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Decorating Tables for the Holidays

Thanksgiving and winter holidays are a time to welcome friends and family into your home, and there’s no better way to do that than by preparing a special meal and creating special table décor. When you take time to design an inspirational tablescape, it’s a joyful and artistic endeavor that shows how much loved ones mean to you.

Before guests take a bite of your delicious meal, the setting draws them in. Your environment should touch on just about every sense, from visual aesthetics to tactile textures and sounds like music and laughter, as well as memorable aromas like cinnamon, apple, orange, and cloves, and, of course, tastes.

Visuals are often the most elaborate to add, and many people forget about texture and height when creating a tablescape. Adding soft, feathery elements to centerpieces and draping chairs with sheepskin (or using sheepskin chair pads) go a long way. Blending metal candlestick holders with wooden décor and warm fabrics in the form of tablecloths, runners, or placemats also add to the table’s intrigue.

Thanksgiving kicks off holiday celebrations with traditional oranges, browns, and burgundies. It’s a time to express gratitude for all that this nation affords. 

Adding silk fall leaves to ceramic plates set upon orange placemats or brown chargers reflects the changing season. 

As you light orange, burgundy, or gold candles placed upon the table, you might silently reflect upon all that you’re grateful for, or ask guests to chime in about people, places, and things they value. Lighting candles sets the tone for a warm evening of relishing everything we love about our lives.

Always keep centerpieces low, so guests can see each other across the table. Whether it’s a Thanksgiving centerpiece or December holiday arrangement, fresh flowers always add a bright and lively element. For Thanksgiving, incorporate golds, oranges, and darker reds; for Christmas, red roses along with green foliage pop; for Hannukah, choose whites and blues; and for Kwanza, you can incorporate a black vessel to match the reds and greens of the season. 

Of course, you can infuse any spiritual belief into your décor, perhaps surrounding a statue of Buddha or a nativity scene with poinsettias. 

If you happen to have a firepit or cauldron and it’s nice enough to bring the gathering outside, the combination of fire and the crisp air can add to the feeling of togetherness. Kids especially love making s’mores outside.

During the December holidays, wreaths and décor accent homes and tables. Depending on your style (and availability), you can keep décor simple or go wild. A long centerpiece arrangement showcasing red roses and greenery is a sophisticated way to complement a table, particularly a bare wooden one, without a tablecloth. Surprise guests with warm, yellow floral accents.

Some people are trending a more natural look in their décor, incorporating evergreen or small aspen branches cut from the backyard with burlap and pinecones. This rustic, cozy feel lends a hygge feeling. Add hints of gold and silver for additional sparkle, and you’ve suddenly created a festive atmosphere. 

In general, don’t be shy when it comes to your table décor; incorporate whatever represents your sense of happiness, and your guests will definitely feel it, too.