A Use What You’ve Got (Plus Maybe Some Thrifted Christmas Plates) Christmas Table

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I’ve got one more Christmassy post for you today, and then I’m going to take off on a blogging hiatus until after New Year’s (at least here. I have some catching up to do on the travel blog, so I hope to get at least one more post up there before Christmas). At which point I’ll return with all new, largely Christmas-free content! Woot! I mean, I have no idea what that content is yet. I have some ideas.

Back when I did my Christmas tour, I mentioned that I had hoped to have a lovely Christmas table to show off, only I….didn’t.

But now I do!


I pulled this together almost entirely with things I had around the house, so it should serve well as week leading up to Christmas post…no need for shopping or crafting here; just an hour when Dave had Abe out of the house so he couldn’t touch anything.

I like to call these things Potemkin tables, since so often the idea is that you set up a pretty table and take photos of it, but then no one ever actually eats at it. But then this one we did eat at that very same night, so it’s not a Potemkin table at all. We even lit the candles. Then I had to put it all away because our Spanish tutor comes Monday mornings, and that’s only the beginning of a week’s worth of the table filling up with all manner of books and papers.

But it was pretty while it lasted.

So I’ve watched over the years as other bloggers show off all kinds of lovely greenery and breezily mention, “oh, I just clipped a few branches from outside!”

This is one of the few times I miss living in a house surrounded by trees (I like trees. A lot. But they have so many leaves. And sometimes they fall on your house). Then I suddenly remembered, after four Christmases in this house, that we DO have a row of giant Leyland Cypresses right outside my front door.

Suspiciously Christmassy looking Leyland Cypresses!

I wish I’d realized this in time to drape trimmings from them all over my mantels, but around the centerpiece of the table will have to do until next year.

leyland cypress branches and rustic box centerpiece

The box holding the brass candlesticks was an early woodworking project of Dave’s; I still love it on this table.

I tucked some gold ornaments into the greenery (similar here) and some votive candles. And a brass deer:


I probably wouldn’t have done a holiday table at all this year (or at least a post about a holiday table) if I hadn’t found these plates at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago:

gold christmas tree plates

I’ve been looking for Christmas dishes I like for forever now, and there was a whole set of twelve of these! I wouldn’t mind black plates to go under them, but I’m good with the white plates I already had, too. And I added brass chargers (from Pier One by way of the thrift store; similar here), green polka dot napkins (I only have four of them, so I alternated with plain green napkins), and these bamboo placemats I’ve had for a few years.

Incidentally, I should really start drinking out of these fancy vintage glasses more. I only have three of them, but there are only two people in our family old enough to drink, so the math works out fine:


xmastable09s xmastable14s xmastable07s

The other Christmas thing in our dining room is our Lemax Christmas zoo. It’s appeared in past Christmas tours, but it doesn’t change much year to year, so I didn’t go out of my way to include it this year. The story is that we started collecting pieces from it pretty much exactly as Lemax stopped making it, so it quickly became very difficult and expensive to find new additions. But we like what we do have, and we look forward to getting it out every year and hearing the little miniature people wander around talking about all the animals and the announcer saying, over and over, “Welcome! To the finest city zoo….IN THE WORLD!”

lemax zoo penguins lemax zoo entrance lemax zoo lemax zoo pandas

And with that….I’m looking forward to things calming down just a little bit around here. I mean, probably not in the week before Christmas (Dave isn’t off until Friday this year, which has me a little frantic), but maybe after? Dave is ALL FINISHED with his Master’s degree finally. And the older kids just wrapped performing/helping with the lights for Miracle on 34th Street:


And even Abe is getting into the theater action, as a cow in our church’s Christmas pageant:

plays01s plays03s

So we’re going to spend this week baking and finishing up shopping and watching Elf and all that kind of thing. Happy Holidays to all of you, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!



A Use What You’ve Got (Plus Maybe Some Thrifted Christmas Plates) Christmas Table — 5 Comments

  1. Your table looks beautiful all decked out for the holidays. I caught a glimpse of the dog picture hanging in your dining room. I believe the first time I seen it was in your mother’s home, hanging above the fire place. I love that picture!!!! Something about it just makes me happy. I would love to know where you got it. Or where I could get one like it. Thanks so much. Merry Christmas

  2. Go, Dave! Finishing a master’s degree is a lovely, lovely thing!
    Is that a lamb in front of Abe? He makes a nice calm cow.
    The table looks beautiful. I’m glad you at least got to eat one meal at it.

  3. abe is the best christmas cow ever! and congrats to dave!!! your table is gorgeous, love those plates you found. and i just love how you roll… my kind of girl! we have started eating at the pretty tables i set… life is short. use the fancy china and have candle lit dinners with the fam once in a while, right?

  4. I love your table! The greenery and gold is the perfect combo. Love it all.

    LOL at Potemkin, too. I try to make an effort to use the table because my son always asks “who is coming over” when I set it. When I told him it was for us, he grinned so big it broke my heart. He also told my mom last week that the pillows were “just for looks” and I almost DIED because I know I told him that before. 😉

    Happy Christmas, friend!

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