My Christmas Dinner Tablescape: Neutral and Natural

We’re still finding our way for Christmas dinner traditions.

I suppose it will be so for some time to come, as is the case with blended families, comprising of member young and old, near and far. Some years we are fifty-strong at one set of in-laws for a hot turkey dinner with all the fixings, followed by an ample sweet table.

This year, we are hosting another side of the family around our table and my new range will get to perform Christmas dinner duties. I’m roasting a leg of lamb with Meyer lemon as a nod to my British background, not forgetting the Yorkshire pudding or the classic English trifle for dessert. We will be 14 at dinner, so you, know, a respectable number but still manageable.

With everything that is going on (book-writing, house guests, holiday prep and a houseful of kids) I wanted a simple yet festive holiday table.  It took some head-scratching, a little sawing and snipping, and an hour of scrolling Pinterest, but in the end, my Christmas tablescape came together with relative ease and the natural beauty I was hoping to achieve.

Neutral & Natural Christmas Tablescape on www.simplebites.net #rustic #decor #holiday

My Christmas Dinner Tablescape: Neutral and Natural.

It is far from perfect, with mismatched everything, but that is part of the charm, and exactly why you can pull this off this decorating formula at home, should you choose to do so. Pictured is only half of the table, as we’ll add a second one on the big day to comfortably seat eleven adults and three children.

How did it come together? I raided the pantry for jam jars, the piano bench for sheet music, and the forest behind the house for natural decorations. Danny got crafty with a log of birch wood for a candle holder, details on which I will give below.

Hers’s the breakdown, for those interested, and for the rest of you who are not hosting this year, enjoy the photos!

Neutral & Natural Christmas Tablescape on www.simplebites.net #rustic #decor #holiday

The base: a neutral linen tablecloth.

I  didn’t want to buy anything for my tableset, mostly because I dislike Christmas shopping with the crowds, but I ended up making one purchase: a linen tablecloth, two of them, actually. My current tablecloth situation badly needed refreshing (such is life with three children) and the new ones will get plenty of use during the other 51 weeks of the year.

The neutral pure linen tablecloth covered my beat-up wooden table and set a calm backdrop for the remaining elements.

Rustic Christmas Tablescape www.simplebites.net

Placemats: vintage sheet music.

In a fit of pre-holiday cleaning, I unearthed two music workbooks in our piano bench with a child’s handwriting scrawled on the cover – that child being one of Danny’s aunts. I opened them to the centre, carefully removed the staples and lifted off 14 sheets of yellowed music – exactly the number of ‘placemats’ I needed.

The vintage sheet music has all sorts of delightful song titles, which are sure to be good conversation starters around the table. ‘How Should I Your True Love Know?’, ‘Gossip Joan’, and ‘Peter’s Donkey, Jenny’ are but just a few of the gems.

Check out your local thrift shops for old music books or ask an elderly family member to hunt around in storage. It’s worth a shot.

Neutral & Natural Christmas Tablescape on www.simplebites.net #rustic #decor #holiday

The place setting:

White plates and cloth napkins fall in the neutral theme, and I have those in all shapes and sizes. My talented friend Melissa, of Lost Bumblebee Graphics made these festive cards for me for another project and I am repurposing them for the table. She does the most beautiful hand lettering.

Neutral & Natural Christmas Tablescape on www.simplebites.net #rustic #decor #holiday

Drinking vessels:

Two Christmases ago, we received stemless wine glasses from Riedel as a gift and I couldn’t love them more. We find that there is far less breakage than when we used stemware – mostly because they don’t get knocked over at the table or on the counter. Also? Dishwasher safe.

Water tumblers are something I don’t have, as we mostly use glass jam jars for everyday drinking. I rounded up my small Weck tulip jars to use for the table, which actually don’t look terrible next to the Riedel. We’re going for mismatched rustic, right?

Neutral & Natural Christmas Tablescape on www.simplebites.net #rustic #decor #holiday

 Lastly, the centrepiece.

I started with a board of old barn wood as a base, but you could just as easily add the decorations on a tray, platters, or even directly on the table. A few fir branches and pine cones brought colour and texture to the table as well as a touch of nature that I love so much.

Danny drilled holes in an old birch log that I foraged from the forest ages ago and we set tea lights into the holes for a simple, yet festive candleholder. All in all, this was a very frugal centrepiece.

I may add a few of my orange pomanders on Christmas day, but I haven’t decided yet. I like the neutral and natural tones that are happening.

Now, that the table is set, it’s time to get in the kitchen!

How do you like to decorate a table for the holidays? Do you have a signature style?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Wow, I love this table! So rustic and yet so elegant, you did a great job… And that roasted lamb with lemon sounds to die for 😉

    • La Torontoise says:

      Vero, I only now discovered your blog and the recipes. I’m very passionate about French cooking and all things French:-)
      I’m near Nice for the holiday season, enjoying the region to the fullest.
      Will definitely try out some of your recipes during my vacation and will leave a comment on your blog.
      Liked your approach to making French recipes a bit easier for ordinary (non-French) folk.
      All the best!

  2. Lovely, Aimee! I agree with you – I like the neutral and natural tones. It’s the kind of cold, wintery feel we Texans dream of at Christmastime! 🙂

  3. So beautiful! I love the greenery and the music sheets are perfect!
    Merry Christmas!
    M.

  4. YES. This is sooo my style. Whites and rustics. Less is more. Gorgeous gorgeous!

  5. La Torontoise says:

    Aimee, love this setup! So beautiful. I’m a fan of earthy colours as well and fully appreciate this style. Your first picure is impressive in many ways! Love this shot:-)

    I’ll have my Christmas with husban and kid in the South of France and I see this kind of placemates everywhere in the shops; it seems to be trendy to have them right now. i feel inspired from your pictures and will make sure this pattern of musical notes is on my table this year!!

    I have not fixed my festive 5 course dinner yet and that’s what I’m working on at the moment.

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Love the birch log, the sheet music, and the greenery!! And I smiled at the song titles :). I feel like there’s probably some good game just waiting to be invented using them…

    I’d say my style is pretty simple & nature-y: whatever pretty things I can find around the house + bring in from outdoors. 🙂

  7. Love everything about this table! So beautiful!

  8. I love that birch log with the candles, Aimee. Maybe you can snap a picture with them lit? Just lovely!

  9. Nice holiday table setting!

  10. Lovely. I would love to sit down to a meal at a welcoming table such as this. Great job.

  11. Love it!

    It’s been a while I’m wondering where you find those beautiful glass jam jars… so much prettier than the regular Mason ones!

  12. How lovely is this?! So warm and festive! xoxo

  13. The sheet music as placemats is just such a lovely idea! Perfect conversation starters too 🙂

  14. I absolutely LOVE it! Everything, everything, everything!!

  15. So, so gorgeous! I love the neutrals and natural fibers. I’m not hosting Christmas dinner but our current centrepiece is greenery from the yard with a few rose hips for a splash of colour. Saving this idea for future dinners 🙂

  16. Absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had an ounce of that creativity 🙂 I hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family!

  17. Such a beautiful table top! Love the use of the great outdoor finds 🙂

  18. This tablescape is sensational!! It is seriously so creative and beautiful! Can I come over for dinner? 🙂

  19. So elegant and fresh! Merry Christmas!!

  20. I love the rustic feel! This so my style!

  21. Love the simplicity of the centerpiece! So pretty =)

  22. Cheri | Kitchen Simplicity says:

    This is so beautiful Aimée! I always love your style.

  23. Hi Aimee. I bet your food is just going to pop! on that tablescape. Beautiful. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Always,
    Kimberly

  24. this is a GORGEOUS tablescape – i love it! i’m DYING over the candleholder alone and I might have to pick up a couple tablecloths of my own – i own exactly zero tablecloths and they are on sale for $9.99 on that site right now! thanks so much for sharing!

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