Christmas is the time to use the most beautiful things
you own. Antique linens, dishes, serving pieces and silverware make a delicious holiday meal look even more tempting, and an inviting table tells your guests how happy you are that they are part of your celebration.
To host your own grand affair, here are my best tips:
1. A formal invitation. Set the tone of your Christmas luncheon or dinner by making your own Victorian inspired invitation. Replicate a favorite antique image from a Victorian holiday card, or download an image from your computer to print out on your laser printer. For the invitation shown, I added our company monogram. Tie a ribbon for a luxurious detail through holes you punch in the top. Though created with modern techniques, your thoughtful invitations are sure to be admired, and delight your guests.
2. Set an exceptional table. This is the time to bring out your most resplendent pieces. Like an illustration of a long ago Christmas, this fine cut-work tablecloth provides the perfect backdrop for antique tableware. The luxurious Minton and Limoges plates blossom with delicate roses, while the Mother of Pearl silverware adds a glow of the past. Hand made antique lace and linen napkins, gilded mouth blown glasses and sterling silver serving pieces all add Victorian flair to this setting. Not everything needs to match, the very fact that your table setting pieces compliment each other but are not an exact match creates excitement on your table.
3. Elevate every day items to centerpiece status. Fabulous holiday flower and fruit arrangements were a gilded age tradition, especially at Christmas time. Today, everyday items such as a cut glass carafe or sterling bonbon dish can be the star of your table. Transform them by adding fresh holiday greens, a sprinkling of bright, shiny tree ornaments, and a few flowers. Don’t be afraid to mix silver with gold, all metals mix beautifully and sparkle with holiday glitz.
4. Favor your guests. In the delightful spirit of giving, collect unusual favors for each guest to take home. Your gift can be as simple as an antique Victorian “scrap”, or for true sumptuous giving, a sterling necessaire case placed at each place setting. Your gift will remind guests of the memorable time you shared together for years to come.
5. Sweet Endings. Present a variety of home baked cakes along with a deliciously simple mixed berry compote from your sideboard or hutch. Dried apricots are easy to serve from an antique silver and crystal server, the mixed berries glisten in the Victorian silver compote, to be spooned on each plate. A beautiful presentation is as easy as displaying the cakes on pedestals or Victorian silver trays, tie a satin ribbon around a few for holiday dress!
6. A Parting Gift. Give each guest a cherished gift of home made cake or cookies when departing. Beautifully packaged, small fruit tarts nestled in a paper glittered basket, tied with a shimmering bow and surrounded by fresh greens. No time for baking? Store bought cookies or meringues are just as thoughtful when presented in a lovely way.
We are all so busy, that sometimes it just seems like too much work.
Christmas is coming, ready or not, why not take a few moments to make it more beautiful? Every moment you anticipate, plan and celebrate with those you love will give you joy, and every meal is a feast because it is joyously shared.