If you were planning to do the paper plate version of Christmas, here’s a crafty way of being both economical and stylish: buy cheap, basic cups and sketch your own pictures on them with coloured markers. You could go for classic Yuletide designs like stars or reindeer or you could write everyone’s name in flowing calligraphy or you could outsource this task to the children or you could get everyone to design their own when they were milling around, waiting for the turkey to cook.
You can draw on disposable tablecloths too (or maybe scatter markers along the table as part of the decor and let the diners doodle) but confine decoration on paper plates to the rims: you don’t want to be eating ink.
I invited my friend Carol round for lunch and she was delighted to see a box of books in my hallway… until I told her they were the books I’d bought from the school fete. I really should have thought to get them out of sight before she came round. (Maybe we could meet in cafes from now on.)
 Yule cats feasting on children are also classic but don’t count as suitable subject matter for family gatherings.
 To whom you may need to issue some design guidelines, if there’s any chance they’d choose to sketch Yule cats.
 My niece Emma painted paper plates with food dye for a birthday party which looked lovely stacked up ready to go but became a muddy mess once the gravy was dished out.