Pagans, most of you have WAY too much crap on your altars.
It's a table for you to do work on. Keep it clear of extraneous stuff.
Calling quarters? Great! Then there's no need to repeat elemental symbols on your altar.
Using salt water and incense to scribe the circle? Great! THOSE go on the alter.
Have light in the room? Great! No need for a candle.
What about magical tools? If you don't have a reason to handle them, don't have them on your altar - they are symbols and already included in your body. Your mind, your will, your emotions, your body, the fire of life or spirit within you - alread there if you're there.
Constantly having 'symbols of the season'? Feh. You're working 'in a place that is not a place, in a time that is not a time'. And sometime we'll discuss the issues involve with planetary energies - yeah, it's coming on Yule here in the North, but it's coming on Midsummer in the Southern Hemisphere. I consider it more complicated than I want to get into now.
Depending on how you are doing the hoodoo you do, you might want to avoid an altar cloth. Like if you are making Briget's Crosses out of reeds. The altar will be your work surface, and you'll be doing wet messy work.
In the words of Thoreau - Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!