Everyone has their favorite holiday dish. But if you’ve been sitting down to the same dinner for over a decade it’s time to spice it up – and we don’t mean in the kitchen. A well-executed tablescape can turn your typical Christmas dinner into an event. We sat down with Laura Hartman of Fischer Evans for some practical tips on how to make your holiday dinners shine.
1. Set the tone with the table
Start by selecting the China you want to use. “That will determine your color scheme and overall feel – formal or casual.” If your pattern is formal, keep linens and other elements fairly subdued, such as classic white hemstitch napkins. Christmas pottery or stoneware, such as Vietri’s Old St. Nick can accommodate more color, such as red and white striped napkins.
Either way, don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns. It gives an eclectic feel and is a great way to incorporate any inherited patterns from older generations. Hartman recommends using different patterns on different tables, such as a more whimsical or casual pattern for the kids’ table. Just keep centerpieces similar to tie it all together.
2. Don’t let the centerpiece take center stage
There’s nothing worse than trying to peek around flowers to talk to people. Try three low containers spanning the table rather than one tall one in the center. And remember to accent with candles or votives for evening meals. Flowers don’t have to break the bank. Evergreens and hollies from the yard accented with white tulips or roses are always Christmas classics.
3. Paper napkins won’t cut it
Christmas comes once a year – break out the linens. Monogrammed napkins and table runners are always popular and lend a personal feel. Hartman recommends either a neutral color monogram, such as taupe or green, or going monochromatic (white on white). If buying new, Fisher Evans carries “wash and wear” linens that don’t have to be ironed.
4. Consider the little touches
Up the ante with festive touches like antler napkin rings. And don’t be afraid of place cards to mix up the conversation and add visual interest to centerpieces. Use mixed tea cups and saucers filled with flowers and attach the name to the handle. Or think of “take-aways” such as bagged cookies or potted herbs with names attached. “Have two-inch pots of rosemary at each persons’ place with a rosemary topiary in the center,” she suggests. “That way you have a place card, favor and centerpiece all in one.”
5. Don’t sideline the sideboard
A buffet or table in the dining room is the perfect place to showcase a silver tea service, a crystal vase or grouping of compotes. Mix materials to add interest, and carry the greenery and flowers over to unify the dining room. A garland always looks great over a mirror. Consider an artificial garland for body and bulk, with fresh magnolia, holly, pine or cryptomeria layered on top.