Holiday Table Basics
We try to decorate our table seasonally, but we also keep it
pretty everyday. It's such a joy to come into the house after a busy day and see
the table looking nice, ready for our evening meal. The simplest meal takes on
the feeling of an occasion if the table is nicely set, right down to a
centerpiece. Lest you think this is an expensive proposition, let me assure you
we seldom spend a thing, instead gathering items from around the house to use.
For thanksgiving, our table covering was a deep gold double sheet, covered
across the middle with a smaller light gold woven tablecloth. Kay alternated
rust and gold wash cloths as napkins, folded into pretty shapes. Into each
napkin she tucked a beautiful autumn leaf. Our centerpiece was a woven basket
filled with silk leaves and a dollar store pick of beaded fruits.
The oohs and ahs were gratifying, and the total cost of our table was a mere $2
for the two floral picks of beaded fruit!
Just in time for Christmas I'd like to share our current table setting, as well
as some we've used in the past for this holiday.
Our table is currently covered with a white flannel sheet. Because the sheet is
longer than the table we've knotted the four corners. I've used light blue
cotton place mats on top of this. On each place mat: a light blue napkin and a
white handkerchief were layered and pulled through the strings of faceted tear
drop shaped ornaments. In the center of the table rests a clear platter with a
snowflake pattern, and in the very center of that is a small bit of quilt
batting with a blue and white snowman votive holder. It looks like a small
winter wonderland right in the middle of our table.
Another year, I covered the table with a maroon sheet. I placed a small
Christmas wreath in the middle of the table, which had been decorated with deep
wine and gold wired ribbons, and floral picks of frosted fruit. In the center of
the wreath we stood three of our glass candlestick collection, in varying
heights. We used gold candles in these. Our napkins were maroon, with a circlet
of gold ribbon around them. One of my daughters wove some of the gold star
garland down the center of the table.
If you don't want to purchase artificial fruit, frost your own. Beat an egg
white until just frothy, dip in fruit and then dip fruit in sugar and let rest
on rack until hardened. Please don't let anyone eat this as it does contain raw
We once used a pretty wreath one of the children made in school. It consisted of
white plastic trash bag squares woven onto a wire coat hanger. This was placed
on a red table runner, and the children made a gumdrop Christmas tree using a
foam form, and accented with red or white gumdrops here and there, which was
placed in the center of the wreath. They sprinkled wrapped peppermints down the
table. We used green and white napkins with red curling ribbon tied around them.
We set a more rustic table one year, using blue and white enamel wear plates. We
used a quilt as our table cover. In the center of the table we set two white
geese figurines, with necklaces of red ribbon and holly leaves. The children
placed a candy cane atop each napkin, tying the whole together with colored
raffia in green or red. They then gathered various sized pine cones from the
yard, and placed them on the table, weaving the raffia through them.
For inspiration, consider these ideas:
We used a trifle bowl filled with various sized round ornaments in various
colors as our centerpiece one year. We pulled our color palette from that bowl
We brought in a handful of fresh cut cedar branches, and used these in a rustic
earthenware pot I've had for years. The colors that year were green/brown/red(a
Georgia winter the children called it!). We used raffia, pine green napkins and
red berried holly to decorate our place settings.
Wrap small empty boxes and pile them down the center of the table. Use boxes you
would normally put in the trash(like onion soup mix, or cereal). Place bows and
curling ribbon on them, just as you would a gift. Then weave the wired star
garland throughout the tumble of gifts. Pull your table setting colors from the
Have your children create pretty napkin rings by covering tissue paper tubes cut
to size with red or green tissue paper and gluing on small pine cones, silk
poinsettia flowers, wrapped candies, whole spices(cloves, allspice, bits of
cinnamon sticks) etc.
Use what you have. Go through your sheeting, your fabric pieces and your quilts.
Something is bound to inspire a pretty table!
Look at objects in a new way. Food tins, collections of china or figurines,
ornaments, even toys, can be used as centerpieces.
Gather items from nature: pine cones, pine or cedar foliage, holly, any
evergreen shrubbery, magnolia leaves etc make great place card holders,
centerpieces, or decorative objects.
Use a red and white theme, easy to achieve using a white sheet as tablecloth,
and red washcloths as napkins. Peppermint of course, is an excellent accent.
Create a centerpiece by wrapping chunky candles with candy canes and tying with
curling ribbon. Sprinkle peppermints(in red and white, and green in white) down
the center of the table.
Create pretty and inexpensive runners of place mats from wrapping paper. Use the
paper you choose as the basis of your color theme. Kay is really liking paper
this year that has lime green and tones of purple. They aren't conventional
Christmas colors, but it's surprisingly easy to find items around our home that
match these papers. Use double stick tape to hold the paper pieces in place, but
do test on an inconspicuous place on your table first. You wouldn't want to
remove the finish with the tape!
Purchase inexpensive china or pottery plates in basic colors that can be used
year round. Red and white are suitable for use for Valentine's Day and July 4th
as well as for Christmas. Do the same with place mats and napkins in basic
colors and you'll have table settings suited for holidays year round! Red white
and blue is perfect for George Washington's birthday, Lincoln's birthday and any
Veteran's day. Use your imagination to create holiday table settings and day to
day table settings that will have your family rushing to the table everyday.
(C)2004 PennyAnnPoundwise is soley created,owned and written by Terri Cheney.
No portion of the newsletter may be reproduced without permission of the author.
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