Here's an idea that came to me last night as I was drifting off to sleep: You know all those Christmas catalogs that show up in your mail box? And you know how you have to plan where to set the hot dinner rolls and other hot dishes to keep from ruining your tablecloth on Christmas?
Put the two of them together! I haven't tried it yet, but why not wrap a catalog with a cloth, fasten it with tape and use it for a hotpad? Or maybe you could find a way to use part of the colorful pages without it looking like you just plopped an old catalog on the table! Ideas? I'd love to hear them.
A couple of other tips for the Christmas table:
If you don't have enough matching cloth napkins for your guests, mix two sets and stack them for a buffet or divide them evenly for a table setting. For instance, put a red one at the first place, then a green one at the next, a red one at the next, etc. Stack them for a buffet in the same way. People will think you went to a little extra effort to make your presentation cheerful.
If you don't have a big enough table cloth when the leaves are added, use a bed sheet or even a lightweight bed spread. If it's too big, fold it to fit. With the colors and types of sheets and spreads, no one will know the difference.