Set for the Holidays

Elegant & striking settings that enhance any occasion

“Happy Holidays”  The words fly through the air. Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year… the holidays are almost here.  Homes are filled with clamorous family celebrations, visiting friends, the fragrance of fresh greens, and the season’s aromas. Long meals are shared, favorite foods, and noisy good times. Suddenly, it’s over. The greens are wilted, and the Christmas decorations look a little tired. However, there’s one more night to celebrate. Clear away Christmas, and toss the greens; get ready for the New Year!

New Year’s Eve is best spent with old friends. An elegant dinner, good conversation, good food, good wine and a luscious dessert. Planning the menu and selecting wine ahead of time will decrease stress around the holidays.

The pictures include two tables that have been arranged using classic china and silver. On each table, there is a mix of crystal patterns, using a different pattern for each beverage.

The table shown below is set with white cloth, dropping about 15-18 inches from the table top, and folded white napkins. Snow white (Haviland) Limoges China heavily bordered in gold sits on chargers that were specially made for this occasion. It is paired with Gorham’s classic pattern, Strasbourg; the scrollwork on the silver complements the china’s gold border.  Beautiful crystal completes the settings.   

As for the center, larger versions of the chargers hold gold-bordered salt and pepper shakers and condiment dishes. Tall, white marble and a gilded candelabra hold glowing white candles. Although it is not necessary to follow a “theme,” the clocks on the table and sideboard remind the guest that the minutes of the old year are ticking away.  So fill the champagne glasses, and get ready to welcome in the New Year.

The table pictured below has a vintage look. This table setting uses silver placemats and platinum-rimmed Rosenthal China circa the 1960s on a highly polished table. A very simple silver pattern by Gorham, tucked rolled napkins in silver napkin rings, and vintage stemware help complete the setting. As for glassware, the table includes vintage etched crystal water goblets, white and red wine glasses, coupe-style champagne glasses, and small uniquely shaped glasses for after-dinner sherry.

There was a time when Emily Post was the last word on the correct way to do all things. Today, there are multiple experts and just as many ideas on what is “correct” regarding table settings, but here are a few helpful reminders.

Bread and butter plates are always placed to the left of the dinner plate above the forks. Furthermore, individual butter spreaders are placed on the plates diagonally. Before guests are seated, butter should be put on the plates and water poured.  

The rule for glassware is to place the glasses on the table in the order they will be used. Glasses are placed to the right of the plate, above the knife starting with the water glass. If space is limited, try a triangular placement or diamond shape.

Like glassware, silverware is laid on the table in the order it will be used. For example, forks are placed to the left of the plate, the salad fork on the outside if salad is the first course served. Knives and spoons are placed to the right, with the knife next to the plate, blade facing the plate. The dessert fork may be placed to the left of the plate on the inside closest to the plate or, if you choose, dessert spoons (if used) and forks may be placed above the dinner plate. The fork is always closest to the plate, handle pointed toward the left, and the spoon is placed above the fork, handle pointed to the right (this placement the European style).  

When planning the perfect party, plan ahead and make lists, so nothing will be forgotten. Relax and enjoy the celebration with your guests!     






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