A decade ago, I lived in a tiny wood frame house in a charming old neighborhood where time seemed to stand still: neighbors all knew each other, children rode their bikes in the street, and the baseball and football fields, elementary school and three churches were within a 5-minute walk. My house was built in 1920 on a pier-and-beam frame and had hardwood floors and other charming old-house features. It was really fun to dress the old girl up for the holidays, with Christmas being the uber-holiday.
Some of the table-setting tricks I’ve learned over the years are illustrated by the photos below. They were taken before a special holiday dinner in 2006 when my parents met my inlaws-to-be for the first time.
- Mix your glassware and china – different sizes, styles and colors can look great together. Below I have a set of white china Christmas dishes, Waterford champagne glasses, magenta Italian crystal water glasses, and inexpensive crystal wine glasses, and somehow, it all works.
- Dress up your table with inexpensive chargers.
- Use place cards to design the optimum seating arrangements; they also make people feel special.
Embrace whimsy – the place card holders on this holiday table are a mix of tiny characters, and there’s a variety of Christmas-themed salt and pepper shakers, including a pair of dogs wearing Christmas wreaths.
- Make things – the centerpiece was assembled from handmade bows, pine cones from my yard, faux greenery, and a few silk flowers and decorative berries from Hobby Lobby.
- Use ribbons in place of napkin rings for a soft, elegant-yet-fun look.