Six Holiday Tablescapes

As the end of the year comes closer, it seems like every weekend presents itself as prime time for entertaining. However and whenever you celebrate, your table should be dressed to impress.

As soon as that first really serious chill hits the air each fall, it’s impossible to stop yourself from thinking of the upcoming holidays. Half the fun of this time of year is getting together with friends for drinks, dinner, or (our favorite) dessert. Here, we offer options for some spectacular spreads that will carry you from Thanksgiving through to New Year’s. We also look at how best to light a dramatic dining room and outfit the perfect bar cart for all your cocktail needs.

1. Friendsgiving (Nov. 29–30)

Dinner with the family you choose instead of the one into which you were born is served on whitewash stoneware from the Lenox Alpine collection and accented with warm wood.

Photo courtesy of Lenox

On the Table

1. Alpine collection dinner plates, set of 4, $120
2. Bowls, set of 4, $100
3. Double old-fashioned glasses, set of 4, $80
4. Highball glasses, set of 4, $80
5. Wooden snowflake star trivet, $30
6. Wooden coasters, set of 4, $40
7. Medium wooden candlestick, $60
8. Snowflake votive candle, $30
9. Pinecone votive candle, $30
10. Snow Fantasies snowflake ornament, $40
11. Three-piece wooden salad bowl with serving spoons, $200
12. Sculpt flatware, 65-piece set, $243
13. Metal pinecone place-card holders, $40
14. Carved hors d’oeuvre tray, $100
15. Carved cheeseboard, $80
16. Reindeer centerpiece, $240

On the Menu

Roast turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie for the traditionalists among you and a couple of wild cards—enchiladas or maybe an appetizer of tuna tartare—just to maintain your reputation as a risk-taker.

2. The last casual get-together of the year (Dec. 6–7)

By the first week of the month, holiday parties are beginning to get going, invitations are stacking up, and you are already mentally assessing whether or not you can wear that green sequined dress two weekends in a row without anyone seeing it twice. Plan one evening that’s not fancy or fussy.

Photo courtesy of CB2

On the Table

1. Drift reactive grey dinnerware, $10–$42
2. Juliet stemware, $13
3. 20-piece Carter shiny black flatware set, $129
4. Ring petrified wood serving board, $70
5. Tack metallic hurricane candle holder, $25
6. Infinity gold napkin rings, set of 8, $31.60
7. Guild pyrite cheese knives, set of 3, $60
8. Glass clear antler, $50
9. Glass frosted antler, $50

On the Menu

Wheels of brie, figs, and fruit compote. A hearty stew for the main meal and a fullbodied red. Hot fudge sundaes for dessert.

3. A light brunch and cookie exchange (Dec. 14–15)

Having friends over midday is ideal for mid-month merrymaking. Someone is certain to bring you a poinsettia with a big green bow, so pretty plates featuring the festive flowers, in addition to jasmine and amaryllis, are the perfect setting.

Photo courtesy of Lenox

On the Table

1. Pleated Colors red dinner plate, $32
2. Butterfly Meadow poinsettia, jasmine, and amaryllis accent plates, $22
3. French Perle covered butter dish, $50
4. Winter Greetings bird figurine salt & pepper set, $40
5. French Perle dipping bowls, set of 3, $43
6. Butterfly Meadow flatware, 5-piece place setting, $43
7. Tuscany Classics stemless wine glasses, set of 6, $54

On the Menu

Finger sandwiches and pinwheels alongside richly flavored scones begging for jam. To drink, tea and, of course, a fun sparkling wine. Make sure everyone has a holiday themed tin in which to take home snickerdoodles, thumbprints, and elegant window-paned linzers.

4. Feast of the seven fishes (Dec. 24)

A traditional Italian multi-course meal (sometimes stretching out to 10 or even 13 courses), this custom has been adopted by families in the United States boasting all varieties of cultural heritage. It may have been borne out of the practice of abstaining from meat on the eve of a feast day, but it has developed into an opportunity to explore delicious dishes and try new things.

Photo courtesy of Crate and Barrel

On the Table

1. Winter Forest platter, $20
2. Winter Forest salad plate, $8
3. Jett 20-piece flatware set, $280
4. Marin red dinner plate, $10
5. Alpine knotted 90″ hand-woven table runner, $60
6. Helena sage green linen dinner napkin, $8
7. Vino wine glass, $10; Feast platter, $50
8. Feast rectangular hammered iron serving platter, $40
9. Red cast iron fondue set, $40
all from Crate and Barrel, crateandbarrel.com.

On the Menu

Warm, cheesy crab dip sprinkled with dill; salmon rillettes, a salad with seared calamari, fettuccini with clams, seafood stew, lemony shrimp skewers, lobster fra diavolo.

5. Christmas Dinner (Dec. 25)

Bring cozy scenes from the North Pole directly to your holiday table with this new hand-illustrated collection, an extension of the famed Berry & Thread line from Juliska. Charming village scenes grace these delicate plates; the elves may be hard at work, but the skies overhead are filled with joyful flying reindeer.

Photo courtesy of Juliska

On the Table

1. Berry & Thread glass trees, set of 5, $295
2. Reindeer napkin rings, set of 4, $98
3. North Pole napkin, $15
4. North Pole scalloped dessert/salad plates, set of 4, $188
5. Berry & Thread whitewash sweets tray, $52
6. North Pole platter, $148
7. Berry & Thread whitewash charger plate, $72
8. Berry & Thread Bright Satin 5-piece place setting, $85
9. Graham goblet, $82–$92
10. Berry & Thread hurricane, $85–$135
11. Berry & Thread whitewash oblong serving dish, $68

On the Menu

On the menu: Go old school with a glazed ham or prime rib (maybe both), mashed potatoes, and egg nog as well as lots of thing made with cranberries, oranges, pecans, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, and apples.

6. A quiet night in after all the festivity (Dec. 27-28)

Visitors have gone home, and you have nowhere to be and no one to feed or entertain. It’s time to curl up on the couch and watch the snowflakes drifting gently to the ground while you relish the peace and quiet.

Photo courtesy of Room and Board

On the Table

1. Cumberland red and white mug, set of 2, $35
2. Stowe walnut cutting board, $149
3. Hutton ottoman in olive velvet, $999
4. Kalindi rug, $999

On the Menu

Hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows and shortbread cookies, redolent with cinnamon, rosemary, and star anise.