But I'm vowing to add a third category this holiday season: tidied and topped with something simple and pretty. As a start, I dug out this little fall centerpiece I pulled together a few years ago, inspired by Martha Stewart. I love the mix of colors, textures and scents—the rustic imperfection. It's also self-contained, easily embellished and low-profile, so you can talk to your companion across the dinner table without interference.
Want to give it a try? Let me break it down.
You'll need a few bags of coffee beans, five or more round glass vases, raffia, a votive candle for each vase (I chose pumpkin spice, which is the only candle scent I can stomach) and a round or square pan or tray. Aside from the coffee beans, you should be able to find the supplies at Michael's or A.C. Moore.
Wind the raffia around each vase several times and knot.