Fresh Ideas for Setting a Holiday Table

5 quick and easy tips for updating your table décor this holiday season
White place setting

White place setting

It is far too easy to fall into the traditional, overdone, almost predictable décor that is so prevalent during the holidays — the big bows, turkeys all around, snowflakes, and more. From classic table settings overflowing with cornucopias and metallic glass ornaments (some of which are pulled from storage year after year) to the same holiday menus, many of us get bored and lose that important sense of style when decorating for holiday parties.

Our clients are always asking us to come up with table designs and menu items that are “outside of the box.” Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or just having friends over for a relaxed dinner party, now is the time to loosen your grip on what has been tried, true, and so familiar from the past. It’s the time to have a little fun and get creative.

Start small. This year, impress your dinner guests simply by changing things up on your dining room table. Here are my five tips for updating your style when setting the scene this year:

1. Use white pumpkins (spray-painted if they're not already white) and gourds on top of white linens as your centerpieces, like you see above, so the vibrant greens, oranges, and reds from your food can be the star of the table. Here is an easy how-to.

2. When your guests arrive, have them write on a precut piece of paper what they are thankful for or what they look forward to most about getting together with friends and family. Fasten each piece of paper around your napkins for simple, homemade napkin rings that have meaning to each guest.

3. Use the stem of mini pumpkin to hold the card with your guests’ names on them. You can use pinecones, too.

4. Make a specialty cocktail to place on the table and add a pop of color — to match the white theme, use white cranberry juice and add of splash of red to the drink with homemade cranberry ice cubes or simply a bunch of frozen cranberries. Or check out one of these cocktail ideas.

5. Allow your food to be the color — and the main attraction — on your table. Nothing quite beats white dinnerware if you’re looking for your holiday meal to stand out. Not sure where to start? Offer guests brilliant red beet bruschetta to start, then serve a colorful avocado or roasted root vegetable salad next. 

Carla Ruben is the President and Owner of Creative Edge Parties in New York City.