A unique and festive holiday tablescape can easily be created with some planning, simple materials and your imagination. Just like dressing up for special occasions, little touches can make a big impact on how your table looks to your guests.
One design trick to add height and visual interest to your tablescape is to use a pretty cake stand as a focal point, or several of varying heights if you have a large table. Cake stands are now readily available in many different styles, shapes and price points. A cake stand will make whatever is placed on them seem more important — and this need not be a cake! Hostesses now use cake stands to hold all types of foods — hors d’oeurves, vegetables, cookies, pies or tarts. Besides presenting edibles, cake stands can also serve as a base for other centerpiece designs. Put out a selection of candles of the same color but differing shapes and heights, or fill a tiered stand with matching votive candles instead of cookies to create an eye-catching centerpiece.
Another favorite way to relieve the monotony of a flat tablescape is to cover your table with one tablecloth. Then place plastic or cardboard boxes (like ones for photo storage, or whatever you have handy) in a few different spots at varying heights, one or two boxes high. Drape another tablecloth over these boxes, and you have a much more interesting space to display your delectables on. You may either use a matching tablecloth or one in a contrasting shade and mold it around the boxes. Be sure the boxes are sturdy enough for the serving dishes or arrangements you place on top.
Other table decorating ideas are to fill clear crystal bowls or vases with one of these: candy canes, peppermint candies, a dreidel collection or glass ornaments tied to a ribbon garland. Glass creamers and footed bowls can also be used as containers for crab apples, mini-artichokes, other fresh fruits and nuts. Or put together some pinecones, cinnamon sticks and greenery in a pretty decorative bowl.
Trays or mirrors also work very well as a base for holiday table arrangements; the mirrors reflect whatever is on them, adding even more depth. Place red, green or white pillar candles in a bed of nuts and tiny red or green ornaments. Shiny beads in silver, gold, red and green are also perfect touches to weave into these arrangements. Some hostesses prefer a blue, silver, gold and/or white color scheme for Chanukah celebrations.
There are a wide variety of greens, either live or artificial, to design with: pine, holly, white pine, boxwood, cedar, berries and noble fir. Consider using rosemary topiaries as well.
A simple yet dramatic table statement can be made by placing large, glass holiday ball ornaments on top of crystal candlesticks of varying heights. Wired ribbon tied on to and running between the candlestick bases is another touch for this elegant arrangement. Be sure to use earthquake or museum wax to secure the balls to the candlesticks to prevent them from being knocked off.
Using favorite collections are either great accents or focal points for a centerpiece. Holiday villages or various styles, colors and sizes of dreidels or menorahs work well for this creative idea.
Some other general centerpiece hints are:
Consider have several smaller arrangements on your table rather than one large one.
If it is for the dining room table, the arrangement should be either low enough for guests to talk over, or high enough to talk under.
If your centerpiece is going to sit in the middle of a table, it must look attractive from every viewing angle.
Water any fresh flowers or plants used in your centerpiece daily.
Centerpieces with fresh flowers and plants will last longer if kept away from direct sunlight and heater vents that may blow hot air.
If you use candles in the centerpieces do not leave them unattended and be sure the candles are not near any flammable materials in the arrangement, such as ribbons.
Let your imagination soar as you capture the magic of the holiday season!