If your planning on having a more casual or relaxed holiday spread, here's an idea that could be fun for adults, and/or perfect for the kids table- Consider using chalkboard placemats! We spotted this over at Real Simple.com, in a slideshow they had for "Alternative ways to dress up a Table." You can write the guest's names on them and they can double as extra large place cards! (It could also give guest's something to do during those "awkward silences"!) Set of 4 for $12.99 from Miles Kimball.
Image by Anita Calero for Real Simple