One of the best things about the holidays is “gatherings.” You can’t help but feel grateful when surrounded by friends, loved ones and a hearty meal on your plate! A shared meal holds the family close. Gatherings can be noisy and busy . . . but allow yourself to be present in the moment and intentional with the people in your life.
The meal doesn’t need to be fancy, the house doesn’t need to be immaculate, and the decorations don’t have to be perfect before you host a "gathering." However, a thoughtfully arranged table draws people together, shows your investment in the moment, and invites loved ones to linger.
Here’s a few simple steps to designing your own tablescape for holiday gatherings.
- Choose a color scheme such as earth tones for Thanksgiving, or black and white buffalo check for Christmas.
- Begin with a base for the display: a natural wood table may stand alone as a warm, familiar textured base. Or start with a table runner, a scrunched up tablecloth, a soft plaid blanket or a strip of vintage fabric.
- Add height. Incorporate oversized candles, chunky candlesticks, slender tapers and jars or vases filled with slim branches or clusters of greenery. Use upcycled bottles (amber ones are beautiful for Thanksgiving) as inexpensive holders for candles and stems. Keep the overall height low enough for family to make eye contact across the table!
- Create interest and add volume. Layer gourds, miniature pumpkins, apples, pears, leaves, or branches (think about bay leaf, seeded eucalyptus and cedar branches for fresh greenery.) Be creative with what you find around you. A combination of formal and natural, old and new will give your table a timeless appeal.
- Two or three days before your event, iron the tablecloth and set out your serving dishes.
- If you don’t need your table for dinner prep, decorate it the day before, so you don’t feel rushed the day of your gathering. Turn down the lights, turn on some peaceful music, and enjoy the moment as you prepare for your loved ones to arrive.
- While setting place cards, think about each person and pray for them.
- Feature elements from your own cupboards and collections interspersed with natural elements gathered from the outdoors.
- Collect items such as tapers, amber and clear glass bottles for candle holders, linen napkins, scarves or vintage throws.
- Consider textures such as rough-hewn wood, jute, glass with patina, woven fabric and galvanized metal.
- Consider filling tiny mason jars with treats and wrap with linen and twine as well as a name tag for a giftable place setting. Or wrap cloth napkins with a shimmery ribbon and sprig of greenery for a simple touch that sends each guest the message, “This is just for you!”
- If you have lots of kids at your table, consider using battery-powered candles instead of real ones.
- Allow guests to bring food. It takes the burden off, and allows everyone to share their gifts.
Keep the details simple. Keep the focus on gathering. Serve others and share with those you love. It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that creates happiness!