Santa's checking his list and so are you, finalizing all the details for a happy holiday. You've got the gifts, the cookies are made and now it's time to set the table. Here are some easy Christmas centerpiece ideas that are elegant and affordable.

1. Use a table runner as a backdrop for your Christmas table centerpiece. Pier 1 Import or Target usually have affordable and elegant table runners for the holiday season. Look for something that matches existing dinnerware and that also has a bit of holiday sparkle. A table runner will last for several years and costs from $30 to $50. If money is tight, wait until they go on sale after the holiday and stock up for next year (it's a good idea to have more than one!).

2. Select a candle holder. It's not a Christmas table centerpiece without candles casting their magical glow. The kind of candle holder is a matter of personal taste and style. Almost anything will work. Use candlesticks already in the cupboard or venture out to see what retailers have available. Craft stores often have a large selection of glassware and candle holders at low prices, but even Crate and Barrel has delicate glass candle holders for less than $5. Unique design is very affordable with this element of Christmas table centerpieces so take the time to look for something distinctive here.

3.Include fruits and greenery of the season. These can and should also be combined with the candle holders. Some examples of how plants could be used include:

-A glass hurricane filled with cranberries and a few pinecones, topped with a large pillar candle is natural way to make inexpensive Christmas centerpieces.

-Evergreen branches can be set along the middle of the table runner to tie everything together.

-Poinsettas are a great way to make a Christmas table centerpiece, although go for the small ones so guests can still see each other across from the table.

-Poinsettas (and other flowers) can also be put in bud vases at intervals across the length of the table for an elegant Christmas centerpiece. If you don't have 5 or 6 bud vases handy, carbonated beverage bottles could be upcycled as a stand in.

-Small Rosemary trees are often on sale at local grocers this time of year and they look just like tiny Christmas trees. This would be an ideal Christmas centerpiece that also provides fresh herbs for cooking (stuff the Rosemary under the skin of the Christmas turkey). Tie a wide ribbon around the pot in a coordinating color as a finishing touch.

4.Use ornaments in one of the following ways:

-Put tree ornaments in a pretty glass bowl for a quick, cheap and festive centerpiece.

-Use an ornament tree as the Christmas centerpiece

-Lay ornaments on top of evergreen boughs for the length of the table.

-Set large ornaments on top of candle pedestals to make striking Christmas table centerpieces. For the best visual effect, use pedestals of varying heights.

While these ideas are a good way to make use of ornaments that didn't make it onto the tree, it's a bit of a modern look and may clash if your home has a more traditional style.

5.Have a collection of Santas, snowmen or other series of Christmas figurines? Why not use them and create inexpensive Christmas centerpieces with items you already own?