We have a family tradition of going “all out” in decorating our holiday tables, especially our Christmas table. It started with my aunt, Geri, my mother’s twin. She would decorate her Christmas table with candles, flowers from her garden (usually roses – see “The Roses of December” – all but 7 of the rose bushes in my garden came from my aunt’s house; another story for another time), and Christmas ornaments…piles of ornaments in vases or bowls or just lying on the table OR all three!
When we all moved permanently to California (we are Air Force brats, so lived in many, many places before my father retired), my mother took over some of the holiday celebrations and the twins would decide who was doing Christmas and who was doing Thanksgiving, Easter, birthdays, etc. Anyway, my mother joining in hosting the family holiday celebrations led to a friendly competition between the twins and each holiday, especially Christmas, became more and more elaborate.
So, my nieces and nephews know nothing less. All of them, at one time or another, have participated in decorating the holiday tables from the time they were little. Princess P decorated her first “Aunt Carole” holiday table when she was 3 (it was a Thanksgiving table and she ran up and down our hallway, carrying one little turkey at a time from the garage storage into the house and onto the dining room table – it was so darn cute!).
Samantha, my sister Gail’s youngest and Tiffany’s sister, loves to decorate any holiday table and always asks if she can do so. Of course, I say “yes”! Why wouldn’t I say “yes”? She takes the burden from me PLUS she is so darn good at it! She has an artist’s eye (must have inherited that gene from her grandfather, Chuck) and loves spending hours tweaking it until it is just right. Her first introduction on this blog is called “Samantha’s Table” so you can read that earlier post by clicking on the link.
Anyway, there was a small “glitch” with this year’s table. She came over and decorated the table on one of her days off from work. We have a relatively large family, so when building our new house (see “Any Way the Wind Blows“), I dedicated what is really the living room to a dining room and bought the biggest table I could find (it sits 16). The table has 5 leaves and I don’t leave it up to sit 16 all the time; instead, it is usually set up to seat 10 most of the time.
So, when Samantha first came over, the table was set up for 10 and I forgot to add the remaining leaves! So, she decorated the center, ran out of time and said she would come back later to finish the place settings. The next day I realized my mistake and felt very badly. I ask my friend and neighbor, Rosa, if she could come over and help me undecorate it, put the remaining leaves in it, put the tablecloth back on and redecorate it! So, Rosa did!
Then, Samantha came over after work and finished the table! So, this year’s Christmas table has been decorated twice! Twice blessed!
Photo above, left to right: the centerpiece is done and the place card holders are added. Next, the chargers are added. Then, the plates are added (I don’t have enough of the same plates, so the plates are alternated using two different patterns).
So, the pictures above and below are of the “recreated” center tablescape re-envisioned by Rosa. I’ve collected holiday decorating knick-knacks for 5 years now and add to this collection every year. They come from all over the place: grocery stores (floral departments are a great source of stuff!), drug stores, department stores, florists, independent crafters at holiday craft fairs, etc. My only requirements are that they be in the same color scheme (red, green, white) and they be whimsical. And, I’ve collected lots and lots of ornaments for Samantha and Rosa to use!
Photo above, left to right: Samantha setting the table adding the salad plates. Then she adds the glasses. Finally, she adds the stockings stuffed with $1,000,000 chocolate bars! Notice the front door in the pictures above? You can see that is starts out with daylight appearing in the door windows and progresses to dusk and then night as Samantha works on her table decorating!
Having the table set for days (and sometimes weeks) ahead of schedule infuses our home with a wonderful spirit of the holiday season plus relieves the last minute stress of getting the table set for a large gathering. And, Charlie and I get to enjoy looking at our ever-growing collection!
This year, my new additions include the red with green polka-dots, 3-tiered wrapped Christmas present (third row, far right in above picture) from a local drug store. It’s made of plastic, so inexpensive but very festive! I also bought the red wooden “HoHoHo” pictured in several places and the green wooden “Peace” signs from the same drug store!
These paper napkins were purchased last year at Costco. So, they came in a pack of at least 100; we used them last year and we’ll be using them for several years to come!
The chocolate candy bars are new this year, too. Same drug store…I thought it would be fun for everyone to receive $1,000,000 in a Christmas stocking.
The sequined Christmas stockings were purchased, on-sale, at Michael’s.
The tablescape has a few live plants in addition to the fake trees – a couple of house plants re-envisioned in my great-grandmother’s silver soup tureen and a silver-colored ice bucket and miniature poinsettia from a local nursery. Mixing these elements created this incredibly beautiful, elaborate tablescape.
Thanks Samantha and Rosa! You are the best!