We notice nowadays that mostly everything is catered to the “Do it yourself” crowd. Which is great in theory in that it makes new opportunities available and approachable to everyone. However not everyone is capable and crafty. Sometimes even following simple instructions requires energy and insight that we don’t possess. What says 15 minutes on the tutorial actually equates to an hour and 15 minutes in real people time. Not to mention sometimes these projects require trial and error and we just don’t have the luxury of time for that especially around the holidays. We have a special treat for all of you anti DIYers. 6 simple ways to elevate your holiday entertaining. Technically these still require you to do it yourself but we kept time and skill in mind. Those that have neither but still want a festive tablescape to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, this is for you.
Candles, Candles, Candles. Seriously thats it. Tapers, cylinders or votives. Or a combination of the three. Candles are the perfect accent or main event. You can even repurpose some old wine or beer bottles and use them as the taper candle holders. Mirrors act as an easy and formal surface to cluster some cylinder and votive candles. Make a runner of mirrors on your table or put one or more separated candle clusters depending on the size of your table. I’m obsessed with a colored candle, and that is no exaggeration. However don’t forget you want to go fragrance free for the tablescape. No one wants to be overwhelmed by fragrant fumes when they are chowing down on some savory eats.
1. Image found on Pinterest. For mirrors check out Jamali Garden or your local Michaels. 2. Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Wedings. Michaels, Pottery Barn, Home Goods etc. would have a decent selection of candles and holders. However I love everything from World Market. I especially enjoy this rust colored taper candle which perfectly resembles the color of the fall foliage. 3. Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings. Showcasing how using multiple colors is a risk but comes with great reward. 4. Image found on Pinterest from MagnetStreet. You can dress up your candles with cranberries, acorns, chestnuts, lentils, corn kernels etc. Don’t believe me? Try it! 5. Image found on Pinterest via Intimate Weddings. Wine Bottles, Beer Bottles, in fact any glass bottles with a small opening (snapple bottles are considered to have a wide opening) would suffice. Just be sure to text your candle with your bottle. It might require you to nudge, maneuver or shave the candle down for the perfect fit.
2. CLOTHS, RUNNERS & MATS
These aren’t mandatory but they do add that small element of effort to your overall table ensemble. If you don’t own anything and don’t have time to go purchase I’m pretty confident you have a scarf somewhere that would make a perfect runner for your table. Just make sure its one that you don’t care if it gets dirty or damaged by the ravishing that will commence. I love the idea of kraft paper or chalkboard runners or place mats. Put it down and leave some crayons, pencils, sharpies or pens. Let the adults channel their inner child and write down what they’re thankful for or any wishes they might have for the holiday and upcoming new year.
1. MRK Slate Placemat via West Elm. Home depot also has a slate square you could use as a placemat. These are so chic and you could even repurpose them to serve cheese and fruit or desserts on for many future gatherings. Definitely worth the investment if you ask me. 2. Handwoven Macrame Table Runner via Anthropologie. 3. Chalkboard Table Runner via Anthropologie. You can also pick up a roll of Kraft paper at your local craft store and use that. 4. Striped Natural Table Placemat Set via West Elm. I love a nice woven texture whether it sits atop a rustic wooden table or a white modern contemporary one. 5. Flower Fair Tablecloth via Anthropologie. Prints never go out of style. Throw a nice printed tablecloth down and little else is needed to make that table pop.
A garnish is defined as an item used as a decoration or embellishment accompanying a dish. We are not referring to garnishes to food but we are referred to the decorative garnish to the place settings. We’ve featured only a few of the many options and ways to accent the place setting. Ribbon, thyme, rosemary, sage, olive leaves, cranberries, chestnuts, acorns, pine cones, twigs, dried cotton, flowers on or off stems etc. Actually we might’ve provided the full list of possibilities so there might not be any “etc.”. Adding these elements on a napkin is preferred although you could get away with putting it directly on the plate especially if there is some signage paired with it.
1. Rosemary and Cranberries via Amanda Marshall. 2. Cinnamon and Sprig via Weranna’s Blog. 3. Brass Silhouette Napkin Rings via West Elm. 4. Image found via Style Me Pretty photography by The Nichols. 5. Tied Silverware found via Real Simple. A textured ribbon like the velvet one featured or even one with a pattern or print would work well with your silverware. Feeling rustic then stick with twine and burlap. If you don’t have time to purchase some ribbon then perhaps you have some shoe laces that you can cut the ends of and use instead (preferably unused because of sanitary issues and eww).
4. PRINTS, PATTERNS & FOLDS
Perhaps we’re always to busy burying our hands and faces in them to recognize that napkins serve for functionality and for decorative enhancement. Keeping us from being barbarians while we eat is not the Napkins only skill. This one element can conveniently complete the look you’re going for or provide you with a look you couldn’t have envisioned to begin with. You can either go with a solid color, a bold print or modern pattern or you can go with a traditional white and just elevate it with a specialty napkin fold. A simple pocket fold allows you to also create a home for your silverware. Or you can attempt some more labor intensive folds if the time allows.
1. Pali Napkin Set via Local + Lejos. 2. Bow Fold via Nancy Creative. 3. Found on Pinterest via Romancing the Home. You can purchase something similar. Newbury Plaid Napkin via Pottery Barn. 4. Photo via Studio Mondine. Purchase something similar at Crate and Barrel. 5. Blue Ombre Linen Cloth Napkins via Dot and Army. Photo by one of our favorites, Tory Williams, captured at Filigree Suppers curated by Brita Olsen Creative.
These might be the center of attention at your holiday dinner but they don’t need to be the center of your world. Here are simple solutions that use festive materials to adorn your table and require very little effort. Trust me you’ll be receiving lots of praise from your guests on your attention to detail and festive decor. Just accept it graciously and call it a day. No need to divulge that it took no time and little energy to accomplish.
1. Image found via Pinterest. Cranberries and Herbs. You don’t even have to go to a specialty store for these items. You can pick them up at your local grocery store. In fact you might even be cooking with these ingredients. so just purchase some extra. 2. Image found via Pinterest. Purchase some potted succulents and call it a day. Create a runner of succulents as seen pictured or cluster them with some candles and you’re all set. You can also overlap succulents on the table bare but just be aware following your meal that succulents are a plant that need to be tended to slightly to remain alive. 3. Acorns Centerpiece found via Pinterest. Take some acorns and chestnuts, peeled or not and place them in bowls, vases or wooden and woven baskets. You can even put some loosely on the table surrounding the vessels that are filled with them. 4. Photo from Pinterest via Mod Wedding. Pine Cones are a perfect addition to creative a festive holiday tablescape. No I do not intend for you to spray paint nor do I encourage it. The fumes smell, are toxic and while its a nice result it’s not necessary to execute these entertaining tips. Use the natural pine cones. Place the pine cones in glass vessels, lower wider wooden bowls or create a chaotic placement of a pine cone runner directly on your table. If you want to get crafty. Add some acorns or chestnuts in with the Pine Cones for further texture and depth. 5. Photo via Pinterest. Ornaments make a perfect centerpiece. Glass vessels of any shape and size work. Big enough to fit ornaments but that goes without saying. You can do a table with two larger and taller vessels filled with ornaments or do a clustered mix of high and low vessels. You can also do one solid color of ornaments for the decor or a mixture of colors and textures. There is no right or wrong!
The final recommended details that can elevate your home entertaining; signage and coasters. I know coasters don’t seem like they’d be something worth putting effort into but the truth is drinking is typically the main attraction to every social activity no matter the holiday or the beverage of choice. People will remember what they put their drink on all evening. I went back and forth on whether to include place cards and signage but I genuinely think this element personalizes your affair and adds the perfect finishing touch your table needs. My hesitation was that not everybody likes their handwriting but what I realized is WHO CARES. I don’t care if your handwriting is chicken scratch or you enlist your 5 yr old to write the names in crayon. We are not all calligraphers but we don’t have to be in order to personalize our place settings. Whether you personalize place cards identifying where people should sit, or if you don’t want to dictate seating to your guests then just leave a sweet note saying thank you, listing the menu, writing a joke, or leaving a question and a writing instrument at each setting, WHATEVER you want to share. Any surface goes. Index Cards, Ripped kraft paper or looseleaf, post cards, post-its, tags, etc.
1. Photo via Elegance and Enchantment. 2. Photo via Pinterest. Purchase something similar at West Elm. 3. Photo via Belle and June. Purchase something similar at West Elm. 4. Photo via Intimate Weddings. 5. Photo by Karen Mordechai via Sunday Suppers.
NOW GO ENTERTAIN AND USE OUR HOLIDAY HACKS!