The Pink House Husband and I agree on a lot of things. Sadly, home décor isn’t one of them. Where he likes empty surfaces, I favour styled-up shelfies. Where he’d rather have one picture, I put up a gallery wall. And where he prefers white, I plump for, er, pink. Thankfully, when it comes to Christmas, he chills out on the whole de-clutter thing, and embraces (OK - puts up with) a bit of OTT. Phew!
Also luckily, from a festive/my sanity point of view, the Pink House Husband likes cooking, whereas I still need to consult Delia on how to boil an egg EVERY SINGLE TIME. Which means that on Christmas Day there really is peace and goodwill among Pink House Dwellers: PHH is dispatched to wrestle with the turkey in the kitchen wearing his lady-in-a-bikini apron*, while I take up the challenge of creating a festive table worthy of his food. And Uncle iPad, Auntie Inappropriate Films and Cousin Wii take turns to entertain the kids.
So what makes a next-level-lovely festive table, I hear you cry? Well you’re in luck/reading the right blog post: to give you a bit of inspo, the people at Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise (who clearly have seriously excellent taste, winking smiley emoji), have asked me to share my ideas on how to upgrade your Christmas – specifically, your Christmas table.
As a mayonnaise lover (makes excellent turkey sandwiches; no cooking required), I was only too happy to help, especially as they’ve devised three limited edition Christmas jars I’d be very happy to have on my table. As the former editor of trade title Marketing magazine’s Design page (for which I used to write reams about the pros and cons of product packaging), I’m very fussy about my condiments’ appearance (boffin face emoji). Here they are in my kitchen, above and right – see what I mean? (my 4yo is extra fond of the one with the little snow hen)
So with eight out of 10 Brits saying that the food and drink bit is the most important part of Christmas (and me saying that food/drink tastes 10 times better if its eaten/drunk off a fabulous-looking table) I’m going to show you two ways I’m considering styling The Pink House’s dining area this Christmas…no no – thank YOU for reading!
*he doesn’t actually own such an apron; I’m just enjoying the image
NB: thanks to Hayford & Rhodes for the stunning flowers and foliage.
All photos by Georgia Gold
Table Setting 1: The Festive Family Feast
This look is all about taking your good old family work-horse of a table to the next level, so everyone says “wow!” when they walk in to the room.
TIP 1: The tablecloth
There’s something about a tablecloth that just screams ‘posh celebration’ – except of course it wouldn’t dream of screaming; it carefully enunciates using the Queen’s English. If you have children, a tablecloth carries the extra bonus of hiding your well-worn table’s multitude of pen-stain sins. OK, a pure white linen tablecloth is undeniably chic and looks de rigeur in Claridges, but my kids would ensure it looked like a turkey massacre had occurred in about 10 minutes, so I’ve chosen this patterned tablecloth instead – pretty/practical AND you can hide sprouts on the green bits.
Bonus tip for extra styling points: pin/tape the table cloth round the table legs so it stays nice and straight along the front, thereby avoiding you having to iron it, while looking great in photos (the tablecloth, though I imagine you’ll look better in photos too if you haven’t had to slave over a hot iron).
TIP 2: Plate layering
This is something you see a lot in magazine photoshoots and that’s because layered plates are an opportunity to add depth, colour, and - in this case of these H&M plates, below - a bit of bling to each place setting. It’s also a great way of upgrading your festive table because it’s a) easy, and b) handy – no need for your sherry-addled brain to remember to bring in plates for each course because THEY’RE ALREADY ON THE TABLE. Just start with the biggest plate and work up, either keeping to a colour palette, or clashing colours and patterns – there are no rules! Chuck on a bit of greenery and iPad’s your Uncle!
TIP 3: Re-purpose your tree decorations
If you’re like me, chances are you have more decorations than can actually fit on your tree. Feel bad for those neglected decs no longer – because your Christmas table is the perfect place to house them and make them feel loved again. I’ve used pink pineapples to decorate the plates, scattered multi-coloured mini baubles around, and filled these large gilt-edged bowls (H&M) with gold, silver and blue decorations to make the table look full of festive fun before the food has even arrived.
TIP 4: Love it? Add it
You don’t just have to use Christmas-themed objects to decorate your table – anything gorgeous (and ideally shiny) will do. I have a current obsession with this random little pink-and-gold pot I'm holding below, which I brought back from a recent trip to Sweden, so on the table it goes. I might even fill it with salt crystals on the big day to give it a purpose. And the gold cocktail shakers are there because you can never have too much gold, or too many cocktails.
TIP 5: Keep the kids occupied
Christmas dinner is one meal when you REALLY don’t want to listen to “wheeeeen’s puuuudding” on repeat. And you don’t have to, if you leave piles of gold chocolate coins lying around the table for them to graze on while you finish your main course. Not only will they be eating, making it harder for them to speak (though it must be said the small Pink House Dwellers are perfectly capable of asking for chocolate while eating chocolate), but prising apart the foil will help hone their fine motor skills (education! on actual Christmas Day!) and occupy their brains. For, ooh, about three minutes. Eat up!
Table Setting 2: The Romantic Boxing Day Tea for Two
I’ve styled this pretty festive afternoon tea on our breakfast bar, where there’s only room for two on these gold Rockett St George stools. Lock** the kids in the sitting room with The Snowman, crack open the champagne, fire up those turkey sandwiches*** and congratulate your other half on a Christmas well spent.
TIP 1: Keep it simple, make it special
It’s no surprise that the Boxing Day Turkey Tea ™ is gathering pace as the hottest new festive trend since, er, Father Christmas. Compared to the complexities involved in cooking Christmas dinner, even I can rustle up a delicious turkey sandwich afternoon tea for two in no time (turkey, mayo, bread, DONE). Leaving me plenty of energy to a) make the table setting sensational, and b) have a proper grown-up conversation – assuming the kids stay in the sitting room, that is. I’m just off to check that lock…
TIP 2: Fire up the flowers
For me, no decoration in the world can beat mother nature (yup, even the unicorn bauble on the first table – though it DOES come close). For this table setting, I’ve filled my owl vase with scented eucalyptus, and woven a few fairy lights through for added sparkle (there’s no such thing as gilding the lily at Christmas). Dried hydrangea heads add depth and drama – and are an excellent year-round alternative to faux flowers. Finally, a gorgeous bright pink bouquet adds something extra special.
TIP 3: Invest in the best crockery
Although I’m a self-confessed maximalist, I’ve learned that sometimes it better to have one gorgeous thing, than lots of quite nice things. And that sometimes the Pink House Husband does have a point when it comes to clutter. That’s where beautiful crockery like these plates, cups-and-saucers and cake stand from Sara Miller London come in – functional AND beautiful, they upgrade your table without overloading it. PHH will be delighted.
TIP 4: Choose your own Christmas colours
Who says Christmas has to be red and green? Nearly every retailer in the land, that’s who. But that doesn’t mean YOU have to go along with it. Dodge the cliché and up the fab-factor with a few simple tweaks – I’ve taken these funky sprout crackers from Talking Tables, removed the red ribbon and tied pink ones in their place. Another way round the traditional look is to shop from non-Christmas ranges and stores – these glass candlesticks and bright pink candlesticks are from too-cool-for-Christmas shop W.A.Green, they finish my pink-themed table off perfectly, and will look lovely all year round, making them an ‘investment purchase’ – again, how can PHH fail to be beside himself with joy?
Happy festive styling – and enjoy those turkey sandwiches!
**I’m joking. This is not recommended for safety reasons. Just bribe them with chocolate instead
***The sandwiches in the picture are egg mayo, due to lack of turkey in my house in November when the photoshoot took place. They were delicious though.
This post was sponsored by Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise, but all thoughts, opinions and ideas are entirely my own. If I don’t like something, I won’t write about it.