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Place-card holders can be made from tea lights, clothespins, forks, binder clips and salt shakers.

Mark spots with household items

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s offer many opportunities to host friends and family for casual and formal dinner parties.

Food and the holidays seem to go hand in hand, so if your holiday plans include hosting a dinner party, you might want to consider making your own place-card holders.

Several household items can be converted into specially themed place-card holders. While it’s helpful to save money by making them yourself, it also affords you the opportunity to personalize your table with handmade creations.

Salt and pepper shakers have lids filled with holes that make them good candidates to hold wire card holders. Simply bend 20-gauge colored wire in a loop around a thick marker, leaving both ends long enough to poke through the holes and touch the table.

Recycle old, silver-plated forks into place-card holders by bending them into new shapes. I have two types: One involves bending all the tines so they flip up and bending the handle down to create the stand that cradles the place card; another option is to leave the fork handle as is and bend the outer tines back and the middle tines forward with a curl on the ends to support the place card.

Wooden clothespins come in multiple sizes and are easy to decorate with paint or colored paper. Simply stand the clothespin on its end and insert the card into its mouth to make this style of place-card holder.

The metal base of binder clips is easy to decorate with colored paper. Standing the clip on its end and sliding the card into the silver handles results in a great place-card holder that is available in several sizes.

The thin aluminum base that holds a tea light is easy to cut and bend into a place-card holder after the candle is removed. Scissors are strong enough to cut each side (directly across from each other), leaving the circular base intact. Use your fingers to bend the aluminum in half and decorate the arched holder with patterned paper that matches the theme of your party.

Invite the kids to help make the place cards as part of Thanksgiving.

And when your dinner guests have all departed, it is a simple task to convert your place-card holders into a holiday-themed photo display by simply substituting photographs for the place cards.