The Home Stylist

By Emily Clark
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about adding some festive touches to your holiday dinner table.  If Christmas shopping has left little in your decorating budget, you can still add some cheer to your table without breaking the bank.  In fact, you may already have most of what you need to create a beautiful tablescape for your Christmas dinner.
·         Start by draping the table in a pretty piece of fabric.  You shouldn’t need much more than a yard and as opposed to table cloths, there are limitless options for patterns and colors to choose from.  Shop remnant bins for clearance fabrics, and you don’t necessarily have to stick with traditional reds and greens.  A bold graphic pattern, like a black and white stripe, for example, provides the perfect backdrop to any color scheme.
·         Centerpieces don’t have to be elaborate or expensive.  Need a last minute idea?  Take the wreath off your front door and place it on a pretty cake stand.  Keep your centerpiece simple and low so that guests can see over it and across the table.
·         Shop your yard for fresh greenery.  There’s no easier arrangement then cutting off a few evergreen branches, magnolia leaves and some holly and placing them in a vase.  Fresh cut greenery is also pretty laid on a decorative tray with a tall hurricane candle holder placed in the center.
·         Even bare branches laying in your yard can become something beautiful.  Collect a grouping, stick them in a Styrofoam block and place in a festive container, or even a galvanized bucket.  Hang shiny ornaments from the branches for an impromptu “Christmas tree.”  You can leave the branches natural, or try spray-painting them white, or maybe red, for fun.
·         Line your long table with small rosemary trees.  They’re fragrant and a great way to add some Christmas green to your dining room.  They’re inexpensive and readily available at local garden centers.  Sit them in different pots spray painted all the same color or for a more natural look, tie burlap around the containers.
·         Create a collection of glass apothecary jars, hurricanes, and vases in varying heights and fill them with Christmas ornaments, candy canes, pinecones, even gift bows.  I also like to add several glass cylinders from the dollar store to mix in with my grouping.  It’s a fun, inexpensive way to bring in color, and the glass containers can be reused and refilled with seasonal items throughout the year.
·         Have old brass candlesticks you’re no longer using?  A large grouping of these sprayed one color make an easy centerpiece.  Use a small, framed mirror as a tray to place them on and to reflect the candlelight.
·         Make guests feel special (even if it’s your own family members) by creating place cards.  They can be simply handwritten or you could even use pictures of each guest from a Christmas past.
·         Pinecones make perfect place card holders.  Use larger ones alone or fill a pretty glass dish with smaller pinecones and some holly.
·         Scatter Christmas ornaments around the centerpiece and place settings.  They’re whimsical and add a little sparkle.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a beautiful holiday table!