From Thanksgiving dinner until the New Year’s Eve toast, we weave family traditions, culture, food and happy conversations while gathered around the holiday table.

We come together as blended families, extended families and dear friends. Connected by tradition and spirituality, we are multi-generational and multi-cultural.

Creating a beautiful table for holiday observances celebrates the ties that unify us. Decorate the table using objects that represent the traditions and have emotional impact specific to your family.

Tradition

When I was a child, my large extended family spent Thanksgiving at my cousins’ house. The lavish buffet was laden with Italian foods as well as the traditional American Thanksgiving meal of turkey with the trimmings.

Every year Grandma Theresa gifted us with dozens of cookies that she baked and decorated in the Eastern European style of highly detailed intricacy. Her gift of edible art remains a fond memory.

One year I made bracelets decorated with a Celtic heart for my two sisters to celebrate our Irish heritage. We’ve used these sister bracelets on the holiday table as napkin rings to show how we are connected to one another.

Whether it be for an elaborate buffet, a formal dinner or the morning coffee bar for just your spouse, decorating the table is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season, friends and family.

Theme 

Let a theme that resonates with your heart guide your decorating decisions. Think about the feelings that you want the decorations to communicate visually.

I choose themes that allow me to celebrate traditions while creating opportunities that will become special memories. I combine vintage and new in a style I call Beautifully Blended. 

Some of the Beautifully Blended themes I have used include Glow of Gratitude, Believe in Magic, Joy to the World, Winter Wonderland, Sparkle and Shine and Faith in the Future.

Color 

A white tablecloth is the backdrop that supports all colors. Using the white tablecloth as a starting point, I build a palette featuring complementary pastel shades that are offset with vibrant accents.

For the Thanksgiving table, I feature the colors of white, silver and coral and use a silver hand-blown glass pumpkin as the centerpiece. The centerpiece has little leaves in vivid coral that add vibrancy.

The feelings I want to convey are warmth and  gratitude.

To celebrate Christmas, I replace the traditional colors of red and green with the softer versions of pink and mint.

To celebrate Chanukah, I opt for aqua and pastels. My Chanukah palette is white, silver and aqua.

With all of these celebratory holiday tables, I use copper accents to add balance.

Flowers

For high impact, I bring to the holiday table floral arrangements featuring roses in bright coral shades. And because Casablanca lilies are among my favorite flowers, I mix them with the roses.

Complement floral arrangements by using linens with a  floral patterns and china with a floral pattern. 

Light

Whether your family and friends are lighting the Chanukah menorah or lighting the Christmas tree, be sure to bring light to holiday the table.

It also is a way to pay tribute to the importance that light has in our holiday traditions. For brilliant sparkle and shine, use combinations of candles, twinkle lights, rice lights and oil lamps.

Put a votive at each table place setting or weave strings of tiny lights into the centerpiece.

Giving 

A common thread of the season is that of the joy of giving. Draw upon the magic of mysterious elves by surprising your guests with small keepsake items.

My darling mercury glass ornaments are the perfect tiny size to be given as favors on each place setting napkin.

Create place-setting cards with hand-written words of inspiration: grateful, Blessed. Joy. Hope. Faith. Peace and Belief.

These uplifting words are gifts that your family and friends can take home and turn to for inspiration all year.

NEWNESS

The New Year’s Eve celebration is a golden explosion of sparklers, confetti and champagne. This colorful bash is bubbly and noisy.

My table centerpiece for the New Year's Eve party celebration mimics that! I combine colors and decorative elements into an electrifying centerpiece, complete with a string of rice lights.

I use fuchsia champagne flutes to toast the New Year with faith and optimism. The feelings to convey at this holiday table are celebration and good cheer!

Patricia Wilson is an artist and interior designer registered with the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners. Connect with her at PatriciaCWilson.com 

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