My holiday table is inspired by the hydrangea in my backyard. I was able to cut the hydrangea before it matured and turned brown.
The hydrangea in the tablescape came from a white hydrangea bush. It dried this beautiful shade of green that blends well with my dining room wall color and the tabletop tree and so the hydrangea became my theme for the tablescape.
How to Get the Custom Curated Look
The key to achieving a custom-designed tablescape is to strategically plan the look and make it cohesive. This can be done by first choosing a theme and color scheme for the table. I find, once I have selected a theme, it keeps me focused in the tablescape creation.
In this tablesetting, I have chosen a somewhat casual, relaxed theme that focuses on elements from my garden. Because, the hydrangea has turned a pretty shade of green, I have chosen the neutral green as my main color supported by gold, ivory, and white accents.
Before I buy anything for a tablesetting, and to achieve a tablescape that looks curated and custom made, I start by looking around the house to see what I already own or have available in the garden or backyard that can be incorporated into the tablescape. Nothing new was purchased for this tablesetting. I have had the gold trees and baubles for years and re-purpose them to wherever I need them each Christmas. Integrating items you already own creates a curated look, makes the setting more personal and, of course, it’s more economical.
Create the Tablescape Before Arranging Placesettings
When constructing a tablescape, piece by piece, directly on the table, I recommend starting with an unset table. You don’t want to be touching glassware with your arm and potentially knocking glasses over, causing breakage, as you try to reach into the center of the table to place items in the tablescape. Also, if there are pine or fir needles (fresh or faux), glitter, etc., involved, those will inevitably find their way on to plates and napkins and into glasses and, well, that’s just not the kind of garnish guests want to see in or on their food and drink! It’s just awkward to try and create a tablescape amidst placesettings. If you need to have parameters set for the spacing of the tablescape itself, I suggest setting the charger plates at each placesetting as markers. These can then be cleaned before the actual plates to be used for food are added.
Sometimes, I leave the table bare and other times I use a tablecloth such as the vintage Irish linen white tablecloth I have used in this setting. I find the white makes a great canvas for the elements of the tablescape to stand out.
One of the most important factors to consider when constructing a tablescape is its height. For the comfort of guests, and to enable them to communicate across the table during the meal, keep the height of the tablescape below the eyeline of seated guests.
For this tablescape, I started with a couple of good quality large faux greenery piks placed end-to-end in the center of the table. This provided the anchor base and shape, added depth and fullness, and also dictated the general size and expanse of the tablescape.
Next, I used an odd number of the focal point items – in this case, the three gold trees – and positioned them into place.
From there, I took the hydrangea and placed it in, around, and throughout the tablescape. There is no need to be overly fussy about keeping the hydrangea placement perfectly symmetrical. Instead, work on the flow, movement, and keeping the look natural.
Any place where I noticed gaps, I filled in with some greenery. Either fresh or faux greenery can be used. I chose freshly cut boxwood and holly from the bushes along my walkway. I opted to use just branches of holly that had no berries as there was no red connection to the tablescape and the leaves of the holly tree have such a lovely shape. Every time I step out my front door, I marvel at the stunning beauty of the holly bushes, particularly after a fresh snowfall.
I find, when creating a tablescape consisting primarily of flowers or foliage, it is best to limit the number of different kinds used. A general rule of thumb is to choose one signature flower (in this case, the hydrangea) and use a significant amount of it. This allows it to make a statement without competing with a number of other varieties of flowers. Using the boxwood and holly leaves, which are darker shades than the hydrangea, gives depth to the tablescape and also contributes to the seasonal look.
Some Christmas balls/baubles in light colors were added to inject some brightness into the tablescape and the metallics, of course, add texture, shape, and interest.
I added some ribbon here and there to connect the tablescape to the ribbon on the tabletop tree in the dining room, thus keeping the look cohesive and coordinated.
Because the hydrangea is tinder dry, I don’t want any open flame from candles on the table so have opted for battery lit gold glittery votives to give a warm glow and sparkle. A string of battery-operated twinkle lights with fine gold wire is strung throughout the arrangement to give a magical ambience to the table, particularly for evening dining.
Some brightly wrapped parcels in gold and white were placed, kitty-corner, on opposite ends of the table, adding a festive and glitzy look.
This neutral, nature-inspired tablescape is versatile enough that it will coordinate well with a number of different dinnerware choices. Here, I have set the table with plain white dinnerware (my all-time favorite!) but the tablescape will go equally well with my formal china that has enough green and gold in it to match. It will also work with my red and green plaid casual dinnerware and it would also complement my green and white vintage dishes. It’s always great when this can happen as it extends the use of the tablescape over the holiday period and the table’s look can be changed by simply switching out the dinnerware, napkins, and glassware.
I am a big fan of charger plates not only because I think they dress up a table and frame each placesetting but also because they serve the practical purpose of protecting the table linen from stains should any food find its way off a plate (it happens). The basic white dinnerware atop simple gold chargers is always elegant and sophisticated, goes with anything, and food colors pop against a white plate.
I have chosen to use white napkins with a glittery gold snowflake motif. Apart from contributing a soft textile texture to the table, the napkins connect to the gold in the tablescape and to the charger plates, again maintaining a cohesive and sophisticated look. In order to best show the motif, I have purposely used a simple flat napkin fold.
The placesettings reflect the order in which the meal will be served. In this case, the two plates and cutlery placement indicate there is a salad course followed by the main entrée. Stacking the plates gives a layered look that adds visual depth and fullness to placesettings. I have chosen glassware with lots of cut glass so that it will reflect the light and add dazzle to the table.
Setting a well-styled holiday table need not cost a lot of money. In this case, the use of free foraged natural products collected from my garden and yard provides a connection to nature and creates a neutral, yet festive tablescape.
To view other Christmas-themed tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:
Christmas is, in my opinion, a time of the year when a tablesetting can be well glitzed and glammed up. If you want to add opulence and glamour to a holiday tablesetting, go with gold. It shines, it sparkles, it shimmers and glows in all kinds of light, and it has such warm tones. This is my Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting.
The Christmas color theme in my dining room is gold. It appears on my tabletop tree and in my mantle design. Therefore, for continuity, my table carries the same singular color theme.
Basic white is most often the blank canvas I start with when constructing my tablesettings. It’s neutral and, in the case of this gold-plated tablesetting, it provides a wonderful plain backdrop to let the metallics form the focal point of the table. Had I left my maple table bare, the gold-colored centerpiece would not have stood out as dramatically as it does against the white backdrop. Conversely, had I used a patterned tablecloth, it would have been very busy and cluttery looking and the effect of the centerpiece would have been completely lost.
Nothing was bought new specifically for this centerpiece. I have had all the Christmas balls, baubles, twigs, feathers, and berries for years and they have been used for many different purposes at previous holidays. So, I simply went shopping in my own storehouse!
When constructing the centerpiece, piece by piece, on the table, make sure it is completed before setting the individual place settings. Otherwise, you would be reaching over high glassware, potentially knocking them over and it would just be plain awkward. And, of course, if there is glitter involved or greenery needles, those would find their way on to the plates and into the glasses where food and drink will be served. So, the individual placesettings would be the last aspect of the tablesetting to be completed.
For this setting, I have chosen one large gold ball and then added three or four other different sized balls of a scale that will fit the size of my dining table. This type of centerpiece is scalable meaning it can be made somewhat larger to suit a longer table. It is important to keep the elements in the centerpiece to scale both to the other components of the centerpiece as well as to the size of table itself.
I have used balls/baubles with different textures with some having designs and others perfectly plain. So, in the centerpiece, I have included balls that are plain satin-finished, glittery, pearlized, and matte finish. The balls are in various shades and hues of gold. This adds wonderful texture and interest to the centerpiece plus their finishes play well off each other and they all react to light differently.
I had some gold twigs that I used to create a base for the balls. To achieve the luxe look, I did not want to introduce any greenery or other color into the centerpiece, save for a bit of ivory in the berries and on ribbon.
The twigs serve the purpose of providing a nest for the balls so they do not roll out of place. I then started with placement of the large ball, followed by the next sized balls, and so on until I achieved the aesthetic look I was going for, filling in any gaps with smaller balls. Some gold-colored feathers and ivory berries were added for interest. Finally, I strategically placed some pretty ribbon bows of ivory and glittery gold in various places throughout the centerpiece arrangement. By doing this, I addressed any remaining gaps and made the centerpiece look full and luxurious.
The ribbon corresponds with that on my dining room tabletop tree. Tabletop trees are so adorable and I find they are particularly suitable for dining rooms.
As those of you who are regular visitors to my website will know, I am not a huge fan of taper candles. I find they are a bit precarious for my liking for use on dining tables. For that reason, I typically use the more stable pillar candles in tablesettings. However, in this case, the table has a very elegant and glamorous theme so the tall, slender tapers do work better than the larger pillar candles. The tapers give height and elegance to the table and, because they are slender, they do not obstruct diners’ view of each other. And, of course, tapers burn down faster than pillars so they become even lower as the meal progresses.
I have a collection of glass candlesticks in various shapes and sizes and many are cut glass with prisms that really do play well to light. This makes them really sparkle on a table, further adding glitz to the tablescape. It is not necessary to have the candlesticks all matching and I do recommend using ones that vary in height as that contributes to layers of lighting when the candles are lit. Using clear glass candlesticks keeps the focus on the gold in the centerpiece and gives it an airy look. In other words, the candlesticks accent, and do not compete with, the gold centerpiece.
I have used two types of gold tapers in this centerpiece. Some candles have a glittery finish while others have a polished, satin finish. This adds interest to the centerpiece and does not make it look so matchy-matchy or that it all came out of a box, pre-assembled in a factory. These are the types of details that give a centerpiece a custom-designed look.
Varying the height of the tapers as well as the candlesticks, also adds light from different levels of the centerpiece. If I can, I try to add about three layers of light to a centerpiece like this – high, medium, and low – so that the centerpiece is really glowing from all angles. Of course, using an odd number of candles makes the centerpiece more pleasing to the eye.
Smaller gold-colored votives are nestled in around the edges of the centerpiece. To keep the votives clean and free from wax build-up inside, I have used small tealights that are already encased in little tin holders. They still add lots of light from the lowest level of the centerpiece. In the photo later on in this post that shows the dinnerware up close, the tea light in a votive can be seen.
I do not recommend using scented candles in a tablesetting as they can be quite overpowering and interfere with the enjoyment of the scent of a good meal. Also, anyone with scent allergies can find scented candles distressing. It’s important to always consider the comfort of dinner guests.
My fall-back for table linen is often a vintage Irish linen tablecloth which is what I have used in this setting. I am not a fan of busy tablecloth designs or seasonally-themed ones. Tablecloths with Christmas designs, for example, may be pretty but they typically require plain dinnerware so they are not too busy for the eye. Additionally, they can really only be used at Christmas and must be stored for the rest of the year.
My preference is to go with non-seasonal neutral tablecloths. If I want to have a seasonal design in table textile, I will usually opt for seasonally-themed napkins, like the cotton napkins with the gold snowflake motif shown in the photo below. Because the thread in the motif pattern is glittery, the napkins blend well with this tablesetting.
I find the best way to fold napkins that have motifs is to use a simple flat fold. Trying to fold this style of napkin into an intricate or fancy fold would result in the motif and its effect being lost.
For that reason, I simply laid the flat-folded napkin over the salad plate so it becomes the focal point of each individual placesetting. Simple yet elegant.
Dinnerware and Flatware
Plain gold charger plates frame each placesetting. The gold color connects the placesettings to the centerpiece. Chargers are an easy and simple way to glam up a tablesetting plus they serve a useful purpose in keeping the tablecloth clean should any food escape the dinnerware. We all know it happens from time to time!
I have chosen dinnerware with a significant amount of gold metallic color for this setting as it ties in with the gold theme and does not introduce another color. The contemporary metallic gold polka dot porcelain dinner plates add some pizzazz to each placesetting. The gold-edged salad plates are in a coordinating design. It is not always necessary (and sometimes it is too much) to have completely matching dinnerware. Mixing dinnerware designs is another great way to create a customized tablesetting look.
So long as the color scheme remains the same and the patterns do not clash, coordinating plates can contribute to a glamorous tablesetting. When mixing dinnerware patterns, it’s a good idea to have one plate with a fairly large design (like the polka dot dinnerplate) and the second plate to have a much smaller design (like the salad plate).
Because there is so much gold color on the table, I did not want to introduce silverware. I have, therefore, opted to use a very simple design of gold-colored stainless steel flatware. I think it is more pleasing to the eye as it holds and carries the gold theme. It is elegant in its simplicity of design.
The super tall gold and rhinestone decorated champagne flutes add grand glitter and glam to this tablesetting giving it a totally festive look and feel. When you see glasses like this, you just know it’s party time!
Because the flutes are very tall, I used my tallest wine glasses for proportion. They are about 9″ tall and are perfectly plain tulip-shaped stemware. Using tall stemware in this type of setting balances out the height of the tapers.
Consider How the Table Looks in Different Lighting Situations
When constructing a tablesetting, it is important to consider how it looks in different lighting situations in which it will be used. For example, if the dining event is in the evening, you want the table to sparkle in the candlelight. Notice how the tablesetting takes on a different hue and ambience with just the Christmas tree lights and the lit candles on the table.
The tablesetting becomes much more dramatic when lit for evening dining. Layers of candlelight bathe the table in soft glowing light and the tea lights in the votives provide great highlights to the setting. It is best to avoid harsh overhead lighting of tablescapes that have bright gold or silver as it can be quite hard on the eye and distracting.
This tablesetting will easily carry me through the entire holiday period up to and including New Year’s. There are no flowers to water or wilt and I can easily exchange my plain white dishes for the patterned dinnerware and use other glassware to change up the look without having to touch the centerpiece (unless, of course, it is to replace the candles that have melted their way down in the candlesticks).
A beautifully set table sets the tone for a wonderful meal. Using a single color palette that looks polished and sophisticated helps to create an elegant and glamorous tablesetting.
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my custom-designed holiday tablesetting.
To view other Christmas-themed tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:
A number of years ago, I made these snowmen and, this year, thought they should be part of a casual holiday tablesetting that is aptly named “Snowmen and Snowballs“. So, here they are, all dressed in their finery to preside over the dinner table!
These two snowmen are positioned at opposite ends of the table because they can’t be trusted not to engage in a snowball fight! As you can see, they’ve already been busy with all those snowballs you see on the table!
I am a big fan of using what I already have as opposed to buying new items for tablesettings. In fact, I will often re-purpose decorations and ornaments (especially ones I can’t otherwise find a place for!) by using them in my tablesettings. And, this is exactly what I have done with this tablesetting.
How adorable are these little snowmen votives that adorn each placesetting!
The napkins are a rosy-pink-red pinstripe on fabric that has a homespun texture. They are very suitable for this casual tablesetting. The napkins don’t shout Christmas but are quite suitable for the season. They are also napkins I use other times of the year.
I am using my standard white dinnerware and have framed it with a red plaid charger plate on top of a round green placemat. The combination gives a nod to the traditional red and green colors typically associated with Christmas.
Because this is a fun, casual tablesetting, some liberties can be taken with the placement of elements of the placesetting. For example, because space is at a premium on this table, there really isn’t a lot of room for the cutlery on the sides of the placesetting. Therefore, I have casually laid the flatware at an angle on top of the plates as shown in the photo above.
How cute is this lumberjack snowman with his little red toque! This tablesetting is all about creating a vignette and a story and making it fun.
I seriously think lumberjack snowman is eyeing up his partner-in-crime, the bird watcher, at the other end of the table and taunting him to a snowball fight! We’ll see if we can get through dinner without snowballs flying between these two!
Around, and in between, the two snowmen, I have simply made a base of faux snow. I then just laid some faux greenery, along with some pine cones, mini white twinkle lights, and a string of snowball lights, on top of the snow. The battery-operated snowball lights do double duty in that they are part of the tablesetting story and they also add some unique lighting to the table. The snowballs look eye appealing, both in daylight and at night.
I didn’t fuss too much with the placement of the greenery, red berries, and pine cones, all of which are needed to contrast the white snow.
This type of tablescape is a good option for anyone who is not comfortable creating a precise table centerpiece as there really is no right or wrong way to position the greenery.
Some of today’s faux greenery is quite a good replica of the real greenery, pinecones, and berries. Plus, it is reusable, year after year.
Using both the snowball lights and twinkle lights adds a layer of drama to the tablesetting, particularly for evening dining. Without the layers of lights, the whole center of the table would be quite dark in the evening even with ambient room lighting.
It’s always important to think about how the tablesetting will look in different lighting situations for different dining experiences. This is especially true if the dining event is in the evening when no daylight will provide natural light in the room. The snowball lights really pop and come to life after dark. With nothing more than the tree lights, the lit votives, and the snowball and twinkle lights, the table comes to life and provides a cozy, warm, and inviting dining experience.
The little votive candles exude a warm, soft glow at each placesetting. I love the detail on these votives. They add a touch of whimsy to the tablesetting.
Typically, I would seat guests around all sides of the table. However, no matter how I positioned the snowmen, someone was going to be looking at the back or side of one of the snowmen. When constructing a tablescape, it is important to ensure that all guests, from all angles, have an equal view of the whole tablescape.
To ensure optimal visibility of all sides of the tablescape in the”Snowmen and Snowballs” tablesetting, a simple fix is to place two guests on each side of the table, leaving the ends vacant. This way, all guests have a full view of the entire tablescape/vignette.
Because the taller elements (the snowmen) are at the ends of the table and the center part is low profile, it is conducive to good dinner conversation among guests. Had I placed the snowmen in the center of the table, their height would have somewhat obstructed the view of diners of their dining companions.
I hope you have enjoyed a peek of my whimsical “Snowmen and Snowballs” Tablesetting. This setting is proof that not all tablescapes have to have the focal points of interest dead in the center of the table. Sometimes, the focal points can be at either end, or indeed, both ends of the table. This works so long as there is a connector between the two such as the low-profile runner of greenery and snowball lights atop faux snow in this setting.
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To view other holiday tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:
Christmas tablesettings are an opportunity to use the good china, if you have it, and to create stunning centerpieces. While I don’t always use fresh flowers in my tablescapes, I never underestimate the power and beauty of fresh and softly fragrant flowers. Sometimes, as is the case in this tablesetting, only the fresh flowers will effectively achieve the sophisticated tablesetting I wanted. Just make sure that whatever flowers are chosen, they are not potently fragrant as that can be offputting for some guests. Creating a beautiful holiday table is part of the equation but the other part is ensuring guests are comfortable for the meal.
To keep the tablesetting neutral and restful, I recommend chosing a color scheme and limiting it to two to three colors that complement each other well. Otherwise, the table may start to look busy. In this tablesetting, I used the blush-colored roses and a couple of shades of green with white as the table’s background. This strategy allows the focal point of the table (the centerpiece) to stand out.
This tablesetting has the overall effect of understated elegance with just a touch of whimsy and glitter. The table is uncluttered and the centerpiece, the anchor of this Christmas tablesetting, is the single tall and elegant triangular flute-shaped vase with eight votives attached. Keeping the tabletop uncluttered creates a stylish and sophisticated holiday tablesetting. It’s classy and creates a serene and restful looking tabletop for dinner guests.
Candles create an inviting atmosphere and give warmth to a tablesetting. Votives are great because they provide an elegant soft low light to the tablesetting and they are also relatively safe to use because they are low and won’t likely tip if the table is jerked accidentally by the knee of a guest. I find tall tapers to be a bit unnerving because they more easily can tip over because of their height. I rarely use them in tablesettings for this reason.
The principal flowers I have selected for the focal point centerpiece have meanings to Christmas and are steeped in legend. Whether or not any of these legends is true or not, I have no way of knowing but they do make for good conversation pieces.
The Legend of the Christmas Rose
Legend has it that a young shepherdess named Madelon, was tending her flock on the hillside as she watched the wise men and shepherds passing by with their gifts to present to the newborn King. Madelon, in tears and despairing that she had no gift to offer to the Baby Jesus, was seen by an angel who is believed to have made the snow at Madelon’s feet disappear, revealing a rose with pink-tipped petals. According to the legend, these petals were formed by the angel from the tears shed by Madelon. This flower then offered Madelon the opportunity to present a gift at the manger. The flower became known as the Christmas Rose.
So, I have used a dozen soft blush-colored roses with pink-tipped petals as the main flowers in this centerpiece.
Legend of Star of Bethlehem Flower
This is an all-white star-shaped flower. Legend suggests God thought that the beautiful Star of Bethlehem he created to guide the wise men to the Baby Jesus was too beautiful, after it served its purpose, not to do something more with. So, the star was burst into pieces and, when it scattered to the ground, it turned into white flowers that became known as the Star of Bethlehem flower.
I have included a single Star of Bethlehem stem in the center of this arrangement.
Other Components of the Floral Arrangement
To complement the pale blush color of the centerpiece, I have added the green bell-shaped Bells of Ireland and small green chrysanthemums. The Bells of Ireland are said to symbolize good luck and the chrysanthemums represent happiness, love, longevity, and joy.
The greenery in the arrangement is comprised of fir and pine.
The tiny white frothy Baby’s Breath (seen to the right in the photo below) has much symbolism. One of its symbols is said to represent the power of the Holy Spirit in the Christian faith. Baby’s Breath is a great filler flower for arrangements and I think it looks like little snowdrops.
I am using my Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” china in this setting and have framed each place setting with a gold charger plate. I am a big fan of using charger plates for a couple of reasons. First, I think it gives an air of elegance and formality to the setting and, second, it keeps each placesetting clean. If food should happen to drop off of a plate, it is caught by the charger plate and means fewer stains on the table linen. Different colored chargers can also change the look of a tablesetting, particularly if the same dinnerware is frequently used for events with the same guests attending.
The placesettings are set with the components of the dinnerware that will be used in the order of the menu, starting with a cream soup, followed by the salad course and, of course, the main meal. This also gives guests a clue as to how many courses to expect at dinner.
To tie in the green color from the floral arrangement, and to add a bit of whimsy and interest to the setting, I am using these glittery clip-on birds. They add a festive air and interest to the table.
Table Linens and Napkin Fold
When I am using patterned dinnerware, as I am in this setting, I like to use a plain tablecloth — usually white — because it gives me a blank canvas from which to work and display elements of the setting. The tablecloth is a vintage Irish linen cloth.
The napkin fold I am using is a fold that is known by a couple of names: 1) the Bird of Paradise; and 2) the Sailboat fold. I will often set this fold on a plate but, for this setting, I am placing it inside the stemmed wine glasses because it replicates the triangular shape of the vase and its floral arrangement. When the floral arrangement is tall, I like to use some height at each placesetting so there is not such a visual drop in depth from the centerpiece to each placesetting. Placing this fold in the stemware glass graduates the height of elements of the tablesetting.
I have chosen to use matching glassware in this setting as it gives a more formal look. Using glassware that has lots of cuts will add sparkle to any table.
A tasty meal is made all the more wonderful when dinner guests are presented with a beautifully set table. No matter what is on the menu, a thoughtfully set table adds a little extra holiday flair to a dinner party.
To view other holiday tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:
This holiday tablesetting focuses on the blush pink color. It’s a fresh look and a departure from the usual red-green-gold we often associate with the holiday period. There is nothing wrong with those colors but, sometimes, change is good.
The inspiration for this tablesetting actually came from my dining room mantle design. I had these mint julep cups and thought they would look lovely with individual arrangements in them.
This year, I wanted my dining room décor to be in a fashion that didn’t scream Christmas but yet still had an understated Christmas look and feel to it. I found these lovely pale blush pink cabbage roses at Michael’s and, well, you see the result! They have the faintest dusting of glitter to give them a bit of a festive look and, voilà, blush pink became my color theme!
The addition of fairy lights makes the mantle come alive in evening and the lights, with such a fine wire string, give the illusion that they are suspended in mid air. When I am designing my dining room mantle for the holidays, I keep in mind what the design will look like in daylight and in the evening. It’s important that the design be constructed such that it works in different lighting situations.
I have never grown tired of the pale sage green wall color in my dining room – almost any accent colors, like blush and pink gold, look stunning in the room.
Fancy tablesettings do not need to cost a fortune! When I am designing tablesettings, I don’t rush out to buy all the elements. I first go through my “storehouse” to see what I have that will work. The tablesetting I am sharing today is composed mostly of items I already had. This makes a tablesetting interesting and less of a “cookie-cutter matchy-matchy” look. It’s more curated in that carefully selected items, coming from different designs and textures, are used.
You’ve heard me say it in postings before – I like to work with a blank white canvas. It’s clean, simple, always elegant, always en vogue. I am using an antique white Irish linen tablecloth for my setting today.
Let’s start with the base. I was able to find good quality artificial greenery this year – greens that actually look real! I used two of these stems at an angle along the length of my oval dining table.
While I wanted to keep the table simple, I did add some fresh seasonal foliage, like seeded eucalyptus, to give some depth and texture. I often combine real and faux greenery to get the look I would not likely otherwise get if I used only real or all faux greens. Using some fresh natural foliage brings an element of the outdoors to the setting.
There is nothing to say the centerpiece can’t be edible! Why not make your guests salivate for dessert all through dinner! It makes a great conversation piece.
Here, I have decorated a cake which will be dessert and I have given it center table prominence by displaying it on a glass pedestal cake plate. Using a glass plate (versus a solid color) lends an airy look to the tablescape.
The cake top is constructed from Ferrero Rocher Raffaello Coconut and Almond White Chocolate Truffles to simulate snowballs, soft pink French Macarons to tie in with the blush color theme, and sugared cranberries to add a frosty look and deep color to the cake top. A sprig of seeded eucalyptus adds the natural element. Any time colored sprinkles are added to a cake, as I have done here at the cake’s base, it means it’s a party cake!
Two tall pillar candles flank the sides of the cake.
I have had the antique-look ivory pillar candle stands for years.
The candle stands have blush pink jewels hanging from their bases so they tie in well with the color scheme.
I scattered a few little white and silver votives around the centerpiece. I like to use candles of different heights in my tablescapes because their varying heights of light lend depth to the scene and, of course, candlelight always gives softness and warmth to a tablesetting. The white pillar candles have some glitter on them which adds a bit of sparking and a festive look to the setting.
In keeping with the silver and blush theme, I am using my glitzy silver and rhinestone chargers to frame the white dinnerware. I am a huge fan of plain white dishes because food colors just pop, with no distractions, on white. To tie the blush scheme in to the placesettings, I am using pale salmon-pink colored glass salad plates. I have positioned these on slightly larger white supper/salad plates because the white underneath grounds the pale pink color and provides a background for the glass plates. These pink glass plates were bought years ago at a thrift shop.
I have had these small pale pink antique pedestal glasses for years. I am not sure what their intended use was – if anyone knows for sure, please do let me know.
I am using them here for wine glasses in much the same way as I would use stemless wine glasses. The pink water glasses were a thrift shop find a few years ago. Mixing and matching styles and color tones make the setting more unique and interesting.
To add some pizzazz and glamour to the placesettings, I have opted to thread white dinner napkins through glitzy rhinestone napkin rings. Using napkin rings is a quick easy way to present napkins and you really can’t do them wrong!
I am using very basic, classic flatware in this setting and, of course, the flatware is placed in the order in which it will be used for the meal.
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of my blush pink tablesetting. It does not scream Christmas like reds, greens, and golds do but it is a more gentle color scheme option that works for any holiday dinner. Other than some greenery and new candles, everything else in the tablesetting (excluding, obviously, the cake – it’s fresh!) was constructed from items I already had. Proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a beautiful holiday-themed table.
To view other holiday tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:
Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’, ring ting tinglin’, to…..This is the song this tablesetting brings to my mind. Set with 222 Fifth’s Andover pattern, this dinnerware features a horse and sleigh in front of an old log cabin. This dinnerware evokes a very nostalgic setting that is reminiscent of Christmas past.
The border on the outside of each plate is a rust-red shade with ivory pinecones and holly. The horse and sleigh design is gray on an ivory background. This design appears only on the supper plate. The dinner plate has a plain center which allows the food to present well on it.
The cereal/soup bowl features only the log cabin design in the bottom of the bowl.
I used an off-white tablescloth and matching napkins to connect to the background in the dinnerware. Holly-berry napkin rings make napkin preparation very easy and add, what I call, jewelry to the table.
It seemed only fitting that the centerpiece for the table should feature a sleigh.
And, of course, who should be in the sleigh but old St. Nick!
And, here is a look at the table all set for dinner!
I added a few small tree candles to draw in that feature from the dinnerware design.
This is a very pretty set of dishes and, keeping the centerpiece simple, they get to be the stars on the table.
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To view photos of other Holiday tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:
I’m going with a green theme for this seasonal Christmas Greens Holiday Tablesetting, drawing the color scheme from the green leaves in my Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” china.
I often like to use a three-piece floral centerpiece featuring one larger arrangement flanked by two smaller satellites.
There is no need to completely replicate the smaller satellites to match the main arrangement entirely. However, the satellites should draw one or more colors and flowers from the central arrangement so that the three arrangements all connect and tie together.
During the Christmas season, I keep buckets of various types of greenery in my garage and then use them in arrangements. I like to limit the selection of flowers to two to three colors but use different kinds of flowers in the same colors. Here I have used two different kinds of white flowers and two different green flowers.
Floral centerpieces need not cost a lot. I often buy packages of supermarket flowers and use them to build the centerpieces. Economical containers can often be found in dollar stores.
I also like to use different shapes and textures of greenery, flowers, and berries. They add interest and depth to arrangements.
Adding a pine cone or two always adds interest to Christmas arrangements.
One of the advantages of this style of centerpiece is that various juxtapositions can be used with them on the table – the arrangements can be placed in a straight line, at angles to each other, close together to make it look like one large centerpiece, or spaced apart for distinctly unique pieces.
I’m letting the wood in my table shine in this tablesetting as opposed to covering it with a tablecloth. I am using a white placemat for each setting. The gold charger plates pick up the gold rim of the china and add an air of elegance to the table.
I like the shape and colors in this china pattern. The shades of pink, lavender, and green in the pattern lend themselves to a wide variety of color options for the tablesetting.
A simple pointed pocket fold for the napkin provides a nest for the forks. This type of fold works particularly well for napkins that, like these, have a motif on one corner.
One sure way to add sparkle to any table is to use glassware with lots of cuts. Sometimes, I mix and match my glassware but, since I am using my formal china in this setting, I decided to use all the same pattern of glassware.
This is the look when all the elements of the tablesetting are put together. The other great thing about the trio of floral arrangements is that, if the table is larger, there can be more than one larger centerpiece and/or more satellites to extend down the length of the table. It’s the type of centerpiece that is scaleable to the size of the table.
I hope you have enjoyed viewing my Christmas Greens holiday tablesetting.
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Johnson Brothers’ “Twas The Night” dinnerware is classic Johnson Brothers in every way. The dinnerware features nostalgic scenes and text from the classic Christmas story “Twas the Night Before Christmas“.
Made of earthenware, this is a sturdy, durable easy-to-care for set of dinnerware that is both dishwasher and microwave safe.
This tableware has a distinctively pinkish-red and ivory color and, with text from the afore-mentioned Christmas story, it is definitely Christmas-only dinnerware. For this reason, I have chosen it for Christmas Eve dinner.
Let’s take a look at the intricate pattern on each plate and the bowl.
The dinner plate features the exterior of an old stone house.
The salad plate shows a tree by the fireplace with stockings hung.
The soup bowl shows a full moon in the winter sky over the rooftop.
Even the bottom of the plates has detail.
As those of you who follow the tablesetting part of my food blog will know, I’m a big fan of charger plates, both for their functionality and for the color and elegance they lend to a tablesetting. However, as I have discovered, not all dinnerware necessarily benefits from the use of charger plates. This Twas the Night pattern is a prime example of that. I did try pink chargers under the plates but found the dinnerware too informal and, for my taste, the chargers looked out of place. This, of course, does not mean a pretty table cannot be set with these dishes.
Because this dinnerware is more vintage in design, I have chosen glassware in styles that complement the dishes. This is dinnerware that allows mix-and-match glassware. In fact, none of the three vintage glasses are a matched set yet they seem to work in this setting. The stem glasses with red trim give a bit of extra pop of color to the tablesetting and blend in with the red berries in the jars.
Linens and Napkins
It is not often that I set a table without either a full tablecloth, a square, or placemats. However, for this setting, I have chosen to use a short Christmas runner down the center of my oval table and let the maple wood of my table shine. I think this complements the informal casual look of this dinnerware.
When selecting napkins, I try to choose them in a color that either matches the background color of the dinnerware or, alternatively, select a color from the pattern. In this case, I have opted to go with ivory napkins and the fold I have chosen is the rose.
This is a simple-to-do napkin fold. I like to use this fold when space on the table is limited to display a napkin, when a napkin fold would substantially cover up the dinnerware pattern which is a focal point of the table, or when placement of the napkin would clutter up, or compete with, a simplistic tablescape design.
The rose fold requires either a soup bowl or a cup to contain it and hold it in place. This method of styling and presenting a napkin is unpretentious yet gives the look and feel that planning and effort have been put into the tablesetting.
Since my goal with this setting is to keep it very simplistic, I have chosen to use standard glass canning jars of two sizes for the table decor. You may know these as Mason or Ball brand jars.
In the three larger jars, I have added a base of Epsom salt to resemble snow topped with some faux red berries to symbolize cranberries. To add a touch of seasonal greenery, I have topped each jar with a few sprigs of fresh greenery.
In each of the smaller jars, I have placed a small white votive candle on a base of Epsom salt. Just make sure you put the candle in a small votive glass inside the jar to contain the melting wax.
Using an odd number of jars is more pleasing to the eye than if an even number was used. More (or fewer) jars can be used depending on the length of the table.
Using these glass jars is remaining quite popular and trendy probably because of their versatility. I think their “home-y” look blends well with the nostalgic tableware that has a homestead, casual look to it. When I think of homestead, I think of canning fruits and vegetables which is the traditional use of these jars.
This dinnerware is sure to be a conversation piece on the dinner table for many Christmases to come.
To view other Christmas Tablesettings, click on the links below:
I am not sure why but a red plaid pattern evokes thoughts of Christmas for me. As I have discovered, red tartan dishes lend themselves well to setting a beautiful holiday table.
The dishes I have chosen for a holiday dinner are by designers Colin + Justin. Apart from the dynamic look, there are several things I like about this dinnerware pattern.
First, the dinnerware has the look and feel of fine china, complete with gold-colored trim, but is actually easier to care for since the dishes are both dishwasher and microwave safe. Second, they can work effectively either in a formal or informal tablesetting. In fact, I’d suggest they are quite contemporary in look and design and could easily transition from breakfast/brunch to lunch to dinner. And, third, they don’t scream Christmas which means they can be used throughout the fall and winter months. With their dark color, they would be a bit heavy for spring and summer, in my view, but I would certainly use them from October to March.
The dinner plate has a white center so food will still stand out against the plate. I’m a big fan of white plates for food presentation! This dinnerware gives the benefit of a nice plaid border against the white center.
The salad plate is a full tartan design. The dinnerware has the versatility of allowing for an exchange of a plain red, green, or white plate with the plaid salad plate for added contrast to the setting or to change it up for different occasions.
The bowl is white inside so the soup color certainly stands out.
The dinnerware with its bright red and green plaid has a somewhat heavy look to it so it needs some bright white neutral contrast on the table for it to stand out. For this reason, I have chosen to use large plain white placemats as the base for each place setting. The white connects to the center of the dinner plates and bowls – always try to connect the linens somehow to the dinnerware pattern. If, for example, I had chosen red or green placemats or a full tablecloth in either of these heavier colors, the dinnerware pattern would have been lost and would not have stood out. And, sometimes, I just want to see the maple wood in my table and placemats allow for that. The placemats are also in keeping with the contemporary look of this setting.
If you are not knacky with napkin folding, or simply don’t have time, using napkin rings is an easy alternative solution. I think of napkin rings as the jewelry on the table.
I bought these beautiful poincettia napkin rings on an after-Christmas sale last year and think they go particularly well with this dinnerware. With their deep red color, they need a bright white napkin for their color to pop. The white napkin, of course, connects to the white placemat.
Apart from the speed and ease of threading a napkin through a ring, napkin ring-folded napkins can be placed in various locations at a placesetting — to the left-hand side beside the fork, in front of the plate if space allows, or laid across the plate or atop a soupbowl (as I have done in this setting) if table space is at a premium or you simply want to add some pizzazz to the top of a placesetting.
For the tablescape, I pulled in colors from the dinnerware.
I have opted for a relatively simple and easy-to-construct centerpiece – two faux green kissing (or pomander) balls on high glass pillar candlesticks surrounded by greenery, holly berries from outside my front door, Christmas balls, and pinecones to fill in some empty spaces.
Since I am not a huge fan of taper candles that can easily tip with a guest’s knee jerk against the table, I have chosen to use a series of small white votives interspersed along the edges of the centerpiece. They add a lovely upward glow to the kissing balls which are the focal point of the tablescape.
One of the things I am doing this season in my tablesettings is trying to use existing product and props in my centerpieces as opposed to buying more or always opting to use fresh flowers. As lovely as fresh flowers are, they do require some work and, if I want to set my table well ahead of an event as my time allows, it’s easier if I use other options for centerpieces. Additionally, if you already have suitable props, it’s a more economical option.
Because this dinnerware is quite modern, I am using extra-tall and very contemporary wine glasses. The height of the glasses complements the high centerpiece as well as the dinnerware.
I hope you have enjoyed my contemporary tablesetting using red tartan dinnerware. Happy Holidays!
To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:
I love setting beautiful tables any time of the year but the Christmas season lends itself so well to many creative tablesetting options. Sometimes, I have many more ideas than I have need to create new tablescapes!
Today, I am veering off the traditional color theme one might ordinarily expect to see on a Christmas table though I have incorporated some red and green into the design.
The dinnerware I have chosen is manufactured by Royal Stafford in England. The pattern is called “Christmas Home”.
These earthenware dishes are durable and not nearly so fragile as fine bone china. The dinnerware is both microwaveable and dishwasher safe so, for this reason, the dishes are a suitable option for everyday use during the holiday season or they can be dressed up for a Christmas dinner as I have done here.
The predominant black/gray color may not be what one would think of first for Christmas dinnerware. However, look closer and you can see the black/gray makes a lovely frame for the heartwarming scene on the dishes. It really makes the red and green pop in the pattern.
As soon as I examined the scene, I knew my tablescape would draw its inspiration from the glow of light in the windows of the dinnerware pattern and I have called this tablesetting the “Warmth of the Christmas Light“. I like how the nostalgic pattern in the dishes tells its own story.
I have a wide collection of charger plates and use them frequently in my tablesettings. They are as functional as they are decorative. They are functional as they help to keep each placesetting clean. If a morsel of food escapes a plate, the charger plate (as opposed to a fine tablecloth or wood table) catches it. Charger plates also allow for the elements of each placesetting to be coralled in an orderly fashion. From a decorative point of view, chargers add a touch of class, elegance, and color to a finely set table. Charger plates are very inexpensive and I have chosen basic black to complement the black and white dishes and the black lanterns in the tablescape.
When the dinnerware pattern is busy, I recommend choosing a plain tablecloth that matches the background color in the dishes. In this case, I have selected one of my white Irish linen tablecloths because the background in the dinnerware is white. The blank white canvas of the tablecloth allows for the elements of the tablescape to stand out.
I am a big fan of cloth napkins and, in particular, plain napkins. Plain linens are very important if the dinnerware has a busy pattern so neither competes with the other. The plain napkins help to ground the patterned dinnerware. To use patterned napkins and tablecloth with this dinnerware would make it very cluttered to the eye. To add some brightness to the tablescape and to tie in with the hints of red in the dinnerware and the bow on the lantern, I have chosen red napkins.
In keeping with my theme of the warmth of Christmas light, the napkin fold I have selected is the freestanding candlestick. This is a very easy-to-do napkin fold and a stiff napkin is required. The red napkins I have used have white trim on the edges so, when rolled into a candle shape, the white resembles candle drippings. If you find this napkin fold too tall for your liking, the napkins can always be laid across each place setting where they will appear as simple, elegantly rolled napkins.
For the centerpiece on this table, I have used two black lanterns along with red pillar candles. I like to use props I already have and incorporate them into different table settings. The black lanterns blend well with the color of the dinnerware and are continuing the theme of light. I have dressed up the taller of the lanterns with a swag in colors complementary to the dinnerware along with a perky red bow. The lanterns also provide a safe place for the candles yet still allow them to add light to the tablescape. Some faux red berries and pine cones complete the look.
To complement the nostalgic dinnerware, I have opted to use very traditional glassware of about average height for stemware.
I hope you have enjoyed my “Warmth of the Christmas Light” tablesetting that features Royal Stafford’s “Christmas Home” dinnerware.
To view other Christmas and New Years Tablesettings, click on the links below:
Throughout the holiday season, I am known to change tablesettings several times depending on number of guests and type of dining (e.g., brunch, lunch, dinner, etc.). That, however, doesn’t mean that I don’t rejig and re-use some of the same elements in more than one tablesetting.
I recently shared my tablesetting for an intimate dinner for four where I clustered three poinsettias in the center of the small round table and set a miniature poinsettia at each place setting. To view this tablesetting, click here.
Today, I have turned my table back into its oval shape, bought more miniature poinsettias for guest favours but have used the same three small poinsettias for the table centerpiece. This is a very economical way to achieve a centerpiece for more than one dinner party (and less work!). Instead of clustering the 3 poinsettias into a centerpiece, I have placed them at equal distance apart down the center line of the table.
I have decided that, this year, I want my tablesettings to show the maple wood in my table as opposed to covering it up with a full tablecloth. I bought the placemats and matching napkins on a trip to San Juan and it’s a wonderful memory of a great vacation each time I dress my table with them.
Letting the wood of the table show lends a slightly more casual look to the table than does a tablecloth.
I purchased several of the miniature poinsettias at the beginning of the season and have used them on bed trays, tea tables and, of course, at placesettings on the dinner table.
The miniature poinsettias came in little plastic terracotta pots so I simply wrapped them in gold sparkly netting and tied them with gold cord for a festive look. They make great take-away guest favours.
For those who regularly follow my tablescape segment on my food blog, you will recall that I have previously said that, if you aren’t knacky with, or don’t have time to do, fancy napkin folds, then a simple and effective way is to simply use a napkin ring and roll or fluff the napkin through the ring.
However, if you don’t have napkin rings, all you really need is a spool of pretty ribbon to tie around the napkin as I have done here with a sheer organza wire-edged ribbon that bears the words “Merry Christmas” in gold glittery print, again tying in the gold color and the red of the poinsettias.
The photo below shows the individual placesetting. You don’t need expensive formal China to set a pretty table. This one is set with basic everyday ironstone dinnerware. Again, I am using my basic gold chargers to tie in with the poinsettia gold pots.
The photo below shows an overhead view of my colorful Christmas table.
To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:
Poinsettias are one of the most commonly seen plants over the Christmas season. They come in a variety of colors and shades and in various sizes. Each season I have several placed around my home — in front of fireplaces, in the entryway, and anywhere else that I think needs a pop of color and a festive touch.
Today, I am using both small and miniature poinsettias in a seasonal tablescape.
I have clustered three small poinsettias in the center of the small round dining table.
These plants are just supermarket stock so I removed the commercial plastic wrappers from them and transplanted them into small glittery gold pots that I found at my local dollar store. I added some fresh pine and green fir along with a few twigs, scattered some Christmas balls around the trio and, voilà, I have the look of a custom-made centerpiece at a fraction of the price. By keeping each plant in its own pot, it allows me to use them as a grouping or elsewhere individually. I chose two variegated plants in red shades and one in the soft green for contrast.
I also found these little tiny miniature poinsettias at the supermarket and thought they would be ideal decorations for each place setting and would be nice take-away favours for guests to take home with them as a remembrance of the dinner.
I simply covered the little terracotta pots with some gold netting and tied it with gold elastic cord.
I used a floor-length round gold tablecloth for the table and opted to use my gold charger plates as the backdrop for white dinnerware which, of course, makes the red poinsettias pop in color. By keeping the gold theme going in the charger plates, it keeps the tablesetting in the same color scheme without introducing another color. This is particularly important when the table is small as is the case with this tablesetting. Keeping the same color of charger plates as the tablecloth gives the illusion that this table is bigger than it actually is. Had I used other colored charger plates (e.g., red or green), the difference would have been very noticeable.
The small table creates a setting for very intimate dining. However, it does not leave a lot of room for extras on the table, such as napkins. For this reason, I opted to place the matching gold napkins in the wineglasses in a simple cascade napkin fold for economy of space.
The photo below shows the top down view of the tablesetting.
I usually put a tree in my dining room and decorate it in shades of green, gold, and ivory. I then carry these shades into my mantle decorations this season. The gold tablecloth blends in with the color scheme and, of course, the red poinsettias give a pop of color.
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my seasonal poinsettia tablesetting.
To see another tablesetting where I have used the same elements as in this one for a totally different look, click here.
To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:
I love Christmas China but I don’t own it. When a friend discovered my fondness for Christmas China, she graciously offered her wonderful setting for 12 of Lenox’s “Holiday” pattern for a photoshoot for my Tablescapes section here on my food blog. Needless to say, I was thrilled to set her dining room table with six placesettings of this lovely China pattern.
I started with a solid red tablecloth to make the dinnerware pop. It adds a cheerful, vibrant, yet warm look to the table, perfect for a traditional Christmas dinner.
The China pattern is mostly soft white with a pattern of green holly leaves and red berries. Here’s a close-up of the pattern which is trimmed in 24-karat gold:
And, for those who would like a closer view of the pattern, here it is:
The owner has the completer set to complement the dishes and has many other pieces as well, too many to use in one photoshoot!
When I discovered she had the lovely vase and matching candlesticks in the “Holiday” pattern, I knew they had to be the centerpiece for the table.
Take a look at the beautiful cutwork in the design of the vase.
I chose red and white carnations with some fresh pine and red tapers to match the colors in the China pattern. To draw the eye to either end of the table, I simply trailed some fresh pine down the center of the table and added some pine cones and red, green, and gold balls to tie the look together.
I used the owner’s green and red plaid napkins. Plaid always gives such a nice warm feeling. Matching green napkin rings complete the look.
Plaid Christmas crackers add a fun and festive flair to the setting.
The little salt and pepper shakers also bear the “Holiday” pattern and add a touch of whimsy to the tablescape.
I hope you have enjoyed viewing the tablesetting featuring the beautiful Lenox “Holiday” pattern. My thanks to the owner for giving me the privilege of setting a holiday table with this beautiful China.
If you live on Prince Edward Island, where I live, and have beautiful China – Christmas or otherwise, vintage or formal – and would like to share and have it featured in a tablesetting here on my food blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to see what we could arrange. Unfortunately, I can’t commit to off-Island photoshoots of tablesettings due to travel logistics.
To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:
Well, Christmas has come and gone again for another year. I hope you had a joyous and peaceful holiday. I thought I would share with you the traditional components of my Christmas dinner. Guests were greeted with a glass of Sparkling Cranberry Apple Juice from Verger Belliveau Orchard in Memramcook, New Brunswick.
I like to set a pretty table. This year, I used a gold-colored tablecloth, a couple of gold-colored glass Christmas trees and some gold and ivory Christmas balls and used them to start building the tablescape. The gold theme seemed to blend in nicely with the tree and mantle in my dining room.
I kept the tablescape fairly simplistic and uncluttered since my dining room table is not large. It can seat six but four, more comfortably.
I like to add a bit of bling to the tablesetting. These blingy napkin rings were a find a couple of years ago. Napkin rings are very useful when you want to keep the napkin fold simplistic or when you are in a hurry and don’t have time to fold napkins into designs.
My choice of centerpiece was seasonally-inspired. The gold container and piks were in keeping with the gold theme and gold charger plates.
The Star of Bethlehem flower was the focal point of the centerpiece.
The holly berries came from one of my holly trees just outside my front door.
Since I couldn’t bring the snow indoors, bursts of Baby’s Breath gave the illusion of snow drops throughout the centerpiece.
Christmas Dinner was a four-course meal. The appetizer was a red pear drizzled with a pomegranate molasses dressing.
I love the burst of flavor in each of the pomegranate arils.
Not only do the arils add flavor but they also add texture and color to the plate.
Some Islanders have roasted parsnips as a traditional vegetable on their Christmas dinner plate. Parsnips were not a traditional vegetable for Christmas dinner in our home. However, I have included parsnips in the Parsnip and Apple Soup.
A dollop of sour cream surrounded by a drizzle of good quality olive oil dresses up this flavourful soup.
The soup’s golden color continues the gold-colored theme.
I love this little soup tureen I came across a couple of years ago.
Of course, the star of the show is the roasted turkey!
There is nothing like an old-fashioned roast turkey dinner! I dressed the turkey platter with a citrus theme of orange, lemon, and lime wedges along with green grapes and cranberries.
My choice of wine for this year’s Christmas dinner was Chardonnay that came from Matos Winery, St. Catherine’s, PEI.
We are very traditional in the components of the Christmas dinner – turkey, stuffing (dressing), mashed potatoes with homemade gravy (no gravy mix for me!), carrots, turnip casserole, and peas. Condiments included my homemade cranberry sauce along with mustard pickles and pickled beets that I made earlier in the fall.
Plum pudding is the traditional Christmas dinner dessert in our household.
There are various toppings that are served with the steamed plum pudding; however, in our home, the brown sugar sauce (served hot) reigns supreme!
When presenting the plum pudding on a glass pedestal plate at the table, I kept the citrus theme going and added some fresh raspberries for color.
Plum pudding with a good cup of coffee – a fitting finale to a wonderful Christmas dinner!
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into our 2013 Christmas dinner. Best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful holiday season.
To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:
Purple has been my favorite color for a long time so it’s not surprising that, many years ago, I chose a china pattern that had lavender in it. I came across wonderful purple-tinted small carnations at the local Superstore so purple became the theme of this tablesetting for a pre-Christmas holiday dinner party.
I have a number of different colored charger plates that match my china and I use them to change the look of the table. The purple chargers were an identical match for the carnations.
I really like working with white linen tablecloths as they give me a blank, undistracted canvas upon which to build the tablescape.
The napkin fold I chose was the simple “wave” fold. It is quick and easy to do. It’s very classic and unpretentious. I used gold-themed balls on each napkin to tie in with the gold rim of the plates and also with the container for the floral arrangement and the votives.
This was a very simple floral arrangement and easy to design. I buy huge bundles of different greens and keep them in a big bucket in my garage for use in preparing floral arrangements over the holidays. In this one, I used cedar and pine for the base then added the carnations and baby’s breath. In fact, the greenery will outlast the carnations so I will probably add new flowers and change the votives to another color over the holiday period to change up the look of my table.
I like these votive holders – they have a three-pronged base that, when inserted into the floral oasis, become a very sturdy alternative to the precarious tapers. While I like the look of tapers, and do sometimes use them, they are not as carefree as votives as there is always a chance that someone will jerk the table and the candles might tip.
This is a very simplistic, uncluttered tablesetting, perfect for those dinner parties over the holidays.
To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:
Sometimes, I like to glitz up my Christmas Eve tablesetting and I thought you might like to have a look.
My dining table is not large but comfortably seats four and can accommodate six guests. To give an air of formality to the setting, I started out with an antique Irish linen tablecloth and chose simple gold charger plates to frame each place setting. And, of course, I used my fine china for the occasion.
For the central tablescape, I opted to go with one main floral arrangement flanked by two smaller matching satellites. Additional satellites can be added if the length of the table is greater. It’s a great way to extend the floral centerpiece down the entire length of a dining room table. The color scheme is deep rose that draws that particular color out of the darker flowers in the Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” china pattern.
Small glass cubes are very versatile standbys to have in a collection of vases. Here, I have covered them in a sparkling ribbon that shines like rhinestones. This, of course, covers up the mechanics of the arrangement (i.e., the oasis used to hold the flowers in place) and also lends an air of elegance to the table. I used lots of magnolia leaves and seasonal greens as the base for each arrangement, then the roses, and finally the frothy baby’s breath was added. Magnolia leaves are wonderful because they are deep green on one side and a velvety rusty-brown on the underside. So, you’re getting two colors and texture with one leaf!
One of the easiest ways to present napkins is in a napkin ring. Here, I have chosen a very simple napkin roll because the flowers form the focal point of the table and an extravagant napkin fold is not necessary. I found these “blingy” napkin rings a while back at our local Winners store.
I love these wonderful little clip-on birds. I use them on trees, in mantle sprays and garlands, and even work them into place settings. So it wouldn’t appear too “matchy-matchy”, I selected two green and two pink, again to bring out the colors in the china.
The color of these roses is just extraordinary. It’s amazing how well the rusty-brown of the magnolia leaves works with the deep rose color of the flowers.
Here is an overhead view of the table. I usually line up the cutlery but, for this setting, opted to stagger the height of the flatwear.
For safety reasons, I am not a big fan of using tall taper candles in tablescapes, particularly those (like this one) that will actually be used. One jerk of a knee on a table leg and a tall burning candle is easily knocked over. Generally, if my tablescape involves candles, I will choose to use low votive candles. There are many beautiful and decorative votive holders on the market and they will still give the soft glow and ambiance of candlelight and I find them safer options.
One of the things to keep in mind with any table setting is the time of day it will be used. Colors change in different lights. Some colors look great in daylight but don’t show well at night. Some will work well no matter the lighting. Here is a photo of my same table setting at night. The colors of the roses change and get a little deeper shade and everything has a warmer golden glow. I particularly like how the ribbon surrounding the glass cubes really sparkles in the glow of the evening candle light. When you are selecting the color scheme for your table setting, it’s a good idea to make sure that the colors can transition well from daytime to evening, if you are planning to use it for both.
Our Christmas Eve dinner tradition is very seafood-oriented. We start with seafood chowder, then fresh Atlantic lobster with salads and, for dessert, finish with cherry cheesecake. This year, our wine pairing was Matos Chardonnay, produced from locally-grown grapes from vineyards in St. Catherine’s, PEI. You can check out my October 22, 2012, story on Matos Winery by clicking here.
The seafood chowder recipe I used is Jeff McCourt’s PEI Seafood Chowder. You can find this recipe included in the story I wrote on September 16, 2012, following my participation in one of the culinary boot camps at which Chef McCourt taught at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, PEI.
How appetizing does that great Atlantic lobster look!
And, for anyone who still has room left, a piece of cherry cheesecake as a finale to Christmas Eve dinner.
Setting a beautiful table adds to the festive mood of the holiday. Thank you for visiting my blog today and enjoy this holiday season.
To view my other Christmas and New Year’s tablesettings, click on the links below:
For this, my second tablescape of the Christmas season, I have opted to go with a more casual look, using everyday plain white dinnerware because it is not always necessary to have fine china in order to set a festive table. This setting would be quite suitable for weekday family dinners over the holidays or for casual dinner parties where you don’t want the look to be too fussy and overstated.
The centerpiece consists of three separate arrangements of carnations to look like iced cupcakes with a red cherry carnation on top. I have left the three arrangements together because my dining table is not large. They can, however, be separated and dispersed down the length of the table. To complete the look, I simply added some of my favorite Christmas balls and a couple of decorative votives and, voila, a simple yet attractive centerpiece.
I like these little votives for tealights. They are very versatile.
These are some of the Christmas decorations that hang on my living room tree and, of course, I always buy extras to place here and there throughout the house to tie the look together. I often use them in my holiday tablesettings.
Below is a top view of the cupcake tablescape.
For this setting, I decided to just use a runner down the center of the table instead of a full tablecloth. Keeping the wood of the table exposed lends itself to a casual setting. For each place setting, I used Christmas poinsettia placemats that work well with the poincettia-themed napkins. These hard placemats are great because they can easily be wiped off and they protect the table from hot plates. This is particularly important to consider when opting not to use a full tablecloth with a protective table pad underneath. If you are going to be serving a hot meal, I recommend these ‘board’ placemats.
Typically, I tend to use plain-colored napkins. However, because I was setting this table with plain white dinnerware, I chose napkins with a seasonal pattern of burgundy and green because there was nothing on the table that they would clash with and I thought they would add a splash of color to each white place setting. If I had used plain white napkins on a white plate that sat on a mostly off-white placemat, the placesetting would have gotten lost. The napkin fold I used is called the “wave”. It is a simple fold in keeping with the simplistic setting. It also works well with the entire tablescape which is low. I then placed the cutlery on top of the napkin, giving the setting a more informal and relaxed look.
This is a great setting to use when the event calls for understated, more casual dining.
It’s no secret that I love setting beautiful tables! I genuinely believe it enhances a wonderful meal by providing the ambiance and it shows your guests that you put some thought and care into the dinner party. Today, I am sharing photos and a description of my Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablescape. Continue reading Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablescape→
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