No Reservations Required: Setting the Perfect Holiday Table

By Mary Beth Schwartz

When the holidays come around, there are so many things on my checklist. A visit to the Lehigh Valley Mall for a picture with Santa Claus. Christmas shopping and present wrapping. A ride on the Polar Express train. Decorating the Christmas tree. And, last but not least, preparing the great Christmas feast. But thanks to some of the Lehigh Valley’s decorating professionals, my holiday table this year is sure to be creative as well as festive.

Setting the perfect holiday table starts with having all of the table’s elements. That is where comes in. Headquartered in Schnecksville, the company is a global retailer for the world’s leading brands of tableware products. offers fine china and dinnerware, barware, stemware, flatware, and linens, as well as cookware, home décor, art glass, collectibles, holiday ornaments, and figurines. Featuring over 35,000 items, shoppers will recognize such manufacturers as Lenox, Noritake, Spode, Wedgwood, Waterford, Mikasa, Royal Doulton, Pfaltzgraff and Villeroy & Boch.

Now that the elements are in house, the actual table setting can begin. Celebrity talk show host and avid entertainer Oprah Winfrey offers four simple tips in creating a festive table.

1. Start with the linens. Use a one-color theme, such as cranberry red, and accessorize in the same palette. Or choose other rich, festive shades, such as plum, wine, or rose. Perhaps white linens and candles with a centerpiece of Paperwhites. Non-traditional colors like royal blue or sage green also can be beautiful.

2. Bring out the serving pieces. Mix different patterns, new and antique, sterling silver and silver plate. Use silver with a slight patina or dazzle with cut crystal.

3. Here comes the centerpiece. Oprah suggests filling a clear bowl with greens, kumquats, oranges, crab apples, or multicolored glass ornaments. Or arrange a cedar wreath tied with red or gold satin ribbons around a glass hurricane lamp or candlesticks. Try grouping votives or pillars on a mirrored tray. Avoid using strongly perfumed candles, and place tall candlesticks above eye level so they are not distracting.

4. Consider finishing touches for the table. Tie napkins with wire edge silver or gold ribbon threaded with tiny ornaments. Or make a bouquet for each place setting with miniature red roses in a silvery mint julep cup. Another option is giving each guest a small gift – a special ornament, chocolates or a jeweled votive.

Holiday tables are not just for dining – they also are for admiring. Interior Designer Connie Postupack of Brownstone Design Group Inc. had her home featured on a past holiday house tour sponsored by Historic Bethlehem Partnership. “We created some stunning table settings. The dining room table was set with an Ukranian theme, reflecting my heritage. We mixed plates, glasses, and silverware. The table was covered with an ivory satin material, which cascaded down to the floor. In the tradition of the Ukraine, we placed the three rings of bread in the middle of the table. The rings are put together, and a white candle is placed in the middle of the rings,” Postupack says.

Outside, Postupack created a winter wonderland luncheon setting in her gazebo. “I used big furry blankets as table covers and white furry pillows. Glass dishes were placed on the table, along with crisp looking candlesticks that almost looked like ice. Snowballs were placed in martini glasses. Fake icicles hung down from the gazebo. After the gazebo was designed, it snowed. When people came outside, it made them smile,” Postupack says.

If you happen to have a staircase near your holiday table, Postupack suggests tucking little red poinsettias in the corners of the steps. For the railing, use a teal taffeta garland with evergreens and white balls where the garland comes together. If a mantel is nearby, try using Christmas balls and ribbons. “I tie round, teardrop, egg shape, different shapes on different lengths of ribbon on the edge of the mantel. Also include greens and candlesticks. I prefer to decorate in uneven numbers – it makes things off balance a bit,” Postupack says.

If you need your holiday table catered and decorated, there is Simply Smooth Special Events. According to Event Designer and Proprietor Laurin Fegley, the company has created tables using silvers and blues, snowy Christmas themes, and the classic golds, burgundies, and hunter greens, to name a few. “We can customize a table to almost any décor based on different elements. We use a more classic than modern approach. Classics in design include holly, poinsettias, tea lights and Christmas balls. I also would look towards some interesting linens and work from the cloth on up in terms of china and so forth. We have a beautiful series of china that features ornaments on top of the finishing plates. It is a gorgeous look to complement the holidays,” Fegley says.

Perhaps you want the ultimate tablescape for your holiday table. Creatively designed table settings are the norm for Elysian Fields Specialty Florals. The full-service, professional design studio fashions personalized unique floral creations with the highest quality materials. Their designers can capture several floral preferences, accommodating traditional, English garden, high style/sleek, contemporary, minimalist, and complex intricacy techniques.

According to Floral Designer Corrie Toth, tablescaping is popular for weddings, special events, and the holidays. “We like to arrange items uniquely on the table. We add depth and texture and use different materials and types of flowers and greens. Holly greens, curly willow, magnolia leaves, berries, feathers, evergreens, Christmas ornaments, votives or tapered candles, ribbons, metallics, hanging crystals, the list of options is considerable,” Toth says.

Elysian Fields Specialty Florals has created tables for Chanukah, as well as Christmas. One Chanukah table they created featured shades of blue with white. Blue hydrangeas were one of the blue flowers included in the design, as well as a selection of greens. A low centerpiece was used with accent candles. For a Christmas table, the designers used wrought iron trees with hanging crystals and votives. Low arrangements were placed around the trees.

Now that you your table is set and the holiday meal has been brought out from the kitchen, it is time to enjoy this special time with your family. Happy Holidays!

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram