make something that works double-duty: A Thanksgiving menu that doubles as a place card. It makes an elegant addition to the table, especially when paired with gilded greenery and a wrapped napkin.
Add a Craft
Ready to gobble gobble? A 3-D turkey and crayons keep kids occupied. Fan out a tissue-paper honeycomb ball halfway and stick to cardstock.
Tie One On
Pair a loosely knotted napkin with a handwritten place card. It's the perfect place setting for an elegant Thanksgiving table.
Bonus idea! Watch how to make colorful turkey place cards. They are simple to create with just an accordion fold and a turkey template.