She used clear 2" tall Chinese boxes, (Michael's) half filled with uncooked rice to add weight and keep them in place and a Fortune Cookie.
Clara decorated the front of the box with pretty red and green papers, the Chinese symbol of the guest's Chinese zodiac and the English translation, in this case, Rooster. I love this idea because having this instead of the guest name, becomes an instant conversation piece, a total ice breaker...not that we need one in our family: as typical Argentinians, we all talk at the same time and at the same volume.... (yes, loud)
A red satin ribbon in a delicate bow and a little card reading Shen Dan Kuai Le (Merry Christmas in Chinese) finish her adorable creation.
Remember this project if you are having friends over for Chinese food. Keep in mind that even something simple and casual can become a memorable night...like Martha says, it's all in the details: dedicate a couple of hours to make Clara's Fortune Boxes, get rid of the take out containers, lit a couple of candles and you got yourself a magical night!
You can find the complete list of the Chinese zodiac at this site and the Chinese translation to any phrase: Happy Birthday, Love you, Have a good trip....etc here.
On Christmas Eve I'll bring home my own Fortune Box, it will remind me of my Sister's creativity and dedication to our family, it will remind me of another magical Christmas, a night when we loudly love each person in the room and silently miss those far, far away....