Tables being set for Friends of Library Christmas Luncheon

This striking table gives low-budget items a high-dollar look. The designer printed the cardinal pictures from her computer, covered them with clear contact paper, and glued them to black plates to add color and interest. Since food is served on a clear plastic plates, the decorated plates became chargers. She sewed the tablecloth and chair covers from toile fabric and made napkin rings of ribbon. Live poinsettias are from Walmart.

(Rockwall) November 7, 2012 – What can a few very determined women accomplish when they put their heads and hands together?

This bargain savvy decorator shops in January/February, and found the large Santa at Savoy, a shop once located at The Harbor. Using traditional red, she brought in lime green as an accent, made the small table runner and matching chair backs out of red calico, and found the plates at Hobby Lobby. The napkin rings are Santa's belt buckle and are made out of cardboard. Rhinestones were glued onto the red chargers to add extra sparkle.
This designer used some of her collection of rare vaseline glass (also known as uranium glass). The color scheme of black, gold and chartreuse is reinforced by the black napkins and layered placemats, gold chargers and china, and the perfectly matching poinsettia wrapped in gold foil.

Ask Nell Welborn, founder of the annual Friends of the Rockwall County Library Christmas Luncheon that will observe its 10th anniversary on December 11, 2012.

“As Friends president in 2003-04, one of my stated goals was to increase the revenue from our fundraising luncheons known as Lunch Baskets,” said Welborn.

One of the ladies mentioned a luncheon at her church and the idea resonated with  Welborn.  She thought that if she could get volunteers to create tabletop designs and set tables using their own china, flatware, glassware, linens, and centerpiece, people would pay money to view the beautiful tables and enjoy a catered lunch.

Welborn says she also saw an opportunity to maximize the profits by asking local businesses to sign on as sponsors.

The first year the luncheon drew 184 guests.  The event has grown in popularity, and people begin calling for reservations as early as July and August.  Seats now sell out early and the waiting list starts in September.

The Christmas Luncheon is held in The Center at Rockwall CityPlace.  The event requires a catering kitchen and this is the largest public space of its type in Rockwall.  The room will accommodate a maximum of 30 tables so the event can seat 240 to 250 guests. To make cleanup easier, food is served on clear plastic plates that allow the china to show through.

This year, entertainment will be provided by the Rockwall High School Jazz Band. The food will be presented by Zach’s Catering, and the Rockwall Women’s League will supply dessert.

Sponsors/underwriters include Jerry Price, Edward Jones Investments; Thomas R. Conner, DDS; Law Offices of Susan Satterwhite, PC; Les T. Sandknop, D.O., Family Practice; Community Bank; American National Bank; Drs. Pollock and Parckh, Rockwall Oral and Facial Surgery; Neil Stibbens, NJS Services LLC; Mary Sue Smith; Keller Williams, Rockwall; Jeffery Minth, DDS; and The Mansions of Rockwall Active Adults.

From a small idea to a big success, a committee of 20 people now helps make things run smoothly the day of the event.

For Welborn and co-chair Pat Calhoun, the luncheon is almost a year-round job.

“I have been fortunate to have Pat join me and handle the hostess recruitment and reservations.  Many of her ideas have increased efficiency, and we continue to work to make constant improvements,” said Welborn.

The creator calls this a "glitzy" table. She used Majesty Fine China, Bellvue pattern, that she bought at Mervyn's in 1994. The amber, gold and black on white makes for an elegant table. She added beaded chargers from Target and the gold butterflies used as part of the napkin ring became take home table favors for guests.

According to Welborn, “As hostesses are packing up their table after lunch, ladies come to us and say, ‘Put me down for a table for next year.  This was so much fun.”

The team agrees that the event could not happen without the people who bring their treasures and create beautiful holiday tables to share with the guests.

Proceeds from this luncheon and other Friends fundraisers directly benefit the Rockwall County Library – funding the Adult Literacy program, providing supplemental funds for books and periodicals, and supporting special programs for children at the library.

The next General Meeting of Friends of the Library will be Tuesday, February 12, 2013 in the Community Room of the Rockwall County Library. The program will be “Love Letters.”

A Spring Lunch Basket is set for Tuesday, April 9, 2013, with Sheriff Harold Eavenson presenting a program on “Schemes and Scams: How to Protect Yourself from the Bad Guys.”

For more information about the Friends organization and other events, visit

Submitted by Friends of the Rockwall County Library. 

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