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The Broomfielder

How to Set a Festive Holiday Table

Nov 06, 2018 02:53PM

How to Set a Festive Holiday Table

By Elizabeth Buckingham

The Thanksgiving meal rightfully steals all of the attention, but setting a beautiful table can be fun, too – and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Rather than blow your budget on expensive bouquets of imported hothouse flowers, harness your DIY ingenuity and create some truly showstopping displays.

 Send the kids out to the backyard to harvest seasonally appropriate decor. Tall grasses, willow branches, herbs gone to seed – your own neighborhood can be a bounty of earthy, rustic decor options. Place reeds and branches in slender vases or flea market bottles, and arrange in groups. If you can obtain sheaves of wheat or spent cornstalks, they’ll make striking arrangements perfect for backing a buffet; force the stems to stand up straight by pouring sugar or salt in the bottom of the vase. Don’t forget the pinecones; they’re widely available, usually free and perfect for fall and winter decorating.

 Have a boring clear glass vase lurking around? Dress it up by spray painting dried corncobs with metallic paint, then tie them around the vase with raffia. Filled with stately, elegant branches or colorful mums, your unique centerpiece will be the talk of the table. 

Enlist the young ones to make dozens of crepe paper flowers to decorate the table and buffet. Easy-to-follow tutorials are available online; use fall colors, like rich reds, golds, and oranges, and create bouquets, napkin ties, and other festive decor. Craft projects are great for keeping the wee ones occupied and the decorating budget in check!

Candlelight makes everyone and everything look better. Fill short, simple votive holders about one-third full with acorns, unshelled nuts, coffee beans or pretty pebbles. Nestle small unscented candles in each and set down the middle of the table. Wind ribbons, greenery or grapevines around the candles and enjoy the soft illumination.

Those tiny pumpkins that are always on sale this time of year are useful for decorations all over the house. Spray paint them in metallic gold or silver, and arrange in a shallow bowl or platter. Carve out the stem and they make perfect holders for votive candles; secure small glass hurricanes to the pumpkin using floral pins. If you’re setting a large table, attach a placecard to each pumpkin, plus a small card on which guests can write what they’re thankful for. Read the cards aloud during dessert!

A large pumpkin makes the perfect holder for a simple glass vase. Cut a thin layer off the bottom so the pumpkin sits flat. Carve and remove the interior, then secure the vase inside and fill with flowers, herbs or grasses. Don’t forget to roast the seeds for a cocktail snack! If you’re not up for carving another pumpkin, just poke small holes into the flesh using a sharp skewer, and display single flower stems or sprigs of bright fall foliage.

Before the madness of the holidays descends, spend a few minutes browsing through your own home and backyard for simple, fresh decorating ideas. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find to jazz up your table this season!