The Scottish people are very close to their heritage and traditions. They enjoy gathering with friends and family over haggis and whiskey to celebrate Scotland's many traditional holidays such as Burns Night, Hogmanay and St. Andrew's Day. Whether you are of Scottish descent or not, there are many table decorations that can be made at home to bring the feel of Scotland to your next dinner party. Making them may take a little bit of effort, but as famed Scottish novelist James Matthew Barrie said, "It is not real work unless you would rather be doing something else."
Scotland's national flag, the Saltire, represents St. Andrew, Scotland's patron saint. They also have a second, unofficial flag called the Lion Rampant which is the Royal Standard, or Royal Coat of Arms, of the Scottish King and Queen.
The Burns Night celebration is meant to honour the life of poet Robert Burns. The Lion Rampant flag's vivid gold and red colours are normally associated with Burns Night. Set the table with a gold tablecloth and red plaid runner. The runner can be made by purchasing a length of plaid fabric. Cut it to one and one-half times the length of the table, and approximately 12 inches wide. Use a sewing machine to create a simple hem around the edges, or simply pull out threads along the edges to create fringe. Set it in the middle of the table lengthwise. Fill a glass trifle bowl with fresh lemons and bright red apples and set in the centre of the table for a festive centrepiece.
The Saltire has a navy blue background with white stripes going from corner to corner to form an X. Decorate the table for St. Andrew's Day using a blue tablecloth and white plates and napkins. Set a shallow glass bowl in the centre of the table. Use blue and silver curling ribbon to form curls approximately six inches long. Fill the bowl with the ribbon curls.
The Scots are well known for their tartans or plaids, and clans and families had their own distinctive tartans. Use plaid fabric to make a tablecloth, runner, placemats or napkins for a festive Scottish table. Use thin strips of plaid ribbon in different colours and tie a bow around the stem of the wine glasses for instant, homemade wine glass markers that will add that Scottish flair to the table.
Contact your local florist or nursery and purchase some thistle, the national flower of Scotland. Use small clear juice glasses as vases and make a small bouquet with the thistle in each glass. Tie strips of one-inch thick plaid ribbon around the middle of the glass and secure with a bow. Place one vase by each place setting.
Cut out Scottish terrier silhouettes approximately 3 inches wide out of black cardboard. Write each guest's name on them in white gel pen and set by each place setting for quick and easy table name tags.
Cut a strip of stiff plaid ribbon, such as French ribbon, so that it forms a circle the appropriate size for the centre of the table. Form a circle with the ribbon and glue the ends together. Cut out a round of green or red fabric approximately one and one-half times the diameter of the ribbon circle. Glue the cut ends of the fabric to the inside of the ribbon and stuff it lightly with tissue paper. Set in the centre of the table, fabric side up, and shape it to form a traditional Scottish tam, or beret. Glue a coordinating pom-pom in the centre if desired.