Every year I try to put together a holiday table. Some years are more elaborate than others. But they all serve the same purpose - a one and done attitude. I just don't have it in me to do a different themed table setting for Thanksgiving, then Channukah, then Christmas. Its just too much. With a few small tweaks; the same set of dishes - napkins - tablecloth - etc.- can serve for any and all occasions.
This year I'm taking it one more step towards relaxed -- buffet style serving. Genius. Forget individual table setting with personalized name card. Nah. I'm into a stack of dishes, a pile of matte black flatware; everyone grab your own and serve yourself. A nice cheese platter on a large wood tray ready to go. Plenty of wine. It leaves more time for socializing.
The reason this table concept came to me is that we won't be hosting many a sit down dinner this season. Instead, there will a progressive dinner for the neighborhood (about 100 people passing through for a soup and salad course before the next course at the next neighbors house) and larger casual parent group for a Channukah celebration. I want to host and yet still have it feel special and thoughtful.
Its nice to start off with the good stuff like the cheese platter (of course) and dessert.
Displaying your pretty cloth napkins, designer dishes, flatware, and wine glasses in clusters so people feel free to grab them, but also get the sense that you brought out the good stuff and not paper plates sets the right tone. Using a table runner and not a formal tablecloth also sets the tone.
I like to pepper the table with foraged natural elements like pampas grass, seasonal wood garland, persimmons, gourds for Thanksgiving and then pine cones for Christmas, and eucalyptus. Along with my vintage goodies.<