Okay, I'm not an expert at "entertaining". I know people who really dress things up well - candles burning all around, fresh flowers on the table, that sort of stuff. I wish I could be like that. And I try, in my own way. Which means I'm always on the lookout for cool things to spice up my decor and food spreads. I'm also budget-conscious. So if I can find some chichi idea that I can do myself for less, I jump on it. One of my favorites for the holidays is chocolate-covered spoons. They seem like a luxury, but they're so easy to make and inexpensive too. If you're hosting a holiday party, try making these to set out by your coffee (or make a set of them and package up with hot chocolate or coffee as a gift). Here's a recipe I clipped out of the Chicago Tribune a few years back (if you do a Google search for "chocolate spoons" you'll find a ton of recipes, most very similar). I've used this one. It works great.
Melt 12 oz. of chocolate chips in a 2-cup microwave-safe bowl on medium (50% power) for 2 minutes. Stir. Repeat for 1-minute intervals until melted.
Dip a plastic spoon in the melted chocolate to cover the spoon bowl; tap handle against bowl to smooth and remove excess chocolate.
Place spoon on a wax-paper-lined jellyroll pan (I put mine on a cookie sheet). Repeat, making 24 chocolate spoons; refrigerate 10 minutes to set.
Melt white chocolate chips, following the directions given above. Drizzle white chocolate over the chocolate spoons to decorate. (I've seen them also decorated with colored sugar).
If you want to give these as gifts simply wrap each one in plastic wrap or cellophane and tie with a ribbon.
Note: The above instructions from the Tribune suggest this will only make 24 spoons. They must have been very generous with the amount of chocolate on each spoon. I tapped the excess off and still had enough for nearly 3 dozen spoons and 2 dozen pretzel rods (I was tired of doing spoons. For pretzel rods, just dunk 2/3 of the rod into the chocolate, let set for a few minutes in the fridge, then roll in sprinkles and return to fridge until completely set).
For more ideas like this and other information on creating inexpensive gifts and decorations, check out the new book, Pampering Gifts: Crafting a Ministry of Treating People Well For Less.