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I think that there might be some things that naturally come to mind when you think of Christmas. There are two that also require the most thought and planning and they are decorations and entertaining, in my opinion. If you’re hosting an affair this Christmas, or would you like to add interest to your dining room or kitchen, the right way to go would be to set your table with a festive decorative accent.   I find that you don’t have to spend an outrageous amount on decorating your Christmas table, as long as you enjoy doing it and it gives you pleasure.   Sometimes all you have to do is use things that you already own to provide the right design one is seeking.

Decorating your table for Christmas can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it, but it can always be eye-catching and uplifting. If you have a little money to spend, you should first establish a limit, and then decide upon a theme.  If you remain unsure on decorating you can always draw upon experiences from the past to get ideas or even ask close friends or family to assist.  Or  you could go to the extreme and hire an event planner (and they tend to be over-priced and ineffective)  to help you, but I  find that sometimes this option works out and sometimes it doesn’t, and you can’t always guarantee you’d get the desired results that you set out to do.  As for myself, I always prefer to do the decorating myself and come up with some different variations every year.   It always looks spectacular!!!!!

Do you want a particular color or colors? There are those who especially love Christmas that would choose the old standbys, with the favorite colors being red, green, white, gold and silver.  If you have a color scheme in your home that you would like to play off of, then that can make it even simpler.  You can always find candles, ribbons, napkins, beads, etc. on line or at the store.  For someone like my mother, that meant using her favorite colors in lavender and green (she even went so far as to spray paint her Christmas tree lavender).   I remember helping her do this on her balcony and it took several cans of lavender spray paint to accomplish the look she desired.   But it was worth it, and the ornaments really stood out on the tree.

If you’re in the mood for a wintery look, I would venture to suggest using white, blue, or light shades of purple and you’re on your way. Along with matching candles in varying sizes, you can add ornamental snowflakes, little snowmen, or strands of clear beads or snowy white garlands.  I’ve always enjoyed having candles around for decorations, they add a special ambience.  Or you could even add touches of winter greenery or small Christmas trees to solidify the look.  If you are able to get some fresh greenery, the look and the aroma would be that much more impressive.  Some years I have done this and it makes a favorable impression.

A Christmas wreath (preferably fresh) laid in the center of the table can be the beginning of a perfect centerpiece.   You can decorate it with any object you desire as the central theme.  If you have no theme in mind other than something special, then ribbons and bows can always come to the rescue. Inside the wreath, place a large candle or several tapers. The tapers can be the same height or differing heights. The choice is yours. Just make certain that the flames or hot wax do not come in contact with anything that could cause a fire. I was at a dinner party once where that happened. We certainly had a lively Christmas party that night!    If you wanted to make a bold statement why not use a candelabra that is adorned with Christmas decorations.  You can a use any type of candelabra on the table be it silver, gold, wrought iron or even glass.   By being creative you could use evergreen or holly boughs that are wrapped around the base of the candelabra can add texture, while Christmas ornaments affixed to each of the candelabra’s arms add a special shine. The decorations will glow in the light of Christmas-hued candles of green, red or white.

Hurricane lanterns placed in a row down the center of the table can take the place of a traditional centerpiece. Stemware filled with beads, nuts, berries, glass marbles, or any small festive objects can be used as well. You can use themed pieces to decorate in between. We’ll use Christmas bells as our example of a theme. Bells can be purchased in packages or they can be purchased already strung on wire. If they are on wire, they can be wrapped around the base of the hurricane lanterns, or you can attach them to ribbon and wrap the ribbon around the lanterns. Long strands of ribbon and beads can flow around the decorations.

Continue to carry out your theme by using table napkins. Use two napkins of different colors for each place setting (such as red and green). Place one napkin on top of the other. You can roll them separately or roll them together, but the important thing is to tie them together. Tie them with a beautiful wired ribbon with the bell attached to the ribbon. Because wired ribbon can be shaped, it is easy to make the perfect size napkin holder. With your napkins inside your ribbon napkin holder, artfully arrange them and place them in the center of each plate. You now have bells on your napkin holders and bells on your table decorations.

You can continue the theme with bells tied to the backs of chairs, hanging from the chandelier or attached to your stemware. The idea is to repeat your color or decoration. By using a theme, your Christmas table will then go from ho-hum to spectacular!

Designer candle holders make the perfect centerpiece for your holiday table. When large enough, you need only a few votives on the table for just the right twinkle and sparkle. When they come in a set, you may display them as a collection for impact, or you may scatter them around the house and use each one as the accent piece in other displays.

You can make a simple traditional Christmas table ornament using fresh or artificial fruit. Line the table with a long piece of fabric, topped with an arrangement of real or artificial fruit. The fruit will glisten in candlelight after a generous coating with glue and sprinkling of silver or gold glitter. Boughs of holly or pine woven around the fruit and down the center of the table will add texture and contrast. Candlesticks topped with tall tapers placed throughout the decoration add a warm glow.

High on my own list is tabletop décor when it comes to Christmas decorating is by using beautiful figurines reflect the celebration at every turn. Small figurines, such as Nutcrackers, or snow globes can bring to life a quiet corner on a shelf or play a key role in larger displays. The larger displays command the center of attention and make a big impression. Collections are very popular and make decorating easy.   I have many, yet different Nutcrackers that I use in m decorating at Christmas, and I vary the arrangements that they are in every time.

I also have found that a bowl of ornaments provides a simple yet elegant table decoration that will give your table a sophisticated look. Set a glass bowl in the center of your table (if you aren’t using a wreath here) and fill it with solid colored glass ornaments or ornaments in a variety of colors. Go a little further and line the bottom of the bowl with pine needles or tinsel and place tea lights around the outside of the bowl.

Another variation of this sort of decoration would be if you use trays and serving platters that can double as the central element of the table decoration. You could even have sprigs of evergreen line the bottom of your favorite dish, topped with pine cones and red berries.  If it even touches your fantasy you could also incorporate tinsel or ornaments. To add even more interest and a merry twinkle, place a strand of battery-operated Christmas lights inside the tray or platter.

For a merry table decoration that also provides guests with sweet treats, fill a large glass vase with red- and white-striped mints. Place candy canes inside the vase so that the arcs of the canes curl over the edge of the vase. Once you have positioned the vase in the place you would like it, scatter red, white and silver glitter around its base. Your holiday guests can enjoy a piece of the candy while they are visiting.

Kathy Kiefer


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