3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

Dressing up for Christmas

For me, Christmas usually begins in July. At least, that’s when I start to daydream about it. I start randomly proclaiming, “It’s almost Christmas!” To which my husband dryly replies, “No it’s not.”

The lights! The decorations! The cookies, the presents, the food. I’ve just never met a Christmas I didn’t like.

For many families one of the holiday highlights is the Christmas meal. Honestly, I’m not terribly impressive in the kitchen, but hand me a glue gun and some ribbon and I’ll go to town. So in preparation for this year’s holiday (It’s almost Christmas!), I’ve come up my own contribution to the Christmas meal: Tablescapes.

“Table-whats?” you ask.

Tablescapes. Ideas for how to decorate your table. Mind you, I’ve never made a tablescape in my life. But it’s pretty easy if you follow these tips:

1. Go for layers. Find some wrapping paper you love and run it down the length (or width) of the table for an easy table runner. Instantly, your table looks ready for a party. If you’re really feeling wild and crazy, find a coordinating paper and roll it out on top of the first. Chargers are another easy way to add a pop of color beneath the plates.
2. Dress up the plates. Naked plates… how embarrassing. Put something on them: pop an ornament on top of a napkin, tie a bow around a bowl, or wrap up silverware with ribbon and put them in the middle of the plate. It shifts a normal table setting into special occasion mode.
3. Create height. Vary the heights. It’s more interesting.
4. Add light. What’s more festive than lights? There’s no such thing as too many candles. You can also buy battery-operated lights and hide them in a centerpiece for a clever glow.
5. Use glitter. Oh, right, glitter is more festive than lights! Holidays are the perfect excuse for glitter (as if you need one). Even if you’re not the glitter enthusiast that I am, it adds texture and sparkle.

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Now for some proof that these tips work, here are three tablescapes I created for your inspiration.

Uptown Traditional

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

I love this table because the bold black and white add a touch of high class to traditional Christmas red and green.

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

Two bands of striped paper with a narrower strip of black and white patterned paper are an easy, affordable start to this table. 

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

Red napkins and cranberries on the plates, a length of evergreen and ribbon down the table, a cluster of candles, and Santa’s ready for dinner. If you put some cookies out, he might even come early.

Pears and Pinecones

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

I started with alliteration… where all brilliant things begin. Pears and Pinecones just sound like they go together. Though pears aren’t traditionally a Christmas fruit, they just seem like a fruit that’s ready to party.

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

I added glitter to some basic tea lights, then finished off the plates with bold green napkins wrapped in jute, topped with a pinecone.

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

Voila! A simple, modern look.

Cubist Christmas

I’m quite sure I’m breaking all the rules of Cubism, but I’m still going to call this my Cubist Christmas tablescape. 

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

Ages ago I bought some beautiful paper at the Cubist Museum shop in the House of the Black Madonna. And now… it’s a Christmas tree! I cut cardboard into two big triangles, covered those with my Cubist paper, cut slits, and slid them together.

Another treasure I had laying around was a branch I’d lugged home on a run knowing it would someday be useful, despite the evident gnaw marks from a dog who’d loved it before me. I sawed it in half and set glittered tea-lights along each branch. Important safety note: glue the lights to the branch so they don’t tumble onto the crepe paper at the slightest bump of the table. Now that would be a Christmas to remember.

Speaking of crepe paper, once again I started the table with two coordinating papers – a gold wrapping paper, and a copper crepe paper. I clearly wasn’t done layering, so added a band of green striped crepe paper to the dinner plate, and jute to the salad plate.

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3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

Who knew a woodsy Cubist theme could look so … right?

3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table

Now that the table is so beautifully scaped, you might be wondering where you put the turkey or the carp in all this holiday merriment? The truth is, I have no idea. Nor do I know what you’re supposed to do with a pinecone on your plate when you sit down at a tablescaped table. I figure it looks so pretty, though, it’s worth giving it a try and just see what happens! Happy tablescaping.

Here’s a list of where I found my tablescape supplies. If you know of more craft supply sources, leave them in the comments!

Wrapping and crepe paper rolls: You can find rolls of paper nearly anywhere around Christmas, but for stylish paper I’ve had luck at Tesco, any neighborhood papírnictví, home improvement stores, Neo Knihkupectví and Nanu-Nana.

Glitter: the craft section of toy stores, Nanu-Nana

Pinecones: home improvement stores, Nanu-Nana, Tesco

Battery-operated Christmas lights
: home improvement stores, Nanu-Nana

Napkins: Nanu-Nana, DM, Neo Knihkupectví, and Almi Decor

Ribbon: Nanu-Nana, Filium at Palladium

***Photos by Amy Hadley***

Read also: Handmade Christmas Gifts – Three ideas for the perfect gifts

For more Christmas content visit our dedicated microsite Christmas & New Year 2011

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