New canning jars worked perfectly and are so inexpensive wherever you buy
canning supplies. We never painted the outside, we filled them with stuff -
mostly the bulk dried roses & leaves, bulk lavendar, etc.
For the Italian dinner you could fill them with different shapes of
pasta!!!!! and a bow - a Christmas ribbons in white red and green like the
Italian flag and a little raffia.
The little votive cups are about $1.50 ea. at the Dollar Store.