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Style It! The Holiday Table

Six quick table fixes.
By
Hoping to create a standout holiday table for your guests to enjoy this year? We've got just the inspiration you need — no decorating expertise required!
christmas ball ornaments

Have a Ball

Our hands-down favorite accessory for upping a holiday table's festive-factor is the humble ball ornament. Sold virtually everywhere this time of year, ball ornaments are super-affordable (opt for shatter-free plastic), come in a rainbow of match-your-décor colors and offer limitless tabletop possibilities. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Write your guests' names on ornaments and place one on each plate as a take-home place card.
  • Fill a hurricane vase with ornaments and flank it with two votive candles for dazzling shimmer.
  • Create a low, conversation-friendly centerpiece by placing ornaments atop a blanket of fresh holiday greens.
  • Hang ornaments from chair backs with thick, colorful strands of ribbon.

Get Glowing

A holiday table just isn't a holiday table without the warm glimmer of candlelight. But if your guests include rambunctious kids (or adults, for that matter), it might be wise to eschew real flames in favor of battery-operated candles. Today's "faux" candles are more realistic than ever, with flickering flames that can be timer-set. Some even exude a cozy candle scent. Easy centerpiece tip: Cluster candles of varying heights together on a small decorative mirror and scatter ice cream salt around the bases for an icy-snow look.

cupcakes with white frosting and candy canes on a white plater

Take a Stand

Have you joined the cake stand craze? If not, the holidays are a perfect time to treat yourself to a few of these charmingly practical serving pieces. Use glass or ceramic cake stands of differing heights to add interest to your holiday buffet table, then pile on the eats and treats. Create a cohesive look by wrapping each cake stand base with the same wire ribbon. 

No budget for new serving pieces? No problem! Just display plated appetizers on stacks of books covered in holiday paper or fabric for an eye-pleasing tableau.

Cater to Kids 

Layer on the imagination to create a kids' table that will keep your littlest party-goers happy and occupied. Cover the entire child- designated table with durable brown craft paper. Next, give each child his or her own markers in a delightful pair of homemade Santa's gloves: Simply wrap white napkin "cuffs" around the top of red stretchy children’s gloves (check your local dollar store). Put flatware inside the left glove and markers in the right glove—and you've provided the perfect encouragement for some holiday doodling, not to mention a fun and practical party favor.

stacks of white plates and bowls

Step Up to the Plate 

We know, we know — those holiday dinnerware sets are crazy cute. But instead of forking over big bucks for the entire collection of reindeer soup bowls and snowmen dessert plates that'll come out only once a year, opt for setting your table with inexpensive white plates instead. Then let colorful napkins, chargers, glassware, placemats and a holiday-themed serving dish or two add festive pop. (Bonus: Food tends to look even more delicious when plated on white!)

Let It Come Naturally

Here's an earthy and inexpensive 1-2-3 recipe for a stunning holiday table. First: Create a runner with a long strip of burlap (available at fabric stores) down the length of your table. Second: Fill a simple glass or earthenware vase with small birch branches and clipped evergreen sprigs for a centerpiece. Third: Top each place setting with a twine-tied napkin festooned with a pinecone.