Tell a Story with your Holiday Tablescape

With two impending holidays revolving, in part, around traditional feasts, it’s time to start thinking about how you can glow up your table décor and place settings to match the festive nature of the occasion.

Whether you’re hosting those in your household or adding extended family, friends and “orphans” to the guest list, you can strive to elevate everyone out of their daily lives to a place where enchantment reigns.

With a little imagination and judicious use of glitz you can levitate your dining room table into the hub of a truly memorable gathering.


  • Use pops of muted fall colors in vases with seasonal chrysanthemums, dried flowers or leaves (try mixing in some bud vases), creating puddles of small, multicolored pumpkins or gourds and add some pine branches and maybe even some mini-cactuses for that local touch.
  • Create interest at every place setting. You can save the gifts for Christmastime, but try finding individualized Thanksgiving-themed napkin rings, elegant place cards, gold or copper-rimmed glassware or an elegant flameless candle.
  • It’s easier to play with a moody, luxurious atmosphere at Thanksgiving than Christmas, so you can take advantage using velvety black, dark blue or dark green tablecloths to let your finest china and flatware shine on their own while leaving an air of mystery in the room.
  • For larger parties for either holiday, combine different sets of silverware and/or plates if you don’t have enough of one to serve everyone. A surprisingly eclectic look can be unified through seasonal colors and décor.


  • Go all in on your winter wonderland show with a blanket of faux snow for your tablecloth or runner — though it may be better-received if it’s not actually snowing that day. Nestle pine branches with cones across the center and accessorize with some of your favorite holiday sledding, skating and skiing figurines, plus snow globes for the kids to play with.
  • If you prefer a less on-the-snowman’s-nose theme you can always go with vibrant red, jaunty plaid or nature-inspired green. If your table is made of natural wood and you’re going for a rustic look you can go with just a runner and use appropriately simple and nature-inspired décor.
  • Fresh flowers are always a cheerful and hope-giving element to have on the Christmas table, but how to do it without blocking guests’ views of each other across the table? Use a tall vase as the centerpiece and let the florals float above the fray.
  • This is the time to incorporate gifts into table settings — they can be small, wrapped trinkets, ornaments, candies, place card holders, candles, nostalgic toys, whatever seems appropriate for your audience. There are many additional ways to add charm and interest to each table setting, like playful napkin origami or laying plates inside a wreath (another gift idea!).
  • Fill vases and bowls with glass ornaments accented with gold to add airy elegance to your setting, then let your guests each choose one to take home, especially if you haven’t set another gift by their plate.

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