Can you tell us why you like to set such a beautiful table for the holidays?
The dining table is always an important place in our house. It’s where we gather to eat and share our day. It’s extra special over the holidays, when more loved ones join the fray and the conversation is heightened with the excitement of the season — talk of the year past, our hopes for the year to come. And presents!
Doing it over a really festive, happy, beautifully designed tablescape makes everyone feel joyful. In my home, I do a tablescape that’s usually an extension of my tree’s aesthetic, which changes every year. If I’ve placed gold ornaments on the tree, the table will be sure to complement that.
What’s your secret for making a table feel welcoming? Are there any must-have elements?
Everyone’s been having such an unusual year. Many people feel out of sorts and unsure of what’s happening. So, this year I wanted to go with a tablescape that had a lot of tradition in it. I used golds, reds and greens to make people instantly feel good, reminding them of something familiar and safe.
Of course, I always throw something special in there too! This time, I put out a bowl of fruit — with peaches, apples and mangos — that doubles as both decoration and something you can grab after your meal.
Also, instead of place cards, I used crystals. To determine where to sit, you pull the name of a crystal out of a hat. If you pull out a slip that says amethyst, you go to the setting that has an amethyst. If you pull out one that says jade, you go to the spot with a jade stone. Turning the seating arrangement into a sort of game helps to create a level of excitement and adds some novelty and fun to the occasion.
Candles are a must-have and my real go-to. They bring such warmth with the beautiful light they give off. They really elevate the entire story, and you can have fun with them too. You don’t have to have a white candle. You can do red or green, or a peach one!
Candles come in such a variety of colors, and you can even have them custom made if you’re really designing something magnificent. I place them all over the table in differing heights — including tea lights and votives — making sure I get the proper high and low contrast.
What are your own holiday traditions?
Every year, the tree is decorated by my girls and my husband, Mark, and we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. We open presents early Christmas morning, and no matter how old my daughters get, their presents always come in a big bag from Santa. After presents, my wonderful mother makes a huge breakfast, and we enjoy time with loved ones.
In terms of holiday decorating, where do you splurge and where do you save?
I like to splurge on the tree itself. My ornaments are always a mixture, though. There are some that I collect, that I’ve had for a long time. And then, I’ll get a few new, inexpensive ornaments that are seasonal and can be bought at any store. The newer ones usually highlight whatever my aesthetic is for that year.
Aside from the ornaments, are there other decorations you always put up?
We have stockings that I’ve had since my girls were born, which I made, and we hang them on the mantel every year. I love introducing new ideas and decorations, but the holidays are also about reflection and continuity. Bringing out the same family treasures each year helps remind us that family is really what the holidays are about!