Merry Tablescapes for a Holiday at Home

We may be staying home and keeping the celebrations small, but we can still make the holidays special with a beautiful table. Get inspired with tips, recipe ideas, and looks from our partners at Summer Classics Home

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.

Photo of a dining room furnished with long wooden dining table, a pair of long wood benches on either side, and rattan-backed chairs at either end. A wreath, a long green garland, and small Christmas tree-shaped decorations decorate a white plaster mantel with an arabesque opening for the fire. The table is decorated with garlands, mercury glass votives, and vases of white flowers. The furniture and holiday decor is sold at Summer Classics Home stores.

We love the attitude and flexibility mixed seating brings to a dining table. Holiday decor, Sophia Bench, Watson Chair with Wendy Jane Performance Pillow in Mallard Lux, Verona Chairs, Adams Dining Table, and Damon Mirror from Summer Classics Home

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.

A pattern bearing an illustration of a simple, singular evergreen tree decorates white ceramic pitchers, mug, plate and tray from Summer Classics home stores. The pitcher and mug are filled with hot chocolate, and the tray and play hold cookies, soft peppermint sticks, and marshmallows on a table set for a holiday hot cocoa party.

Your local Summer Classics Home store is your one-stop shop for holiday tabletop accessories, garlands, votives, and more. Find a store.

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.

dining room holiday decor from Summer Classics Home

A golden holiday table setting with a seeded eucalyptus garland and fern fronds complements the dining room’s contemporary Art Deco vibe. Beckett Dining Table with cerused finish, Tyson Dining Chairs with nailhead trim, Fiona Console, Wade Table Lamps, and Lovell Mirror from Summer Classics Home

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.

Assorted gold and silver toned votives available at Summer Classics Home Stores


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

Warm Drinks

Spiced Orange and Maple Westrock Coffee, P. Allen Smith
From the kitchen of P. Allen Smith, Spiced Orange and Maple Westrock Coffee is the perfect pick-me-up for après-dinner conversation.
Cups of Reprinted from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020with citrus slices, garnished with cinnamon stick
An aromatic, steaming mug of Mulled Cider soothes the soul on a winter's day. In this version by Jessica Strand, author of Very Merry Cocktails (Chronicle Books, 2020), a touch of real maple syrup takes it over the top. Photography by Ren Fuller
hot chocolate with chilli
Two kinds of heat combine in sweet, rich cups of Hot Chocolate with Chili from Hot Drinks (Ryland Peters & Small, 2017).
christmas milk recipe
Drink or dessert? This recipe for Christmas Milk, also from the Hot Drinks cookbook, is like mince pie in a mug!

Sweet Treats

Squares of Cinnamon Roll Blondies an parchment paper
This recipe for Cinnamon Roll Blondies is a variation on Sarah Kieffer’s Brown Butter Blondies, swapping the chocolate and pecans for a cream cheese filling and cinnamon sugar swirl. Try either or both versions for a holiday treat. Photo © Sarah Kieffer from 100 Cookies (Chronicle Books, 2020)
Ginger Cookies
Bake a batch of Five-Spice Gingersnaps from Cookies & Cocktails by Katherine Cobbs (Tiller Press, 2019) for a trip down memory lane. Photo © Becky Luigart-Stayner
A holiday spread, including almond bark, pound cake, and other sweet and savory treats
Pound Cake and Almond Bark are Christmas classics, and this pair of recipes from the Gardener's Cottage in Asheville is no exception.
Alex Hitz recipe, Connie's Chocolate Sauce
Cookbook author Alex Hitz picked up this recipe from the famous Hollywood hostess Connie Wald, and now we're passing it along to you. Get ready for the easiest and most delicious Chocolate Sauce you've ever spooned over ice cream (or anything else).

Festive Cocktails

champagne cocktail
Toast the season with a Winter's Kiss, a citrus and herb Champagne cocktail from interior designer Marjorie Johnston's recipe box.
smoked old fashioned recipe
If Jolly Old St. Nick were to have a favorite cocktail, we'd like to think it would be the Smoked Old-Fashioned from William Yeoward’s American Bar (Cico Books, 2012). The smokey essence comes not from the chimney but from 15-year-old Laphroaig single malt Scotch. Photo ©Loupe Images/Gavin Kingcome
Spiked with bourbon and brandy, Milk Punch is especially good before a holiday lunch with cheese straws and pecans. We love this classic version by the late great Julia Reed. Photo by Laurey W. Glenn
ambrosia nectar recipe
Designer James Farmer's grandmother said that he drank his holiday ambrosia rather than ate it. "The nectar and juices in the bottom of the bowl was the best part to me, with all the fruit flavors infused together." The memory inspired this holiday recipe for Ambrosia Nectar with Coconut Rim. Photo from Farmer's book Sip & Savor (Gibbs Smith, 2012)
Highball glass filled with ice and Cranberry Shrub Cocktail from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand. The glass is rimmed in sugar and garnished with a skewer of cranberries. A gold clutch lays on the gray and white marble counter beside it.
A splash of ginger ale and a homemade shrub (that's a syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar) put a festive spin on a cranberry-and-vodka. Try the Cranberry Shrub Cocktail from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand. Photo by Ren Fuller for Chronicle Books, 2020
frozen whiskey sours recipe
Frozen Whiskey Sours—another Julia Reed favorite—is a slushy treat to fill your punch bowl. Photo by Paul Costello from Julia Reed's South (Rizolli, 2016)
Three glass tumblers filled with Evergreen Sparkler, a fizzy lemon, rosemary, and gin cocktail from the book Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand. Rosemary sprigs garnish each glass. The background is a glittery silver.

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