Can you believe it’s Christmas Eve? Time really does fly, and I’ve got a lot of things to cross off my to-do list before tomorrow. However, I am delighted to say, I have actually gotten the table set ahead of time this year. Setting out the Christmas silverware and making the table beautiful should be lots of fun. Assuming of course, you aren’t scrambling to do it 10 minutes before the meal is served. Last year I didn’t get to it beforehand and I truly, madly, deeply wished I had! Lesson learned, the difficult way…but learned nonetheless.
As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, I’m using an array of silver candlesticks to act as the centerpiece. Against this simple backdrop and with the white linen cloth I decided to use my formal cobalt-blue rimmed china. To prevent it all from feeling too formal, I deliberately mismatched the silverware and arranged it untraditionally.
Play with scale and style
Many people have asked if it is alright to use their silver if they do not have a complete set, or don’t have enough pieces for every place setting. My emphatic answer is yes. Nothing in this place setting is a ‘set’. The forks are American, Louis XV c. 1890s, the dessert forks are English Georgian 1776, and the knives are also English Georgian 1786.
You will have noticed that the fork is only a tiny bit bigger than the knife. Hardly the ‘traditional’ size difference we are used to seeing with sets. This was a deliberate choice due to the knives. To keep from overwhelming the knife, I’ve used my luncheon sized forks.
I will write more about the knives in the New Year, but the important thing to know at the moment is that they are technically fruit knives. This means they are quite short and delicately proportioned. But, as I can not remember ever using a knife to eat a piece of fruit, I have decided not to let the name hold me back. If I did, these mouthwatering gems would never see the light of day. And that would be a crying shame.
The point is, whatever you have, use it! Got nine people coming to dinner but only eight silver forks? Then use them for your guests, and you use a non-matching one. Love your antler steak knives but don’t have ‘matching’ forks? Don’t worry about it. It’s your table, express your personality.
Setting the table more than ten minutes ahead of time also let me have a bit of time to experiment with how I placed the silverware. I figured I could incorporate a bit of Christmas cheer by using some pretty ribbon as a napkin ring. Then I thought I’d tuck the silverware in under the ribbon.
Then it occurred to me that somewhere, deep in my office, were a bunch of rubber stamps and some ink. Perhaps they date from a project when Master Magpies was very small?? I can’t quite remember.
At any rate, I found them. Hooray, the ink was still useable and I had some Christmas appropriate stamps. I tried a few combinations and liked the ‘cheers’ on the silver ribbon in combination with the other elements best. Instant and festive Christmas napkin rings.
Whichever holiday you observe, I wish you the very best of the season and look forward to a bright 2014 with you all. ~ Nan