I am not crafty — not at all. But, I’m going to have a house full of people here next weekend for a party and I’ve put myself on an extra tight budget. The budget is going for food and beverages as well as the Christmas tree that everyone will be helping us decorate. I won’t be buying any new decorations or any fresh flowers but I still want to bring a little nature into the house.

I started experimenting today, decorating with holly from the tree in the backyard. Here’s my first creation that I might use as a centerpiece on the buffet table. At the bottom of the bowl are a bunch of holly berries that I picked off one-by-one to help reflect some color. Then I filled the bowl two-thirds full of water and added some holly branches that floated on top. A few floating tea light candles finished it off.

I’ve never floated a candle in my life, so I did a little research. A website called The Art of Doing Stuff suggest sealing the bottom of the tea light (where the metal part is) with some wax from a different candle so water doesn’t seep up and dampen the wick. I’ll definitely be trying that because although my wicks stayed lit, they had sad little flames.

I’m open to suggestions on how to improve my homemade centerpiece or how to improve the floating candles. And, if you have any other ideas for using fresh cut holly for decorating, let me know.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

DIY holiday centerpiece made with fresh holly
Fresh cut holly, some tea lights, and a pretty glass bowl come together to make a very budget-friendly, pretty centerpiece.