Setting a stunning table for the holidays is high on my Bliss Chart. Whether I’m in the mood for simple and serene, or shock-and-awe, I love approaching my tabletop like a canvass, ready to tell a story that entertains my guests. This year, I’m building a tablescape that I can easily transition from winter holidays to just plain winter so I don’t have to take it down on December 26. Here’s how you can do the same:
1. Start with wintery white dishes that transcend the holidays.
Meet my new dish crush: these simple white dishes that feature the relief of a deer’s head. These guys stole my heart at market because they hit two of my hot buttons. First they are white, which means they have no ego. They are happy to go any direction we want to take them. Depending upon what accent plates, table linens, glasses and centerpiece items we pair them with, we can create a jillion different looks. Fun!
Second, they had oodles of charm. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know I adore a rustic, hunt club look in the winter. So, I took the dish salesperson’s order form and said “I do”!
2. Pair them with holiday accents you love.
Now for the fun part: using these easy-going dishes to create a holiday look you love. Bruce, the head of our visual display team at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff and ace camera man, grabbed some snapshots of displays at Nell Hill’s featuring our lovely deer head dishes. If you don’t own any white dishes, here are two things you can do: First, put them on your holiday gift list! Second, use white serving pieces on your holiday table instead, like we did here. All we had to do to make this cream and sugar set merry-merry was put it on a vintage silver tray, then festoon with greenery and ornaments.
Another super easy way to give your white-dish-dressed table some holiday flair is to use a seasonal table square for a tablecloth. It’s hard to see, but we have a plaid square on this display table. Then, dot in some iconic holiday décor, like the faux winter greens and glass bead garlands in the display above. At Nell Hill’s sometimes we place holiday wreaths under the dinner plates as festive chargers. Or you could fold a holiday napkin in a fancy way and place it atop the plates. Or top each plate with a sorbet cup holding a Christmas tree ornament. Dig into your holiday décor box and get creative.
For a fast and fun centerpiece, polish up a silver tray, stack up a few of your white coffee cups then fill in with some holiday decorations. Remember those kitschy bottle brush Christmas trees? They are back! In fact, they have been hot sellers at Nell Hill’s for the past few years. I love them because they are a simple way to put a celebratory stamp on any display.
One more quick note on the deer head dishes before I move on … they make fabulous, inexpensive gifts for friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers, etc. Fill a mug with ornaments, cocoa mix, cinnamon sticks, a pretty spoon – anything – and wrap it up in cellophane tied up with a beautiful ribbon, and you have an affordable gift that looks like a million!
So… how do you take your white dishes and holiday décor and come up with a fabulous look? Here are some examples of how I’ve dressed up my white dishes for the holidays through the years …
3. Switch to winter icons after the holidays are over.
The day you take down the holiday décor is always a little sad, isn’t it? Your house looks so bare after being dressed in all that finery. But you can keep the lush winter layers going on your dining table until the crocuses pop out in spring. Just pull out all the pieces on your table that scream “holiday” and fill in with décor that celebrates winter. Here’s how we pulled that off at Nell Hill’s. Notice we kept our plaid table topper, but brought in black and white napkins. We cleared off the ornaments and put pots of faux paper whites at the table’s center.
Your white dishes will allow you to go lots of different directions on your winter table. You can pair them with silver and gold for a formal and elegant look. The other day I was at a dinner party thrown by a friend, and she set her table completely in white. You might think a white-on-white palette would be booooorrrrrrring. But it was a knock out! I love a winter woodland look in my home in January and February. You can bring this to life easily on your post-holiday table by topping your white dishes with a bit of nature, like did here, using some faux greens and this darling bird.
Next Week … Have some last-minute holiday gifts to get? I have ideas for perfect presents!
Lisa Fernandez saysDecember 8, 2014 at 10:39 am
This could not have come at a better moment My yearly Christmas Party is this Saturday. I’m actually printing out all these photos. Want to make it Spectacular or shall I say, Nell Hillacular!
Is there anything more fun than entertaining? Thank you sweet Mary Carol for all your amazing ideas.
Barbara Bartram saysDecember 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm
Please tell me how to get the darling white dishes with imprint of deer head,also the little covered dish with deer head. Thank you…Barbara
franki saysDecember 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm
Oooooh, the possibilities………….!!! Now, THIS IS FUN!! franki
Nan Bridgeman saysDecember 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm
Please tell me how to get the fun deer plates. I love them!
Joan saysDecember 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm
Love the knife rests!
This post came just at the right time! White dishes are what I use most for parties. Your ideas to freshen them up are so helpful.
Janis saysDecember 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm
I’m pretty sure most of these things can be purchased at her store. If you don’t live close you need to put together a girlfriend road trip 🙂
Mary Carol saysDecember 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm
Hi Everyone! The deer head plates can be purchased at both Nell Hill’s location. If you don’t live nearby, we can definitely ship! Just give us a call at 877-746-4320 for more details!
Pam strassle saysDecember 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm
Could you tell me how much each piece of the deer head dishes run?
BARBARA saysDecember 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm
Thank you Mary Carol for your brilliant ideas , all full of class and joy, love your tartan design dish and the deer head plates too.
I have seen here in Quito Ecuador just for this season , the dish covered with the deer head, they told me it is for butter, it is that correct ? It looks very charming
I AM SO SORRY not to have one of your stores around, I will definitely could shop there.Thank you again
Mary Carol saysDecember 10, 2014 at 10:36 am
Hi Pam, just give us a call at 877-746-4320 and we’d be happy to give you the prices, sizes, etc. on each piece. Thanks so much!
Barbara, you can use the deer head covered dishes for butter or many other things too. You could place a gift under for your guests, or a savory treat or dessert. Let you imagination go, and you never know what you will come up with!
bobbi duncan saysDecember 15, 2014 at 1:50 am
Hi, Mary Carol. Just want to let you know that I love your blog….so many great ideas! I ordered the deer head dinnerware ( settings for 12) a couple days ago and it is due to arrive today. Can’t wait to see it in real life. It will be absolutely perfect for my Autumn fox hunt party, Xmas, or all winter long! Is the deer bell jar you show on the plaid plate available as well? Wish you had a store close to us so I could visit in person…..it would do really well here in the Brandywine Valley of southeastern PA. I was in Atchison, KS. in 1991. I didn’t know of your store back then, unfortunately, but met some lovely folks while there…typical Midwest hospitality that was much appreciated. If we ever get out your way, your store will be at the top of my must visit places list. Congratulations for all the effort you and your sales team have put in to create such a wonderful place to shop. Hi! to Barb and Nancy at the Kansas City store…they were so pleasant and helpful when I called to place my order. Many thanks.
Debra saysMarch 6, 2016 at 12:58 pm
Hello Mary Carol…..I live in California, how can I purchase some of your items online?
Mary Carol Garrity saysMarch 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm
Hi Debra, we don’t have an online store but we do ship most everything in the store. Just give us a call at 877-746-4320!