I put them out on the table immediately:
Last year we got equally beautiful heart-shaped placemats for Valentine's Day, which I put out this year with our other decorations. We do not use these placemats for fear of ruining them.
My mother-in-law is not the only creative one in that family. My husband took up working with stained glass a few years ago (although he's really into gardening now, as anyone familiar with our other blog is well aware) and occasionally gets a project idea in his head and goes out and does it. This February, my beloved New England Patriots made the Superbowl, and my husband decided to make a countertop decoration for the party:
It took up the whoooooole countertop, and we put all the food out on it for the game. He used indoor-outdoor carpeting, white duct tape for the lines, stick-on numbers, and PVC pipe for the goalposts. Those goalposts fold down for easy storage, I'll have you know. It's currently hanging out in our basement, waiting for next year's Superbowl party.
Hopefully the Patriots won't break my heart next year.