Table Ta-Da!

We Can't Stop Watching This Dramatic Holiday Table Being Set

And five easy, breezy tips to get you there.

December 14, 2018

Welcome to Table Ta-Da!, where our art director, Alexis Anthony, shares tips and tricks (along with a little fairy dust) to help you create a wow-worthy table, whether you're serving two people or 20. Cue the oohs and ahhs...


Dust off your party dress and break out your dancing shoes—we're getting ready to boogie! It's time to pull out all the stops for your holiday shindig, from the cocktails to the menu, and a seriously over the top table.

This opulent backdrop is a scene-stealer, for sure, but definitely one you can easily recreate at home. Watch Alexis Anthony show you how it's done, then follow her tips below to give it a try in your own home!

Break Out Those Heirlooms

Do you have an assortment of passed-down treasures that, if we're being honest, just sits around for most of the year? Let this be their time to shine. Give them prime real estate on your dining table. Fill any bowls or dishes with nuts, candy, and assorted fruit. Extra patina, welcome.

Be a Mix Master

Of metals, that is. Shining things (especially those with added patina), bring not only warmth but a touch of glam to any table. "Don't feel like you have follow any traditional 'rules' about mixing different metallics together," assured Alexis. And don't be afraid to DIY your own creations too. Here, a quick spritz with gold spray paint turns ordinary walnuts into objets d'art.

Rethink Traditional Colors

The holiday might be dominated by some key colors (red and green, we're looking at you), but consider other, unexpected palettes. "I love jewel tones for the holiday," says Alexis. "I also like choosing one strong color and running with it." For this look she's using blue as her grounding color, complemented by other beautiful, richer tones.

Get Fruity

Speaking of rich hues, hit up your grocer or farmers market, and take a look around: There should be plenty of inspiring, seasonal colors. Ruby red pomegranates, inky grapes, pears with a perfect blush, vivid satsumas with the stems still attached—an artist would be challenged to recreate a more colorful scene!

A scene fit for Bacchus himself. Photo by Rocky Luten

Spruce It Up

Go ahead and snip some branches off of your abundant Christmas tree (no one will notice, we promise) and insert them into your holiday table. "You don't need fancy flowers here," says Alexis. "Just a little bit of nature coming through, like some pine or some fir, will make everything feel down-to-earth."

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Looks like this is set up to enjoy dinner at the table and not serve from the same surface, but I think this would still look elegant surrounding dishes so long as you work in different heights. My challenge is finding greenery from seasonal fruits. Perhaps if you have a year-round farmer's market or tree in your yard, you'd be able to score some leaves and branches. I do love the idea that many of these items are edible and also the of pulling from your tree...no one will ever know...! Excellent ideas here, thanks!”
— Cookie16
Comment

How do you like to dress up a holiday table? Share your secrets with us below!

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Oma
    Oma
  • Cookie16
    Cookie16
  • BerryBaby
    BerryBaby
  • judy
    judy
  • Hana Asbrink
    Hana Asbrink
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Hana Asbrink

Written by: Hana Asbrink

Hana is the senior lifestyle editor at Food52.

8 Comments

Oma December 26, 2018
I created my smaller version for a Christmas dinner for four and a half. I was looking for something new for Christmas and had recycled last year’s Thanksgiving table. I was amazed at how much I already had on hand and finally had a chance to use my grandmother’s delicate glassware. A couple of thrift store finds rounded things out. Satsumas from my own potted tree helped with the supermarket finds. There are no farmer’s markets and NO plums here during the winter. My guests and husband actually discussed some of the fruit I used in the display (looking at you golden walnuts). It was fun to put together and got me out of my red and green rut. Thanks.
 
Author Comment
Hana A. January 7, 2019
LOVED hearing this, thanks Oma and here's to a fantastic 2019!
 
Cookie16 December 24, 2018
I think this is gorgeous! Looks like this is set up to enjoy dinner at the table and not serve from the same surface, but I think this would still look elegant surrounding dishes so long as you work in different heights. My challenge is finding greenery from seasonal fruits. Perhaps if you have a year-round farmer's market or tree in your yard, you'd be able to score some leaves and branches. I do love the idea that many of these items are edible and also the of pulling from your tree...no one will ever know...! Excellent ideas here, thanks!
 
Author Comment
Hana A. January 7, 2019
Thank you for reading, Cookie16!
 
BerryBaby December 15, 2018
It's beautiful but not efficient...too much 'stuff' and not room for food, unless you are only eating the fruit and nuts.
I use a red or green tablecloth, place a holiday runner down the center, kind of bunch it up and place about 5 big pine cones along it. In the center is a low bowl of holiday greens from the yard. I like for guests to be able to see each other. It's simple, lovely and plenty of room for all the dishes.
 
Author Comment
Hana A. January 7, 2019
Sounds beautiful, hope you had a wonderful holiday BerryBaby!
 
judy December 14, 2018
This is lovely. she had a collection of metallic containers, that helped bring it all together. But I think one could use just about any mix of vessels. The gold walnuts were a great touch. Still, one seems to need flair to bring something that seems as simple as this off, and Simply do not have that. Tried for decades from calculated matching to casual mixing. Flair is what was always missing. Just like some women are just elegant no matter what they wear. Not me. But lovely to watch. Thank you.
 
Author Comment
Hana A. January 7, 2019
Agree, personal flair is always key. Thanks for reading, Judy!