Hopefully I've shown ways to use the things you have and create pretty things yourself. I don't want any of my projects to be about spending money, I want them to be about using what you have and altering or re using things for new purposes.
Your table really sets a scene and changing it regularly keeps it relevant to the season. I re made my Christmas table centrepiece and we will have this all month and on Christmas eve I'll set it all ready for Christmas day.
Using a cake stand that's not too high (you want people to be able to see each other) I've just used anything that sparkles to create something that glistens. I've used jewellery to add sparkle, chandelier crystals, glass, pearls... just a gathering of things. That's a favourite bracelet at the bottom... the big sparkly flower....
Today is special as we put up our tree and decorations. December one is my self imposed traditional day to put up the tree!
Having the table looking nice is a good start and even if someone comes for coffee it's nice to have it looking lovely. I add cut glass plates and crystal glassware to the table and the whole thing looks lit up. When you add lighting and candles things look even better! My glassware is all from op shops including my crystal champagne glasses! They are just divine and I got them all for $1 each. I still buy them whenever I see them as we use them and you get breakages. If you don't use your "good" things consider getting them out and making your table beautiful. To do this costs nothing but will make everyone feel special. No one is more special than your family. Saving things for important guests makes no sense to me. I'd rather impress my family who's opinion I value over some strangers or even friends.
My version of an advent calendar is to do something everyday in December towards a beautiful Christmas. Often I hear people say they don't feel the Christmas spirit. You know it's true Christmas is a very tough time for anyone suffering. But if really there's nothing wrong with life and you don't feel the Christmas spirit then do something wonderful to help someone. Once again this doesn't have to be about money. DO something, bake something, maybe a random act of kindness everyday... soon you will feel the Christmas spirit until it makes you cry. Then you've got it.