Haul Out the Holly…
… and the cedar, pine, and fir to deck the halls. A pinecone-adorned garland and wreath set a jolly mood on a mantel topped with woven decorative trees and ornaments. A table runner of cedar branches creates a lush base for a trio of arrangements and a scattering of votives resembling Christmas baubles.
Choose a Theme
A theme makes it merry and can shape the menu, too. It can be simple and easy, such as the Fireside Hot Cocoa theme shown here. A casual china pattern with an evergreen tree motif echoes the cedar table runner and brings a “cabin in the woods” feel, while votives, lanterns, and a hearth filled with pillar candles provide the “fire.” Warm up a pot of cocoa on the stovetop using your traditional recipe or a favorite gourmet mix, and fill trays with marshmallows, peppermint sticks, and your favorite holiday sweets.
Find recipe ideas at the end of this post.
Consider a Neutral Scheme
Traditional red and green is always a favorite. And, as our recent Nov/Dec cover story proved, a vibrant pink, orange, blue, and lime green palette can lift your Christmas spirits. So choose a color scheme that inspires you, but don’t discount neutral tones—warm winter white, gold, and silver mixed with natural greenery. These hues go with everything, and allow you to explore your creativity in other ways, which leads us to our next tablescape and topic.
Layer Shape, Pattern, Height & Texture
The tablescape above plays with these elements to evoke a sylvan scene. Petite white Christmas tree figurines nestle under golden long-necked bottles bearing “branches” of fern fronds. At the center, a vase shimmers with a textured covering of thin metallic glass beads. Amber-tinted water glasses and fun stemware continue the opulent scheme. For the place settings, gold-toned flatware, gilt chargers layered with gold-rimmed dinnerware, and simple ball ornaments attached to the napkin rings complete the look.
Add Ambiance with Votives
Flickering votives not only bring a warm glow to the table, they provide another opportunity to add interest with different heights and to reinforce your overall scheme.
This article is sponsored by Summer Classics Home. Shop from the comfort of your own home at summerclassicshome.com or shop holiday decor at a store near you.
Favorite Holiday Recipes
Click the arrows on photos (or swipe if on a mobile device) to see more recipe ideas
Sipping an Evergreen Sparkler, another recipe from Jessica Strand's Very Merry Cocktails, is like taking your tastebuds for a wintery walk in the forest. Photo by Ren Fuller for Chronicle Books, 2020