Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Christmas Table ~ Holiday Entertaining Part II

One of the best gifts we can give others is the pleasure of dining.  For as long as their has been civilization and perhaps longer, one of the most basic and fulfilling pleasures we have is breaking bread together.  This week I wanted to share with you how I arrange the holiday table and the little things I try to do to make the dining experience pleasurable for our friends and family.  All of the photos below are from years of Christmas meals.

In the above photo I've tried to break up the busy
Christmas tablecloth pattern by adding a solid runner.
The first thing to be considered is the actually surroundings.  For special occasions I use the formal dining room.  Each year we decorate it for the holidays so that when we have dinner parties, the room sets the special atmosphere.  A tree tucked into the corner and glowing in deep red tones matches the dining room theme and the holiday dishware.

In the above photo, even I'm dressed to match the holiday theme.
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Table favors are another old fashioned but excellent way to make your holiday table special.  Over the years I've used small goody baskets, ornaments nested in the napkin and nuts in a sleigh with a candle and a chocolate reindeer.  All have proved popular and make a nice little 'take away' for our guests, reminding them of their dinner at our house.

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I like to start off my holiday dinners in the adjacent living room, where a champagne cocktail is most always on the menu along with an appetizer.  (Shown in photo below left.)  After a drink and some conversation to get things started, we move to the table where even the food can 'blink a bright red and green'.  (Shown below right is a crab meat cocktail on a gold charger and a Lenox Holiday plate.)

Of course sometimes you need to feed a bigger crowd and then I fall back to disposal dinner service.  But even plastic plates and napkins can look elegant when placed on a well-dressed table.  I also make sure I garnish every platter so they look just as festive as the Christmas tree!

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Have you seen the below nifty little item?  It's a cloth doily of sorts except it has little pockets to hold your dinner rolls.  I placed some beaded flowers in the center pocket.  I have several of these in colors that accent my dining room.  While I don't use them often, for special occasions I do put them out. 

Of course we don't have every meal in the dining room during the holidays so even our kitchen table area is well decorated for Christmas.  So whether it's breakfast and blueberry pancakes (shown below right) or crab legs on Christmas Eve (shown below left), I still accent my normally green kitchen decor with as much red as possible so even casual meals feel special.

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Even though I have a busy job and travel extensively, I still like to spend the month of December at home with friends and family.  I do plenty of baking and making holiday meals.  No matter what I make or where I serve it, I try to add a special holiday touch this time of the year.

So from my kitchen to yours, my best wishes for a safe, lovely, and very Merry Christmas!


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