Holiday Table Inspiration from Nell Hill’s

Many of us have fabulous dining spaces in our homes … that collect dust. It’s time to fix that. This holiday season, and into the new year, resolve to fill your dining room with people you love, gathered together for good food and great conversation.

I firmly believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to invite them into your home to share a meal. Especially in our hustle-bustle world, where sitting in leisure, savoring good food and drink, and connecting with others face-to-face is a rare treat.

If you have old china, give it a new look by mixing it with contemporary pieces, like wicker chargers or crisp white plates.

When I am a guest in someone’s home, and I walk into their dining room, with a table beautifully set, I feel like a queen, both honored and humbled that my host took time in her busy life to make this evening so special.

Experiment with your table linens. Here, we used a plaid throw blanket as a runner.

Friends at Nell Hill’s have shared with me that they would entertain more if they didn’t find it so stressful. Here are my suggestions for making entertaining is a lot less stressful, and a lot more fun …

Candles are a fast and easy way to add romance to your table. I cluster lots of votives at the center of my tables.


Decide where you can cut corners, then do it. This will reduce the amount of work you have to do, lower your stress level and give you more time to spend with your guests. For me, a big barrier to having dinner parties was the simple fact that I cannot cook. At all. So, for me, simplifying means giving myself permission to never, ever have to cook the meal. I have a short list of restaurants where I can carryout everything from the main course to the dessert. This simple strategy has allowed me to enjoy everything I love about hosting a dinner party, without the part I hate.

An easy way to add interest to your table top is to pull in a mix of textures.


Like anything, the more you entertain, the more comfortable you become doing it. You develop your own style and system, the rhythm that is right for you and your guests.

If you don’t have a full set of stemware or china, combine several sets. It makes the table that much more beautiful.

Get inspired.

It’s more fun to entertain when you have a reason. For me, it can be the chance to unleash my creativity on decorating the table. I just think it’s fun.  Need inspiration? Head into Nell Hill’s. Right now, the store is filled with tabletops our design team created to show the wide variety of things you can do on your holiday table. You will come out brimming with ideas!

Delight guests by adding a little surprise gift to their place setting, like a Christmas tree ornament.


If you start to stress or worry, stop and remember why you are having a dinner party in the first place: to spend time with people you care about. The rest is just details. If anything can go wrong at a dinner party, believe me, I’ve probably experience it. When inevitable hiccups happen, I keep them in perspective, and laugh it off.  Worst case scenario, you can order in pizza. Best case scenario, you have now given your guests one heck of a story to share: “Remember the time you set dinner on fire? That was hilarious!”

Centerpieces can be tall or small, depending upon your preference.

Next Week … more holiday decorating tips!