3 DIY Winter Holiday Placeholders

Try these three simple but thoughtful ideas to impress guests at your next dinner party.

By: Camille Simmons

The holidays are a magical time, especially when it comes to the details in festive décor. Next time you host dinner at your home, create a cheerful holiday atmosphere with customized place settings. Adding individual place cards, complete with your guests’ names, makes everyone at the table feel special. And when you do it yourself, it adds a genuine personal touch to the dining table. Here are three simple ideas to get you started:

1. Quick Candy Canes
Fast, easy, inexpensive and festive, these quick placeholders are ideal for a large guest count.

Holiday ribbon
Candy canes* (three per guest)
Place cards with names


  1. Cut a 10-12.5 centimetre (4-5 inch) piece of your favourite holiday ribbon, set aside
  2. Take three candy canes of equal size and hold the long ends together
  3. Have the curved or hooked part of the candy canes face outward so they can stand on a flat surface
  4. Tie the three candy canes together with the holiday ribbon
  5. Lean the place card on the hooks of the candy canes and you’re done

*Tip: Colour coordinate the candy canes or ribbons with your décor or mix the flavour of the candy canes for each placeholder.

2. Personalized Ornaments
Leave an ornament at each place setting and let guests take them home as a fun, functional party favour!

Coloured or clear ornaments (one per guest)
Place cards with names
Hole puncher
Holiday ribbon


  1. Decorate your ornaments or colour coordinate pre-decorated bulbs*
  2. Place one at each place setting
  3. Use a hole punch at the top and centre of each place card and thread your piece of ribbon through the hole
  4. Thread the ribbon (attached to the place holder) through the hook or “eye” of the ornament and tie

*Tip: Create festive patterns and designs on clear, glass ornament balls with glass paint or oil-based markers. (This is a fun activity for the kids, too!)

3. Chalkboard Paint Jars
Put this placeholder idea on double duty. Not only does it act as a take-home gift for guests, it can be used as dessert too!

Jars (one per guest)
Chalkboard paint
Assorted candies


  1. Thoroughly clean and dry your set of jars
  2. Using a paintbrush and chalkboard paint, create a rectangle, circle or other favourite shape on the front of each jar and allow to dry completely
  3. Cover the chalkboard surfaces in chalk and then dust off (this makes it possible for the chalk to stick)
  4. Write the name of a guest on each jar and fill it with holiday candy

What are some of your favourite things to use to welcome guests to your table? Tell us all about them in the comment section below!

Camille is a Bay Area-based planning and decorating expert. She is the creator of Planning Pretty, a lifestyle site dedicated to sharing easy, affordable and pretty ideas for everyday living.



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