Add a touch of whimsy or elegance to your party with Christmas centerpieces. You can make them quickly and inexpensively with everyday objects, such as fruit and candles, and guests will appreciate the effort. Just remember to maintain balance. If you have a tree full of metallic trimmings, keep your centerpieces simple.
Insert cloves into an orange rind. The design is up to you, but patterns that follow the natural shape of the orange work best, such as swirls or lines. Place seven of the clove-studded oranges in a large bowl and fill gaps with small pinecones, metallic bulbs or other Christmas decorations.
Brush a mixture of one egg and 2 tbsp. water over plums, pears and apples, then coat fruit with sugar. For a light dusting, sprinkle sugar for a gradual buildup of layers. For a thick coating, roll the fruit in a bed of sugar. Let them dry, then arrange the sugared fruit around the base of a large pillar candle or a grouping of similar sized candles. Fill in any gaps with artificial picks.
Place a layer of dry moss in the center of a platter, then add five to seven artificial berries. Put a round glass bowl right side down over the moss and berries.Tuck in any outstanding moss so the bowl sits level. Pull and thin a few strands of moss to go around the base of the bowl, then add a few berries to complete.
Cut 99 toothpicks in half with floral shears, then embed them into 40 large and 162 small spice drops. Insert the large spice drops in rows around the base of 9½- by 3¾-inch Styrofoam cone. Follow with small spice drops. Top with a large piece of candy. Use licorice as garland (see Tips).