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Romans are believed to be the first people to formally use napkins when dining. Back then one large napkin was tied around the neck and a servant stood nearby with a smaller napkin that was often dipped in scented water for dabbing at the mouth. Throughout history napkins and linens have held a special place in the art of fine entertaining. Emily Post actually wrote that “only double damask would do and fancy foldings are not in good taste.”

Thankfully dining etiquette has relaxed over the years and today paper products are the norm for most meals. But, we can’t think of a better way to use those lovely cloth linens that are sitting in your closets than during the holidays. These simple techniques of folding will make your table extra special.

Lover’s Knot

  1. Iron the napkin
  2. Fold in half horizontally
  3. Fold in half again
  4. Fold in half one more time
  5. You should have a long folded napkin that is about 3” wide and the length of the napkin
  6. Approximately one third of the way from the left, fold down the edge of the napkin so that the folded edge is vertical (photo #1 below)
  7. Fold the right half of the strip down from the same point of the top edge, folding it back (photo #2 below)
  8. Fold the longer end of the strip back a second time, swing it in front of the right side (photo #3 below)

Presents

This is an easy and cute way to present napkins for a buffet. Simply fold napkins into small squares and tie a bow around them as you would a gift. This is a great way to use up leftover pieces of ribbon and notions you may have around the house.