Embrace The Season With A Holiday Table by Lisa Mendes

Nontraditional Holiday Table
Nontraditional Holiday Table

Everybody is so busy during the holidays shopping and entertaining so it’s nice when you can decorate with simple ideas that are quick and effortless, yet still make your guests feel special. I want to share some easy and inexpensive ways to decorate your table for the holidays using  everyday china and flatware. Everyday dishes can go in the dishwasher for easy clean up, eliminating the hand washing you have to do with delicate china after your guests leave. Entertaining more casually has become so popular, I’m going to show you ways to use placemats that can really dress up your table and save you from having to iron that fussy tablecloth.  The dinnerware I am using is Juliska Country Estate dinnerware which is available from Neiman Marcus and BD Jefferies.  The flatware is silver twig flatware available from West Elm.  As West Elm says “it makes dining a little more tree-mendous”. As an added bonus, all of the items used in the place settings are available in Charlotte, so no special ordering or waiting required.  It is easy to create several festive table settings using the same china and silverware and simply changing out the table linens and flowers or adding a special trinket. The flowers used are from Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market.  I’m not suggesting you don’t use a florist for really special events, but in this case, these vendors can help you create table decorations quickly and relatively inexpensively.  With these four place settings, you can invite the same guests to all of your holiday functions and they will feel like you created something special for each event.  I hope you take away some ideas you can use for your next party.

1. Modern Christmas

Not everyone likes to decorate with traditional reds and greens.  Here I have used a hand dyed white grasscloth placemat with charcoal linen napkins from Crate and Barrel as the base of this placesetting.  In the center of the place, sits a small gift wrapped in green croc paper with matching ribbon, both available from the Container Store. Attached to the ribbon is a bark tree ornament also available from Crate & Barrel that could easily double as a place card if the guest name was inscribed with a silver, metallic, or white sharpie marker.

2. Updated Traditional

Since the dining room featured has beautiful russet drapery, this place setting has a russet linen napkin folded and wrapped around the plate. The plate sits atop a graphite grasscloth linen placemat which adds a touch of color. In the center of the plate is a metal finish lotus blossom candleholder. The candleholder can serve many functions and can be used to greet the guests lit and then moved when guests sit down to eat and double as the the centerpiece of the table for extra ambiance. An added bonus is that the candleholder can be gifted later to the guests as a little remembrance of the evening. The lotus blossom candleholder is  available from Crate and Barrel.  Greenery from Whole Foods and silver berries from Michael’s encircle the plate to give the place setting a little holiday sparkle.

Updated Traditional Table
Updated Traditional Table

3. Nontraditional

If you are having guests over who don’t celebrate Christmas, but you still want to look a little festive here is a quick solution.  The white grasscloth placemat and charcoal linen napkin used in the previous setting gets a new look by the simple addition of a snakeskin charger and a miniature pitcher of russet flowers. A small ivory place card could be tied to the handle of the pitcher with a piece of ribbon or twine.

4. Merry Christmas

If you like to stick with tradition during the holidays by all means embrace red and green.  Here we have ruby red placemats with matching linen napkins both available from Crate and Barrel.  In the center of the plate is a white ceramic miniature pitcher from Tuesday Morning with red sweetheart roses from The Fresh Market mixed with cedar and pine from Whole Foods.  If a place card is necessary, it could be tied around the arm of the pitcher with green green or silver metallic ribbon or placed on the table. The pitcher of roses could serve as a hostess gift. Guests always feel special when they have their own little vase of flowers at their place. This place setting would be equally at home for the upcoming Valentine’s Day celebration.

Lisa Mendes
Lisa Mendes