The holiday season is peppered with opportunities for entertaining. Family across the table from you, friends sharing memories over meals, kids running around and nibbling on a bite or two between games… Creating the scene for these moments to happen doesn’t have to be stressful! So don’t let the weight of hosting a get-together distract you from what really matters or why you’re doing it.
With what you’ve got on hand and a few finishing touches, you can take any table from flat to festive in just a few simple steps. We’ve rounded up our favorite tips for getting your tablescape ready for a feast.
Keep It Low
It’s important to keep in mind that the reason for your gathering is to focus on the people surrounding the table, not the table itself. One way I do this is to get rid of that fancy centerpiece, that usually just ends up blocking everyone’s view anyway, and use fresh greenery to create a garland instead. The great thing is that fresh greens will last all season! Just put them in some water to keep them healthy and use as a garland again for all of your special meals or along the mantel for an added touch.
Light It Up
I’ve found one of easiest way to create ambiance is with lighting. I have string lights draping above my table and I love the warm glow it adds to any meal or gathering. For a special night, add delicate strings of light in beautiful vases or twist throughout the garland to up the sparkle factor. Sprinkle a few votives along the center of the table and around the room. A bonus with this soft warm light, not only will your table glow and have an elevated appearance, everyone there will look and feel their best as well.
Play With Layers
Have you ever noticed that the tablescapes we’re drawn to and drool over in the magazines have an overabundance of layers? They don’t hold back and are never stingy with dishes. So, stack em’ up! Don’t be afraid to mix and match if you don’t have enough “matching” pieces. The key here is to choose a few colors in your theme and run with it. To create depth, I like to bring in texture, whether that be with fabric elements like my table runner and napkins; natural elements like wood and marble or a mixture of metals. Don’t be afraid to add a little whimsy with specialty dishes like my pumpkin cocottes that I use all throughout the autumn season.
Make It Yummy
A fun element that I like to add to all of my tablescapes is food as edible decor. Infuse delectable hors d’oeuvres into your tabletop’s decorative pieces and it can serve as a starter for your guests! Having something for your guests to nibble helps them feel at ease and allows the conversation to flow until the meal is ready.
Plan It Out
To keep the day of any event or dinner less stressful, my mantra is prepare, prepare, prepare. In fact, while preparing for a full house this holiday season, we built our own farmhouse table. Once I fill a date in on my calendar, I keep my eyes open for anything that inspires me for the night. Inspiration can be found in a good family recipe, a colorful photo on Instagram, a dish at the market… everywhere! Once I have an idea of the direction I’m going to take, there is always so much that can be done ahead of time. For me it’s helpful to create a staging “space” and gather items from around my home that I may use. This way I can see how every piece can work together. Setting the table ahead of time, preparing dishes the night before, having the family pitch in one cleaning by handing out chores, laying out outfits and even planning a simple hairstyle beforehand all help in reducing stress on the day of, which leaves me with more time and energy to focus on my guests.
I hope this helps you have a fabulous holiday season, but one last thought I want to leave you with is this; throw out all the rules and expectations. Remember you’re creating a space for moments and memories to happen. I absolutely love making a gathering special and beautiful, yet through all of it the most important thing is the people you surround yourself with. Let those relationships be your focus and your evening take care of itself. So let loose and have fun styling your table… and then enjoy the time you have with the people you love.
– Tabitha Blue of Fresh Mommy Blog