Holiday Tablescapes | Simple, Versatile and Chic

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It’s Tuesday, December 3rd and my to-do list is multiplying at a terrifying rate.  I suspect yours is too.  Decorating, cooking, entertaining, writing and addressing holiday cards, gifts…all on top of your regular work and personal schedule.  The most wonderful time of the year can be a bit stressful too.  So I’m on the lookout for jobs I can knock off my to-do list as early as possible.  Holiday tablescapes fit the bill.

Holiday tablescapes

As far as I’m concerned holiday tablescapes need to meet a number of criteria:

holiday tablescapes

Vintage silver candlesticks and hand-dipped beeswax candles make a simple and chic holiday tablescape.

  1. Simple.  My flower arranging skills are negligible at best, so as much as I love those still-life-esque floral arrangements, it’s not happening in this house.  I’ve embraced decorating minimalism.
  2. Durable.  Another strike against flowers and greenery is that it won’t last as long as I need it to.  At best, you get a week out of flowers and, although greenery lasts a bit longer, inside the house it gets dried out and crispy looking.
  3. Versatile.  Because I want to get my holiday tablescape done ahead of time, it needs to be something that will work through several rounds of entertaining, as well as our family Christmas meals.  When serving food at a dinner party, I tend to set the table, but then place the dishes on our sideboard for guests to help themselves. I’m going to do the same for our Christmas meal this year. That way I can wrestle carve the Christmas beast in the kitchen while everyone serves themselves. At our big annual cocktail party, I serve a buffet on the table. This tablescape will need to work through several scenarios.
  4. Pretty. I may be floral design-challenged and a decorating minimalist, but there’s really no point if it isn’t pretty!

Repeated elements

I’m a big fan of repeated elements in my holiday tablescapes.  Some years it’s pinecones, other years it’s bowls of clementines, this year I’m going über simple with candles.  For this post, I’ve put together a collection of candlesticks from my store and fitted each one with an 8 inch beeswax taper.  The table has been draped in a linen cloth and the silver candlesticks scattered along the middle.  They are random heights, sizes, and styles…the candles themselves are the constant factor.  The placement along the middle will allow me to set the table with individual place settings or with the party buffet.  The tablescape is not so dense or tall it will interfere with conversation when we sit at the table and is pretty from a bird’s eye as well as table height view.

Wabi Sabi

holiday tablescapes

Wabi sabi…see the crimp in the base of this very short candlestick?

You may not notice in the main photo, but some of the candlesticks are imperfect.  I’ve been debating what to do about these pieces?  They still are perfectly functional, but have suffered some bumps and bashes.  There is a lovely term, borrowed from Japanese, being used in the design community to describe this aesthetic — wabi sabi. Perfectly imperfect is a very short description.  I normally end up scrapping pieces like this…but am wondering if I should list them in the store instead??  What do you think?


Now I’ve written and published this piece for work I need to get our family holiday tablescapes in order.  I’m definitely keeping the same look, but replacing shop stock items with personal ones.  Once I’ve made the switch I look forward to crossing one item off my to-do list with great satisfaction.

And let me know what you think about the wabi-sabi pieces…scrap or stock?

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12 thoughts on “Holiday Tablescapes | Simple, Versatile and Chic

  1. BevNo Gravatar

    Love the perfectly imperfect description. Will use it often. Also, love the candle table scape . Will start on it tonight. Thanks!

    1. Silver MagpiesNo Gravatar

      Hi Bev

      Isn’t perfectly imperfect a nice thought! I find great comfort in it. 🙂

      Glad you like the tablescape too, it really is one of those things that is more than the sum of its parts.

      Happy holidays to you.


  2. traciNo Gravatar

    Wabi sabi! Some of the heirlooms I inherited are bruised and I love that about them. Perfection is an illusion IMHO. I would put them in your shop or store.

    1. Silver MagpiesNo Gravatar


      Hi and thanks so much for your input! I agree about the wabi sabi…some of my favorite personal pieces have a bump or two…I think of them as laugh lines, showing you’ve lived a full life!


  3. TriciaNo Gravatar

    Wabi sabi! I love it — I have quite a collection of wabi sabi silverplate candlesticks, apparently. I also love them mismatched and grouped together, with a few evergreens and ornaments scattered around them. I think you should try listing them — just link to the photo showing how charming they look!

    1. SilverMagpiesNo Gravatar Post author

      Hi Tricia

      OK it looks like there is at least some interest in wabi sabi items out there. Perhaps I’ll add a wabi sabi section to my shop???

      Thanks for letting me know.


  4. Jane FNo Gravatar

    Please put me in the “imperfect” column. I’ve always set a table with mismatched tableware — and that definitely includes silver. That’s so much part of the charm of any table. No one wants their table to look like they bought one of everything from Home Goods (well, nobody I know anyway).

    1. Silver MagpiesNo Gravatar

      Hello Jane

      I’ll bet your tables are stunning! Would love to see one sometime…unsubtle hint, hint. 🙂

      Thanks for another vote in the imperfect column…I guess I need to get back behind the camera and get the wabi sabi section going.


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