"A couple of special touches will make it feel like a more special gathering," says Taryn Mohrman, senior lifestyle editor at Woman's Day magazine.
She recommends keeping things simple, adding only one or two decorative items to the table — for example, a centerpiece and place cards. And pick projects you'll enjoy.
"As long as you're having fun doing them, then they're going to be worth it," says Mohrman.
It's a great season for including children in DIY projects because so many Easter crafts "are just so cute: adorable bunnies, chicks and colorful eggs," says Mary Giles, deputy editor of FamilyFun Magazine.
One suggestion in the April issue of Woman's Day is that kids place wheat grass (bought at a garden centre) in a shallow dish and decorate it with spring flowers, such as tulips and grape hyacinth, along with dyed Easter eggs. The magazine used several medium-size, square vessels from The Container Store, and ensured that the cut flowers would last longer by sticking each stem in a water pick, or little tube (available at florists or crafts stores).
"The fresh-cut flowers look like they are growing out of the grass," says Mohrman. "I just love that it's a shrunken-down garden."
Make one of these centerpieces or line several down the centre of the table.
Another option: The website Hometalk suggests creating pretty vases by wrapping clean glass jars with various colours and patterns of washi tape, and then filling them with flowers.
Or fill Mason jars with green craft Easter grass, and add Easter chocolates and two marshmallow chicks. Decorate the lids with washi tape and craft paper before screwing them back onto the jars. Glue a plastic or crafted egg on top, and wrap Easter- or spring-themed ribbon around the jar at its neck.
For a simple project, Woman's Day suggests painting small rabbit figurines in gold. For each place card, cut two 1 3/4-inch circles from card stock; write a guest's name on one circle. Glue a 4-inch length of thin gold wire between the two circles. Attach the other end of the wire around the rabbit like a collar.
"It looks like a floating balloon, which is playful and cute," says Mohrman. "You can swap out names next year or reuse the same ones."
One simple project from FamilyFun's April issue: Use an oiled chopstick to pierce lengthwise through a marshmallow bunny, and then insert a straw for serving with milk.
Woman's Day suggests turning deviled eggs into cute chicks; a plateful helps decorate the buffet table.
Cut off the top third of each hard-boiled egg, removing the yolk from the bottom two-thirds and following one's own deviled-eggs recipe. To assemble the chicks: Slice a thin piece from the bottom of each egg white to help it stand upright. Then, using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop the yolk mixture into each egg white and cap it with the reserved top third of the egg, like a hat. Use thinly sliced carrots as feet, wings and beak. Use capers for eyes, and herbs for beards, hair and eyebrows — gently placing each in the yolk mixture to make silly faces.
"I think (children will) have a lot of fun giving each egg their own personality," says Mohrman.
For those who still want to build a gingerbread house — maybe a small one made out of graham crackers — Joy McElroy of Greenville, Texas, shares an edible "Peeps Houses" how-to at her blog, Yesterfood. The gist: Break three graham crackers into six pieces. "Glue" the walls to the floor with icing. Attach the remaining two pieces together like a "V'' for the roof. Let all the pieces dry, and then use icing to attach the roof to the walls. Fill the house with craft Easter grass, candy eggs and a Peep chick.