Setting The Perfect Holiday Table

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Whether it’s Christmas, Easter, or another of the numerous holidays throughout the year, it seems there is always a time to celebrate.

Most days, we don’t mind the interruptions of routine that holidays bring because the joy of getting every detail just right for guests keeps us wanting to host more and more. Here are six simple tips to keep your hostess table sparkling beautifully, no matter the occasion.

Focus On The Timeless

Focus On The Timeless

Though commemorating a specific time, holidays transcend the years we celebrate them because they return to us year after year. To mimic this transcendence, look for decor items for your table that are endlessly beautiful and do not simply fall out of fashion.

Think crystal, china, or polished silver. A set of white serving dishes is another good example. Have a small collection of solid-color linens that work well interchangeably. This way, no matter what you set out on your table or when it will shine.

Think Elegance

Think Elegance

Like the timeless, elegance is a quality that does not go out of style. Think long-stemmed roses and floor-length dresses. To set an elegant table, try investing in floor-length tablecloth linens or chair covers. If you can afford it, a dainty chandelier above the table setting adds another touch of formal elegance.

Focusing on elegance will have your guests feeling as if they had dined at a fine, five-star restaurant instead of “just” a friend’s house.

Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple

When celebrating, the tendency can be to go “over the top” with decorations. However, they need not be as elaborate as an expensive wedding for every holiday. One simple bowl with fruit or a vase with in-season flowers can speak what a host of other items may neglect to say.

Keep in mind that guests would rather see each other across the table than the centerpiece. Whatever centerpiece you choose, be sure it either comes six to twelve inches below or six to twelve inches above your guests’ line of sight.

Remember That Less Is Always More

Remember That Less Is Always More

Related to the idea of simplicity, the concept of “less is more” speaks to the tendency to overcrowd a table setting. The table may become overcrowded through too many centerpieces or too many serving dishes if the food is served family-style.

Consider the plates and bowls being used, as well as the courses served, when setting your holiday table and be sure the decorations accommodate ample space for eating. To avoid having too many serving dishes on the table, consider a buffet line for guests in the kitchen.

Be In The Know

Be In The Know

On page A-32 of the Better Homes and Gardens’ New Cookbook Bridal Edition, the experts suggest to “go with what you know.”

“Choose a menu based on recipes you’ve made and enjoyed,” they write to new brides, advice that even veteran hostesses can use. “If you want to energize the menu with a few new items,” they continue, “give them a test run” before the big day, or offer a variety of dishes to guests in the event the recipe is not as pleasing.

Keep It Real

Keep It Real

One of the simplest ways to wow your guests is with the real deal–real plates, real flatware, and if you’re brave enough, real napkins! In this age of drive-thru dinners and throw-away tablecloths, hostesses shine brightest when their server is the real McCoy. So don’t be afraid to bring out Grandma’s fine china or the punch bowl you’ve saved for “special occasions.” Conscientious guests may even offer to help you do the dishes because they know how hard you worked to put together the perfect table!

Though reasons to celebrate may abound, perhaps the best excuse for a party is none at all. If you focus on the timeless, think elegance, remember that less is always more, are in the know, and keep it real, you will surely have a beautiful holiday table for any occasion.

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