Saturday, November 8, 2014

Setting a Holiday Table

As the holiday season approaches we start thinking about decorating the house.
With that comes the decision on how to set our table for the holiday meals.
Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone but our American friends will soon celebrate their Thanksgiving.  Here are a few ideas  and tips for your holiday tables. 

Over the past few years I've been collecting different kinds of pumpkins and for Thanksgiving this year I used them with a berry vine and candles on a burlap table runner.  I also bought some yellow salad plates which I mixed with my white china.

 If you have chargers, use them - they are a nice addition to the table. Mix and match your china.  
I bought several colours of salad plates when they were on sale 
which gives me a variety of colour pallets to work with.
 Make use of your printer and make your own napkin rings.  For Thanksgiving, I printed up verses about being thankful on craft paper, cut strips and taped them around a triple fold napkin.

Think outside the box when deciding on napkin placement. For another meal this fall, I put the brightly patterned napkin under each plate, adding a punch of colour to an otherwise
 monochromatic table setting.

Dollar store polished stones together with some birds that usually sit on my window sill and several sizes of mason jars as candle holders made a nice centerpiece. I bought two strips of burlap at the fabric store and had a friend serge the edges to use as table runners.

I don't have many napkin rings but here I used them to hold an accordion pleated napkin.
Often I just tie them with raffia or ribbon.

Here I used one pumpkin, some leaves from the yard and nuts from our orchard as my centerpiece.
I also used a smaller tablecloth  centered over a larger one.  This added needed colour to my table.
Red doilies ,available at dollars store around Valentines day, 
made a colourful base for the stemmed dishes.

This basket  is filled with different shaped gourds with a pedestal candle holder in the middle.
I bought the quilted pumpkin table runner from a young Mennonite girl in Waterloo, Ontario.

For an Italian themed dinner that was auctioned off to send our youth on a missions trip, I set this table. You can draw some of the ideas for your holiday table.
Small polished stones (available at the dollar store) in the bottom of each bottle keep them weighted on the table. I used 2 colours of napkins to add flair.

For the printed menus, I utilized my computer, printer and a rubber stamp from my craft supplies. 
Look around at what you have - paper, stamps, punches or stickers and get creative.

A simple centerpiece can be assembled out of any decorative objects from porcelein birds, Christmas ornaments, pumpkins, fruit, flowers, angels, etc. and candle holders. Set them on a cloth napkin, a platter or table runner to ground your arrangement.
I've found that a decorative vine softens and pulls together the arrangements.
Also, don't feel bound to use the traditional cutlery placement. Use your imagination and find new placements for your napkins and cutlery 

A more formal table setting. 
For a ladies dinner last Christmas, I used a scroll rubber stamp and a sponge to smudge the edges of these place cards.  Print up a Bible verse or conversation starter inside the card.

For this table I placed length of glittery fabric over a table runner, some ornaments and glittered pine branches for a silver and gold arrangement. I snipped apart a dollar store plastic branch for the gold accents under the cutlery.

As you can see, our holiday table is usually set for 10-20.  I'm fortunate to have a large table and the space so I like to make a long arrangement of candles and decorative items.

Large table or small, table runners are less expensive than tablecloths and are easily stored over a hanger or in a drawer.  With a few of them in your store, you have an limitless variety of 
table-scapes at your fingertips. They can also be used as mats if you lay several of them across the width of the table.

I tend to use paper napkins rather than cloth although the cloth definitely add class.  There are so many lovely designs of paper napkins out there for only a few dollars (check out Super Store or Ikea) and there are no stained napkins to wash later.

When entertaining a group, I like to set the table a day or two before the event. Setting the table is something I enjoy so I like to give myself time to play with ideas
Whether it's a formal event or a casual meal with friends or family, an attractive table makes 
your guests feel welcome and special.
 I hope you have found a few ideas here to inspire you as your set your holiday entertaining table.


  1. Beautiful and classy. Good job Bev!

  2. Very nice!
    What's funny is that in my family we say "Let's get out the heirloom tablecloth" aka an old bedsheet from the 60s or 70s! Never fancy at our house, and we always just put the dishes of food in the center of the table.

  3. shirley bertheletteNovember 8, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Bev!! like your setting very much-- but at my house setting is simple,, and food is placed on table :) but I do like yours, umm

  4. I love a pretty table but oftentimes I am stumped at how to decorate so I set it the same boring way. Thank you for these ideas, I'll definitely try some!

  5. Very pretty. I have a logistical question. Since the table decorations can take up a lot of space and not leave much room for serving dishes, do your guests serve themselves at a separate buffet table and then take their seat at the dinner table? Or do you serve each plate from the head of the table and pass it around to each guest, already seated at the table? Or do you put serving dishes of food on the table and the guests pass the dishes around?

    1. Generally I bring the various bowls and platters of food hot from the kitchen, one at a time and have people serve themselves and pass it around. Then the food dishes are mostly left on the table with one or two placed on the sideboard ready at hand. You can make your center arrangements smaller to accommodate the dishes of food.

  6. Each and every one of them is beautiful. I especially love the Italian dinner table.
    I use paper napkins for a snap of colour as well. They iron well if you are careful and you can get any creases out and make them lie flat.

  7. All of your table settings are beautiful... thank you for sharing!

  8. Nice ideas, thank you. I like your idea of setting the table a day or two beforehand. Great advice.

  9. Bev, this is truly inspiring. You've used a lot of simple ideas... My problem is that I find it hard to think outside of the box. But you truly have given me some great ideas for the up coming season. Thanks loads for all the work.

  10. Absolutely beautiful. I love china and crystal so a well laid out table makes my heart sing.