“Never put off having a party because you can’t do it in the same style as someone else. Do things in keeping with your own budget and surroundings-your entertaining will…

“Never put off having a party because you can’t do it in the same style as someone else. Do things in keeping with your own budget and surroundings-your entertaining will have a flavor all its own.”

– Better Homes and Gardens, “Better Buffets” (1963)

For me the Fall/Winter holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. For years I have been an attendee to holiday dinners, rarely the hostess. The last time I hosted Thanksgiving was back in 2004 when I packed tons of family and friends into a modest townhouse. We had an awesome time just as we did when we would all gather at my grandmother’s house. I don’t recall spending much time on table settings because there’s always so many of us there. For those of you who have smaller families, below is an inspiration photograph (courtesy of Sarah Richardson Designs) that proves it doesn’t take a lot of cash to spruce up your dinner table.

Fresh cut flowers in a simple glass vase is a floral arrangement that can make an amateur look like a pro. Be sure not to use flowers with a heavy fragrance, it may compete with the aromas from the food. No more hand washing china (assuming you own some). Melamine dishes offer a fashionable low cost alternative to china and can be loaded into the dishwasher for easy clean up. You can find them just about anywhere. Target and French Bull have tons of bold, affordable designs. Bed, Bath, and Beyond has a wide selection of entertaining goodies as well. When you use your American Express Prepaid Card, you receive FREE Shipping on select items! Woven place mats add warmth, texture, and dimension to your table setting. Depending on the flatware, woven place mats can be used in both formal and informal table settings. Lastly, acrylic flatware is used (in above photo) in lieu of traditional silverware. The clear, polished handles add a touch of sparkle and casual elegance. Another flatware option is the plastic flatware that looks just like silver! I love using them for informal parties and showers.
Try to implement one of these budget ideas into your holiday decor. So what if you’re cutting corners a bit with snazzy melamine plates and utensils. If anyone has a problem with it their legs shouldn’t be under your dinner table anyway. What’s most important is the food, family, and friends.

How do you decorate for holiday gatherings?

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  • Haus and Home
    October 3, 2011 1:25 am

    Ok that flatware does not look plastic! Crazy!
    I did find some awesome melamine bowls (they had plates too) in various blue and white patterns including an ikat one, so those are fun for cereal in the morning! Haus and Home

  • Loooove that faux-flatware! And I am also a huge fan of melamine plates – I recently bought a set of plain white ones, but am now longing for more festive patterns, thanks to your suggestions… We'll see! I also think the idea of layering in texture with sisal (or woven whatever) placemats is genius. Thanks again for all the grew ideas :0


  • Towards the Horzon
    October 5, 2011 10:40 am

    Cute dishware!


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