Setting a Christmas table is always an event. It’s the time of year when hostesses can experiment—with holly, garland, bright tones galore, or more subdued hues that put forth a holiday glow just the same. Pulling out treasured tableware and linens that haven’t been seen all year is a treat; making them look new is where the challenge comes in.
This year, we solved the style dilemma by deciding to pass on the traditional table for two tables that were more fun, and less formal. Neither table shies away from saying “Celebrate!” loud and clear but each does so in a sophisticated way, with a stylish mix of red, green, silver, and gold. Set your table for the Christmas season with bright whimsical packages or a subtle winter scene. Either way, guests will feel welcomed and holiday memories will be made.
A fresh spin on a formal table, we opted to forgo a traditional floral centerpiece for miniature evergreens, a shimmery forest-like scene with a Nordic theme. Wrap the bases with seasonal paper and contrasting bows, and decorate the table with an assortment of mini pinecones tipped with frosty silver paint and silver Christmas tree figurines in varying heights to complete the winter narrative. It’s tradition with style, without being too much—and three small trees could be a lot less work than buying the traditional full-size one.
The backdrop of a snowy white and gold tablecloth beneath cheerful and shiny Capiz Placemats in Red sets the tone, topped off with Glitter Edge napkins in Natural and Silver and Gingerbread Napkin Rings. Paillette Goblets in gold pair perfectly here, and the surprise of Gingerbread placemats at either end of the table adds a festive exclamation point. Simple and delicate crystal candlesticks finish the look as do round Christmas ornament-like red and silver candles.
merry and bright
One of the most frequently asked question we get is “What do I put down the center of the table?” Our answer: Christmas gifts! Brightly wrapped packages of all shapes and sizes make for a much more unique centerpiece than flowers (harder to find at Christmastime anyway when poinsettias and holly fill the corner florist).
Kick things off using a tablecloth with a simple white background and a jubilant motif of lights, ribbon, and bells, such as the Retro Holiday Double Runner.
Red and green are front and center with Mirror Placemats in red adorned with Holly Leaves chargers in Red, Green, and Gold. Kim’s Jaune de Chrome china paired with Hollyday Napkins encircled by Hollyday Napkin Rings top things off in a festive way. Paillette tumblers and wine goblets in gold make for the best match, picking up the gold in the tablecloth and in the different-sized votives.
Candlelight is also a given at Christmastime, but adding an abundance of it here only elevates the mood. Festive mini silver Christmas trees in varying heights also pick up on the silver wrapping paper and silver votives.
Making spirits bright with whimsical tables like these will put everyone in the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas!
ENTERTAINING WITH SOPHIE
Who better to offer entertaining advice than House Beautiful Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson? Her eclectic flair (think Anthropologie, thrift store finds) has won her style points from both professional and personal peers alike, which makes her table settings always a departure from the standard. For the holidays, Donelson’s thoughts turn to good friends, her burgeoning family, and the warmth of a holiday table.
On throwing a holiday dinner party:
Most of our entertaining happens this time of year. We’re having a big dinner party early in the season and then the following night is our holiday block party and tree-lighting when we’ll likely have neighbors over afterward to polish off the “leftovers” of champagne, wine, and hors d’oeuvres. The house is already pretty and the fridge is stocked, so, why not make the most of it?
On what she wants her guests to feel when they walk in:
I want everyone to feel warm and welcomed, and to feel a certain amount of excitement, but never forced. At night, the table decor glows with the many candles I set out, and the metallics of the table decor add sparkle and energy to the room. It’s a sign that dinner will be fun and special.
On setting her holiday table:
I see it as festive but with a fresh perspective. There are so many possibilities that it’s not hard to always make it new yet inviting.
On her tablescape:
To me, it signifies life and growth. You see it in the apple dishes, the leaves charger, and the topiary that are like trees. We can all find renewal, comfort, and a certain amount of joy in nature.
The chargers are from Kim Seybert. I fell madly in love with them on sight. The hand-painted enamel is luminous in candlelight. It’s quite something. The glass apple dishes are vintage, found at a flea market in my neighborhood. The white dinner plates with gold band are antique English, a wedding shower gift from my dear friend Alexa. The brass pheasant is a favorite. He travels around my apartment from mantle to table to shelf and back. Flowers or greenery are essential. And candles, always candles. Don’t we all look good in candlelight?
On her biggest challenge when entertaining:
Having a four-year-old and a baby on the way. My son is not quite old enough to entertain himself while the grown-ups enjoy grown-up things so most of our gatherings are for all ages—for now!
Ingredients for a perfect dinner party?
New faces, flowing champagne, and a thoughtful seating arrangement.
SHOP THIS ARTICLE
For Sophie’s Table:
Merry and Bright: