December 8, 2015 by Debbie Kuehn
In the tradition of that famous, time-honored song heralding this special time of year, here are 12 great ways to dress up your dinner table and perk up your holiday menu.

Big-Idea No. 1
Transform your home for the holidays with elegant and innovative table décor. Create unique candleholders out of birdseed-filled clay pots or core a few perfectly shaped red and green apples and insert tall pillar candles. Place apples on top of doilies or other décor to catch wax drips.

Big-Idea No. 2
Another great apple idea: place a mound of red and green ones in an antique wooden box or tray––or stack them tall on a platter––for a delightful twist on traditional centerpieces. Or lay two groups of Christmas tree branches end-to-end, tie together with ribbon and nestle small ornaments and votive candles (in glass holders) among branches.

Big-Idea No. 3
When guests arrive, direct them to your beautifully decorated table where you’ll be serving delicious Crab Rangoon Appetizers made with imitation crabmeat, cream cheese and spices fried in tasty won ton skins.

Big-Idea No. 4
A starched white linen tablecloth and crisp white linen napkins pleated and bound with attractive homemade napkin holders make a great base for a dazzling dinner table. For napkin holders, try red and green felt holiday-theme cutouts glued to a felt band or ribbon wrapped around the napkins.

Big-Idea No. 5
Dress up glassware by wrapping small silver or gold wire “bracelets” or charms around the stems or by hanging small bulbs and ribbons from the glass rims. Then write each guest’s name on the ribbon with a gold or silver glitter pen for an instant nameplate.

Big-Idea No. 6
For the main event, try this zesty dish: Broiled Tilapia with Sweet Potato Crust and Vanilla Cream Sauce. Ready in just 20 minutes using 5 to 6-oz. tilapia fillets, the topping is made with sweet potatoes; crust with graham crackers, roasted pecans and butter; and sauce with heavy cream, vanilla, stock and Creole spices! It’s delicious.

Big-Idea No. 7
A tasty alternative entrée is this amazing Spinach Pot Pie made with Morey’s Seasoned Grill Tilapia fillets. Lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, mushrooms and sour cream mixed with fresh baby spinach and placed between two crescent roll sheets will delight your guests, no question.

Big-Idea No. 8
After dinner, you’ll open gifts (or maybe you’ll do it before dinner if you’ve got impatient young ones around, like at my house). Wrap gifts in gorgeous handmade giftwrap made of old sheet music found in a piano bench, wallpaper from grandma’s attic, old magazines or even brown paper bags or postal wrap. Instead of bows, trim with sprays of wired glass beads, tiny ornaments, tassels, medallions or fun napkin rings.

Big-Idea No. 9
Top your exquisitely wrapped gifts with handmade gift cards. Cut interesting images from antique post cards or old magazines and color-copy them onto cream-colored heavy or textured paper for a lovely old-fashioned look. Add a touch of lace or gold netting to complete the look. Spray with a bit of perfume or include a small potpourri sachet.

Big-Idea No. 10
Depending on how hard you all worked opening all those presents, you may need to serve a small snack before your guests leave. Try some easy Smoked Salmon Fajita Roll Ups made with Morey’s Cajun Smoked Salmon, cream cheese, sour cream, fajita seasoning, Mexican cheese, onion and red pepper rolled in flour tortillas!

Big-Idea No. 11
Better yet, tell guests to stay overnight then serve yummy Marinated Salmon and Potato Pancakes in the morning. These scrumptious pancakes take just 20 minutes to prepare using Morey’s Seasoned Grill Salmon along with onions, spices, potatoes and sour cream with chives.

Big-Idea No. 12
Don’t let guests leave empty handed. Give them a homemade food gift (chutney, jellies, jams, preserves) or cooking ingredients (bottle of olive oil or seasoning) in attractive glass jars or bottles with stoppered tops or cover lids with colorful fabric and a bow. Another idea: put cookies, nuts, popcorn or other food into a cute drawstring gift bag (gingham, felt or velvet) and decorate with jute twine, wooden beads and more. Wicker baskets also made great gift boxes.

Remember, from serving tantalizing sweet potato-encrusted tilapia to hand-making napkin holders and name plates, even the smallest touches will leave big impressions on your dinner guests.

Bon appetit and Happy Holidays!