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Author Janee Pennington
Author Janee Pennington's fun and funny debut novel Meeting Eve.
Author Janee Pennington's fun and funny debut novel Meeting Eve.


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Top Ten Ideas for Votive Candle Holders:

1. Natural room deodorizers. Place a few sprigs of pine, a few cinnamon sticks or some peppermint sticks and place them around to refresh a room and fill it with scents of the season.

2. Fill with chocolate mouse, creme brulee or ice cream.

3. Fruit cups.

4. Line them up across the table and fill them with your favorite candies, berries or intermix with every other one being a candle and the next being something different.

5. At the kid's table, fill them with crayons or magic markers and have an eraseable tablecloth so the kids can have a little fun while eating.

6. Small soups or an amuse bouchee.

7. Use as a donation holder for your favorite charity.

8. Plant succulents and any other small plants. Herbs are beautiful in votive holders.

9. During your meal, write what your wishes or dreams are for the new year and place them in the holder. You can even read each others allowed or keep them in a secret place and discuss them during the next year's get together.

10. Write a name on the glass with a craft pen, decorate with glitter and use for place cards at the table.

Most of all get creative! And feel free to list your ideas in the comment section for others to see!  Happy holidays everyone!
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Story Published: Dec 4, 2014 at 10:51 AM PST
Setting a festive holiday table is easier than you may think. Entrepreneur-turned-author Janee Pennington joined us to share a little of her expertise learned in her 20 years in the hospitality industry.
Janee gives us some inspiration and a few simple ways to take the stress out of your tabletop design for your special occasions:
Start early by getting inspired! Whether it’s a photo in a magazine, a floral design, a pattern off your tablecloth or perhaps it’s something online or from outdoors.
Take Inventory of what you already have available in your home. Most people already have some sort of plain tablecloth. You can also use a print though if you’re layering, it can make the design a bit more challenging. Try re-purposing household items such as a throw or a scarf to create an overlay. You can also bring plants from outside to use in a centerpiece or napkin rings.
Once you have your theme, collect the additional items you need such as candles, placemats, centerpiece, glassware, flatware, etc… I love collecting finds from specialty stores, thrift stores or discount department stores. And if there is a chance others may stop by, have additional place settings ready to go yet have them tucked away nearby.
Be prepared. Set your table design a couple days beforehand so you have time to run out for any last-minute buys. Cover it with a sheet or plastic so it doesn’t get dusty.
Janee's debut novel, novel Meeting Eve, based on her many experiences in the hospitality industry. It's a funny, fast-paced, absorbing read, that she hopes will inspire everyone to chase their dreams
and live passionately.
For more information on setting a holiday table for the book Meeting Eve, visit Janee's website.  There you can connect with her on social media where she'll be posting daily entertaining tips for the holidays.
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Please enjoy my holiday tabletop design segment with host Helen Raptis on am northwest at KATU (ABC) Portland. I set the tables with one minute to spare and almost got hit by one of the cameras when I entered the studio. I joked with a few members of the audience by saying, "I can read the headline now..."lady gets hits by camera before her TV segment - ends up in hospital". Thankfully, this didn't happen and after 22 years of not being on TV, Helen loved the tables, the audience loved them and I hope you will, too! 

My sincere appreciation for sponsorship from these amazing northwest vendors:,, and
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