After last year’s holiday gatherings were suspended, many people are considering welcoming loved ones back to their homes. To mark the return of those memorable moments, here are some tips for setting up seasonal tables to enhance the occasion, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve.
As a longtime Pottery Barn partner, internationally acclaimed fashion and bridal designer Monique Lhuillier hopes each collection she designs will bring unique celebratory pieces into the home. âEach season brings new inspiration and this year I turned to the outdoors and the elements of nature to infuse the collection with touches like winter berries, evergreens and touches of red that evoke the spirit of the season, âshe said. âMy hope for these unique pieces is that they can be enjoyed to celebrate over the holidays, serve as a cozy place to end each day, or add a sense of home away from home with timeless decor.
If your decor matches your personality, she believes it will always be authentic and that you will always feel at home. “With the holidays, I think that less is often more with the decoration scheme”, explains Lhuillier. “Keep it simple and stylish by neatly organizing your favorite accents around the house, like holiday stockings or festive glassware that can bring the holiday season home!” “
You can add special touches to your home even if you aren’t planning this year with festive elements like candles and faux flower arrangements that create the holiday feeling and can stay on the table throughout the season.
Traditional accents can be displayed in new ways. âI love the idea of ââusing unconventional centerpieces to set the tone for the holiday season,â she says. “The garland in particular embraces the rich natural green and adds texture to the decor.” Dried winter berries can be placed on each charger and paired with Winter Berry pieces from their collection that draw inspiration from this rich color palette.
You can’t go wrong with classic accents. âThe holidays are a very traditional time of year, and I like to design sets that pay homage to this timeless feeling,â adds Lhuillier. âWhile the pieces I designed in this collection are new for the holidays, the red and lingering hues I pulled from are timeless each holiday season and make us feel that holiday magic. “
For the holidays, she often travels to the Philippines to celebrate with her family, so she rarely sets a Christmas table at home. âHowever, after the year has passed, I will be creating a festive interior design scheme for entertaining with my friends and family at home in Los Angeles,â Lhuillier said.
Hillary M. Smith of Commerce Township knows how to set a festive tone on special occasions like Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. âI love making a table,â she says.
Even when her father was dying and no one came due to COVID restrictions, she still made a holiday table for Thanksgiving. âI believe in living and celebrating life and finding the good and the beauty in every day,â says Smith who likes to start with a theme.
For a Thanksgiving, she filled vases with branches and nuts. âNot all of the kids could come home from college that year,â she explains. Family and friends learn about the feeling behind their tables from their Facebook posts, like a snippet of it: âLike the branches of a tree, we all grow in different directions, but our roots don’t. make one. “
Colorful products make their way into some of her tabletop landscapes, like the large containers she filled with potatoes and onions for a fun display. Repetition makes a statement with multiples, such as kale plants and Brussels sprouts as decorative elements. The plant decorations are pretty and practical because the guests can take them home at the end of the evening.
Sometimes a find inspires Smith, like the corn-themed candles she found at Home Goods that became the starting point for a fall harvest theme. âI loved the color and the texture,â she says. Pumpkins and gourds and glass water bottles complete the picture.
Smith also turns to Pinterest, where she saw the cornucopia of croissants she made a year ago. âI like to change things, so I come up with ideas and support them,â she says. Traditional components with a twist include the placemats that it displays diagonally.
Hanukkah celebrations can include Jewish star cookies on each plate as well as chocolate pieces and children’s coloring pencils on the table. âThey can sit, eat and enjoy,â says Smith.
One year, she painted wine bottles blue and filled them with candles to form a menorah. Another time, a cup contained Hanukkah-themed tissue paper that looked like a flower arrangement.
Smith loves to entertain a crowd. âI prefer to cook for 30 than for three. There is always a doggie bag ready, âshe says of her vacation gatherings which feature easy-to-find items. âIf you look at my paintings, I use fruits and vegetables. Anyone can go to a grocery store and buy a bunch of grapes or a bag of potatoes to fill a vase. You can do something out of nothing.
The process can be rewarding. âJust bringing people together makes me feel good and the tables are therapeutic,â says Smith. âMy father was very proud. He thought I was very creative. It brings me joy. It’s just something that I love to do.
Local institutions are also returning to traditional festivals like Kwanzaa, a commemoration of heritage and togetherness based on seven traditional African guiding principles commonly referred to as Nguzo Saba.
Last year, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit hosted a virtual presentation for about 6,000 people, more than they would have liked in person. This year, the museum will celebrate the holiday with a limited number of people present and will also offer a virtual option.
As Yolanda Jack, responsible for community engagement, explains, there are seven symbols on a Kwanzaa table: the Kinara (candle holder), the Mkeka (carpet), the Muhindi (corn cobs), the Mazao, (basket of fruits), Kikombe cha Umoja (cup of unity), Mishumaa Saba (candles) and Zawadi (gifts).
Jack encourages people to see how the museum celebrates Kwanzaa and learn all about it before you do it on your own. âWe celebrate each day how to integrate the elements into our lives (like purpose and unity),â she says. The holiday can be observed from December 26 to January 1, but Jack says the practice is from January 2 to December 25. Again, the story behind the holiday table makes it even more meaningful.
Jeanine Matlow writes the Smart Solutions column in Homestyle. You can reach her at [email protected]