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Friends, have you looked at a calendar lately? Did you realize that it is under 2 weeks until Christmas?! Under 2 weeks…i.e. 12 days. Can you believe that? Clearly, I can’t.
The holidays are a time to get together with friends and family, to slow down and be grateful for what we have. Most of us get a break from work for a few days. While a break from the daily grind is always welcome, that doesn’t exactly mean that the holidays are relaxing. As much as I truly hope that you all get a chance to relax over the break there is no denying that they can also be a tad stressful too. Especially if you are hosting!
Sadly I can’t give you too many tips when it comes to tackling the endless cooking and cleaning, or saving so that the holiday season doesn’t cause too much financial stress, but I CAN help you make your Christmas table look beautiful in a simple way.
The details of a tablescape, whether it be for your Christmas dinner, a birthday lunch, or a wedding reception, lend to the overall feeling and experience that you and your guests will have while they sit at that table. Feelings are hard to explain, but I’ll give it a shot! All year long we lust for the festive feelings that come during the holidays. It’s a nostalgic warmth that is reminiscent of this certain time of year, formed from memories of years past. For some reason, evergreen boughs, pine cones, twinkling lights and burning candles really help this feeling come to life for me. For your family, it might be something different, so embrace whatever it is that makes you feel the season.
When you create a cozy atmosphere, your dining room table becomes a place where you and your guests will want to sit for hours after the meal is done. Sipping more wine, eating more food and enjoying each other’s company. And THAT’S what the holidays are all about.
First, decide on the material palette for your table. I recommend 3 or 4 materials, excluding your fresh elements (ie.flowers and greenery). Work with what you have! If your cutlery is silver and your plates are white, make those 2 of your materials and then figure out what compliments them. On my table here I chose a material palette of 4 materials – wood, gold, glass, and white porcelain. The overall feel is warm and comfortable – not too precious or formal. Perfect for a meal with family and friends.
Your options are as follows: no table cloth, tablecloth, just a runner, tablecloth and a runner. I opted for a table cloth and runner for this table. If you aren’t totally confident in your design skills and want guaranteed success, stick with neutrals and steer clear of patterns or prints for your table cloth. Covering your table with a neutral draping will give you a simple base that you can build upon and the end result of your tablescape will be more clean. However, if you have a simple table you may want to leave it showing and go for no tablecloth or just a runner.
This is the collection of items that you give to each guest. Dishes, cutlery, glasses, and a napkin at the simplest form. If you do not have enough of each of these items to make every place setting the same, you can mix and match…but you have to be careful not to do it too much! For example – you could give each place setting a different bowl but in that case I would suggest giving each person matching plates and napkins. Make sense?!
On this table I mixed and matched the cutlery based on all the gold offerings at HomeSense. While each cutlery set is different, the overall look is neutral because they all have gold as a common element. If you don’t have enough napkins for all your guests, go for a higher quality paper napkin – for a casual meal with family and friends this is totally acceptable and the continuity of a matching napkin at each place setting will add to the overall simplicity we are going for. If you do want to invest in a larger set of napkins for entertaining, I suggest a simple white or grey linen – it goes with everything!
Finally, add a simple detail to each place setting. This can be as simple as a sprig of greenery or a wrapped chocolate on each plate, or, like with this table, the cutlery tied with a festive ribbon and a sprig of greens (boxwood from my garden). So simple and it really elevates your table. Other suggestions? A small gift like I did with this table setting, or a floral napkin ring or mini wreath like we made in this DIY napkin ring post.
Small items in a cluster is a great way to make a fresh centrepiece without being a floral master. This centrepiece is made up of a collection of bud vases, candles, and pinecones. With the vessels and votives you use in your centrepiece, try your best to keep them within your palette of 3-4 materials too. I went for gold and glass vases, white candles (like the white plates), and pinecones (wood). As for the flowers – sticking to greenery and simple florals in just one colour, like these tulips, sets you up for decorating success! Finally, I mentioned it in this post with the 5 things to consider when decorating a table, the importance of candles in creating the atmosphere at your table should not be underestimated – lighting definitely sets the cozy and festive mood!
Gold cutlery from HomeSense tied with a festive red ribbon and some greenery
Miniature wood cutting boards from HomeSense – perfect for serving bread, butter, and cheese at the start of the meal
Wooden Bowls, Gold Cutlery, white plates, gold vases, and wooden cutting boards and bowls – all from HomeSense // HomeSense and Winners are some of my favourite places for getting unique pieces to complete a table like these small cutting boards and gold vases. Their prices are great and you can always find that different item that makes all the difference.
Glasses and Bud Vases – Thrift Shop // Local Thrift shops are my go-to spots for bud vases and cut glassware – the prices are unbeatable and you will always find something unique.
Check napkins and white pillar candles – IKEA // Ikea is great for buying things that you need in a larger quantity like these napkins (of which I bought 100 for an event earlier this year) or basic pillar candles of which I use many at many of my events.
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