It's the eleventh hour but, with a few dollar store finds and minimum effort, you still have time to make a gift, spruce up your holiday table or make a few extra ornaments.

Small fabric Christmas doilies can be sewn together and stuffed with fiber fill or a small amount of potpourri and hung with a piece of ribbon. If you can't score anymore 5 1/2" Christmas doilies from the dollar store, use some red and green felt, cut into circles or Christmas shapes like trees or candy canes. These can then be decorated with buttons, glitter or contrasting felt pieces, sewn together and filled as before. The small Christmas doilies were sold two for $1 and you can get 3 pieces of felt for a buck.

Whip up a couple of new Christmas cushions by stitching two tapestry place mats together and stuffing with fiber fill. If you sew them together with the patterns facing out and use the existing hem stitching to guide your sewing machine needle, a decorative edging results. Christmas tapestry placements are $1 each at the dollar store.

Most hosts and hostesses love the idea of using napkin rings for a special dinner but, at a cost of three or four bucks apiece, buying them from a department store can add up fast. No need to spend the money. A few strips of left over Christmas wrap, glued or taped into circles, can look wonderful. Just make sure to coordinate the paper to the napkins you're using. You don't even need special Christmas napkins. Plain red, white or green paper dinner napkins can be made Christmasy by hot gluing some wire-edged Christmas ribbon into appropriately sized circles and adding a 3-D Christmas sticker to each one. For a super-easy idea, simply buy a couple of cards of small, light Christmas ornaments and put the napkin through the hanging string. If the string that comes with the ornaments is too small, replace it with a thin piece of ribbon. Tell friends and family that they can take these keepsakes home with them, if they want to. A 9' roll of wire-edged ribbon is only a buck and the miniature ornaments come on a card of six for $1. A package of 20 plain paper napkins is $1.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes ideas and tips for decorating using only items from the dollar store.


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