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:
Blush Pink Holiday Tablesetting
Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jinglin’ Tablesetting
Glitz ‘n Glamour New Year’s Eve Tablesetting
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poinsettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
The Pink and Green Holiday Table
Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen
Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablesetting
Twas The Night Before Christmas