This year I would like to suggest nature simplicity on Christmas table. Let’s stay away from the artificial decorations and stinking petroleum candles. Let’s make instead “organic” the focus of our table and I mean even organic food. Let’s turn our attention to food grown locally with zero travel and zero carbon emission. How do you do that? Read labels and ask questions to your grocer, find out where the food you want to buy is coming from and make your decisions. As far as decorations a simple trip to your local market will suffice to find your decorations as well.
Tall decorations on the table look impressive, we got used to see them in stores or magazines and never understood why we want to copy the same look for our tables, considering that those vignettes are about merchandising and displaying products for sale. Decorating a table is about creating an atmosphere of pleasing colors and tasty food, these are the only attractions of a table, to which we must add harmonious and well diverse company sitting under a suiting light.
Guests sitting at the table must be able to talk to the guests across the table without the obstruction of tall decorations. This year think of grocery shops as inspiration for your table centerpiece and play with food arrangements, pumpkins, tomatoes, vegetables, flowers and pine cones. On both sides of each guest there must be at least 18” of space to perform certain actions with ease like cutting food, but if space around the table is limited each guest should have at least a foot of clearance.
Light coming from above the table such as a chandelier should be suffuses but not totally dimmed, you want your guests to see the color of food and the beautiful table setting. Recessed lights must be directed over the plates and the lights above the two head table need to crisscross at the center of the table to highlight the centerpiece. If recessed lighting is not set right, it will create bags under your guests’ eyes and your women guests will not appreciate it, be kind to them, don’t make them seem older or sick.
Cover the table with an elegant tablecloth, it is Christmas after all, treat yourself and your guests to something special. I have three suggestions:
1. Flandre linen, high quality monochromatic textile produced in Belgium since the 1800s. It is very formal.
2. Chambray linen, produced in the city of Cambrai, France. This is a plain weaved fabric with a hint of silk, also produced since the 1800s. It is perfect for casual elegance.
3. Boutis, a Provençal quilting cloth used for table covers made in the South of France since the 19th century. It is similar to the Italian Trapunto, which started in Italy before the 14th century and still produced today. It gives the table a semi-formal look.
On top of the tablecloth add the most beautiful dishes you have, be creative even in mixing and matching if you like, add all the glasses and flatware and let the dinner roll. Ciao,
Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. Vogue Italy featured her as the guru of staging a home in the theatrical way. Among designing and remodeling homes, designing custom-made furniture and writing books, Valentina is now teaching etiquette, table manners, table setting and life style. Check out her latest books ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of colors, available on