The center of holiday hosting is often the table and when it comes to décor, every detail counts. Whether you decide to go simple and relaxed or fancy and elegant, your tablescape sets the mood for your party and sparks conversations among family and friends. From beautiful linens and place settings to a mood-setting centerpiece and candles, every item on your table (however small) is an opportunity to make your guests feel special. But with so many decorating options one can easily be overwhelmed in knowing where to start, so we’ve compiled the essential elements. After all, the season of hosting is upon us and we want to help you nail down the decorative details. So read on, follow our tips and create a table that will be a feast for the eyes and a delight for all the senses.
Start With Linens
The foundation of your holiday table begins with the textiles you choose. There are many ways to incorporate colors, patterns and textures—from your choice of runners and tablecloths to placemats and napkins—to set the scene for the rest of your tablescape. For instance, when using a neutral tablecloth, try adding a colorful napkin at each place setting for a bold contrast or opt for mismatched but coordinated patterns for a bit of whimsy. If you want to show off your table, forego a tablecloth in favor of a runner down the middle or across at each setting, creating the perfect base for chargers and plates.
• QUICK GUIDE TO PLACE SETTING •
Add Organic Elements
Skip the expected (and expensive!) arrangement of colorful blooms for a simple, yet stunning centerpiece made of seasonal greenery. Fill your favorite vessels with fall foliage or arrange branches flat in alternating directions to hide stems—our favorites are olive leaf and eucalyptus. Create a warm welcome for your guests to sit down to by tying bundles of herbs and place at each setting or pick a seasonal fruit to add a pop of color to each plate. In a pinch, you need look no further than your backyard or the produce aisle at your local market for all the right decorative ingredients.
• DESIGNER TIP •
Hosting a large group but don’t have enough place settings? No problem! Mix and match dishes, glasses and flatware for a beautifully curated look. Juxtapose traditional china with more modern pieces for an eclectic vibe and use glassware in varying sizes and heights to add dimension. Not only will your table be truly unique but will also imbue a feeling of home for all of your guests.
Don't Forget The Candlelight
No holiday table is complete without the festive flicker of candlelight. Natural glow adds instant warmth, creating an inviting, cozy feel. Nestle votives in the center of a round table or down the length of a rectangular table to bring in balanced light. You can also intersperse candlestick holders with tapers for height. When selecting your candles, be sure to use unscented so as not to compete with the appetizing aromas coming from the kitchen and don’t be afraid to try colorful tapers to enhance your table décor (so long as they compliment your palette).
Make It Personal
You know those special things you have tucked away that you think are too nice for everyday use? Now is the perfect time to use them! Bust out the good china, polish your grandmother’s silver, iron the nice linens — whatever you’ve been saving for a special occasion, this is your chance. Weaving in your personal treasures is a way to pay homage to your roots and will set your table apart. Take it a step further and include a card at each setting with your favorite family recipe for guests to take home.
BALL FAMILY PERSIMMON PUDDING
INGREDIENTS 1 quart persimmons, rubbed through a colander, to yield 2 cups pureé 2 cups sugar 2 cups sifted flour 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda 2 eggs beaten 1 quart milk
INSTRUCTIONS Mix in order given. Bake at 325 for 2 hours, stirring every 15 min, until brown and waxy. Chill thoroughly. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
“Be able to set a table so that you feel like you’re dining, not just sitting and eating.”