A Gilded Age Holiday Celebration

It’s out! I’m always thrilled when one of my articles is published, especially holiday articles. The Holiday VICTORIAN HOMES MAGAZINE features my “A Gilded Age Holiday.” While it’s a little early still, Christmas is not that far away to begin planning for some wonderful parties, dinners, luncheons and teas. These shots I took around our house are formal, in the style of “the gilded age”, my own holidays at home are usually not quite this formal, {although some years they are!} but I love the inspiration it gives me, perhaps for a small tea in front of the fire with a best friend.

Entranced by the magic and beauty of Christmas, parties and dinners hosted by the wealthy society matrons of the Gilded Age in the late 1800’s were opulent, grand affairs. Sticklers for details, with the wealth to set lavish tables filled with gleaming gold and silver, the planning for parties hosted by the Astors, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts and their social equals bordered on the obsessive.


A holiday ball or dinner for 1000 guests could carry a price tag of $3 million, they were lavish, and decadent, with a footman for every two guests, a menu that would rival any five star French chef’s creation, and a small orchestra. Each guest was welcomed to a place setting set with magnificent dish and glassware, not only costly and beautiful, but perfectly laid out, with the aid of a ruler to make sure that each one mirrored the next one.


In the spirit of the opulence of this “gilded age”, revive the custom of a beautifully appointed formal holiday table. To add enchantment to your own holiday celebration, take inspiration from this small gilded age table set with antiques and personalized with eye- catching touches meant to delight each of your guests. An intimate table set in front of the Christmas tree for lunch, using your very best linens, dishes and gold encrusted Limoges porcelain is sure to be a beautiful memory in the rush of the holiday weeks.


The beauty of a small celebration for two, or four, is that it doesn’t take much to set a beautiful table with special pieces. {My secret? I either make a super easy meal, more “assembled” than cooked, and buy dessert.} Christmas is not about perfection but about creating a little magic that comes from your heart. This is the time when memories are made, old traditions are continued, and new ones are created.

Next Post: I’ll share my best tips for you to host your own grand affair.

3 thoughts on “A Gilded Age Holiday Celebration”

  1. Oh how I enjoyed the beauty of this post and these photos and just imagining the grandeur of another era!
    Also, congrats on your writing being published, so well deserved!

  2. Wow this is spectacular!! Happy to have found you via Phyllis Hoffman….love your ideas on entertaining, to me there is no such thing as too much, bring it on!

    1. Thank you! I agree, more is often more when entertaining, especially during the holiday season.

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