At any Cinco de Mayo festivities, the food and drinks (margaritas!!!!) take center stage, but it's still fun to have a festive presentation for all those tacos and tequila. If you're hosting, here are a few fun ideas to make your Cinco de Mayo table look awesome.
1. Use a serape (those brightly colored, striped, shawl-like blankets) as a tablecloth or runner, and if you have several on hand, drape them over the backs of a few chairs. If you don't have any, try to find striped placemats in punchy colors to mimic the poncho's pattern.
2. Fresh flowers are key to a festive tabletop, but think outside the box when it comes to the vase. Wash out empty Cholula hot sauce bottles, Corona or Patron bottles, or even cans from tomatoes or chipotle peppers (check the Latin food aisle at the grocery for brands like El Pato and La Costeña) and arrange fresh blooms in them.
3. Set out colorful bowls or terra cotta pots with mini cacti in them; even better if you can find grafted cactus (also called "moon cactus")--they're bright red, pink, orange or yellow instead of the typical green. Just make sure they're far enough from the food that no one has a painful run-in with the spiky plants.
4. I love using fresh fruit or veggies to add a natural element to a table. Limes are bright and colorful--perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration--plus, they make a great canvas for paints or markers (use colorful Sharpies to write your guests' names on them, or add sparkly designs with a metallic paint pen). You could also place fresh peppers or avocados in wooden bowls for a more rustic feel.
5. Mini piñatas, sombreros, or maracas all make fun and festive decor; arrange them around the center piece, along the runner, or if you're having a sit-down dinner, use them as place settings and put them right on each of the plates.