A Life’s Patina Christmas Blog Series: Part 5 ~ The Table

Today is December 22nd. By now, our presents are all sitting beautifully wrapped and under the tree, our menus have been planned, purveying done for all those delicious meals has been accomplished, cookies have been baked, our tables have already been set to nibble on those cookies at and after work today we are all going to sit by a roaring fire basking in the delight of each others company. Life is not a Hallmark movie and judging by the crowd at Target checking out at midnight last night… reality is what it is. So we do our best to cram in as much as we can in the remaining 3 days until Christmas and say, “next year… “

One way I deal with the hustle and bustle of the week of Christmas is to crank up the Christmas tunes,  put a smile on my face, delight in all of what is left to be done even if it sounds like it is mission impossible, make a lot of lists,  pull a lot of late nights and remember that this is the season that only comes around once a year so relish in the tasks that you will not have an excuse to relish in at any other time of the year. This is the last post of our Christmas Blog Series and like the others, we hope that as you set that table for the special people who will be gathered around it in the days and week to come, you might be inspired to add some special touches to yours.

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We took out all of our favorite elements this year and created some various vignettes and tablescapes utilizing a variety of color palettes. We took things off of my dining room shelves, out of other Christmas displays in the house and objects from the barn. Mix and match is our mantra, use what you have, look at things in a slightly different way and most of all…enjoy the process even if you are setting your Christmas Eve table the night before at midnight.

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We grouped the items together so you could see the story behind them and the elements we used and you just might say, “I have my grandmothers old china, how can I integrate that onto the table even if the colors are not of the traditional variety. What elements can I add that make the table more… in the spirit?” Here some beautiful velvet and silver ornaments were added with fresh greens as well as silver Christmas tree salt and pepper shakers and a pop of a pale blue napkin on an old velvet backing of a mirror.

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These china plates depicting the Christmas season are one of my most favorite finds of all!

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How about pastels? If those are the dishes that you have to work with then again, add elements that bring in Christmas to your table setting… vintage paper Christmas houses, bottle brush trees, ornaments, and metallic ribbon.

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Add special touches at each place setting like these vintage Princess phone key chains ensconced in these adorable cardboard treat containers. We sold these at the last barn sale but the kids could make their own out of toilet paper or paper towel rolls cut into smaller sections. Glue the edges and have them draw on circle card stock paper that you have cut into circles the size of the tubes. Fill with candy of whatever treats you have on hand.

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The colors might not be what you think of for a Christmas table but they just might surprise!

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If you have a neutral colored plate to work with, use sheets of vintage music as your placemat and tie in neutral elements with a little sparkle. A touch of greenery always adds a festive element and placards if you so desire, can be added with a cut out “ribbon” of paper.

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Another option for the place card is to purchase small frames that you can write the name of the guest on and they can take that home as a gift.

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If the traditional red and green is what you have, it always looks festive. Add on additional greens, pepper berry, cream paper Christmas trees and mix that beautiful vintage china with a burlap inspired placemat.

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Roll up a cream linen napkin and tie with a small piece of jute with a sprig of pepper berries or the fresh greens, whatever you have. Cut a few sprigs from a tree outside or from a wreath hanging on your door. Improvise!

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Another traditional place setting is this one we created using the Monahan Papers placemats that we carried in the barn this season. We folded the burlap placement and made it into a napkin, added some vintage balls of thread with a red and gold label and ran some upholstery webbing with a red stripe through the scene.

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Sprigs of fresh holly laid on the table and rosemary trees from Produce Junction, their pots wrapped in burlap and a velvet ribbon, make for a festive foundation.

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If you are doing a Children’s table, primary colors are always good to catch their attention! We went all vintage here with vintage bottles, vintage lightbulbs, vintage ornaments, vintage inspired salt and pepper shakers, colored paper straws and these cool grey and red piping whip stitched felt placemats.

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We love using vintage blocks for each place setting with the guests initials on them or just the first letter of their name.

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We can never resist a nature inspired table scape. Here we used brown vintage china set atop a more modern cream china charger. A mitten ornament that doubles as a silverware holder makes for a wonderful gift for the guest to take home…and it looks pretty! We penned a name on a cut wooden disc that Christopher cuts and finishes and thus penned his name on it. You could pen each guests name on a similar wooden disc.

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These natural wooden houses, wooden trees, fresh greens, a couple of shimmering copper toned mini ornaments and some logs scattered about makes for a wonderful “outside in” presentation!

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Here is another variation utilizing the same elements but a deer horn inserted into the scene.

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Whatever elements you choose, let them shine in the environment in which they will reside. Use items that might not “traditionally” be used in a table setting and mix and match. If you have any favorites that you use or you would like to share with us your photos of your Christmas table, please do so. We would love to see how you gather around the table at this joyous season! Bottom line… utilize helpers, do a little bit of planning and have fun… see what evolves! Blackbeard certainly does!

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other”

– Burton Hills

Best wishes for a beautiful and memorable Christmas gathering with those you hold dear!

~Meg and Maggie

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