A Christmas Dinner Party

Welcome to the 224th Tablescape Thursday!

Three or four weeks ago I posted this tablescape below for a Tablescape Thursday.  Sunday I had a little dinner party and at first I set the table with my Lenox, Winter Greetings pattern.  At the last minute, I decided the table was feeling a bit more formal than I wanted for this gathering.  I wanted our party to feel more cozy and casual.  So I decided to recreate the table below for the party.



Here’s a view of the previous “woodland” tablescape from a few weeks ago.  For our dinner party, I made a few small changes.



Since we weren’t having soup I didn’t use the acorn soup tureens this time.

Christmas Tablescape with Woodland Theme


The only change I made with the centerpiece, besides gathering fresh magnolia, was adding glittery pine cones here and there throughout. Do you see them?

Centerpiece with Magnolia Leaves, Deer and Pine Cones


Here’s a little close-up showing one.

Centerpiece with Magnolia Leaves, Deer and Pine Cones


The other changes were:

  • 1. Shimmering napkin sheaths: Previously, I used the plaid napkins alone
  • 2. Mercury-glass  napkin rings: Previously I used a rustic acorn tied with red ribbon
  • 3. Little fur-topped stocking ornaments for my guests filled with goodies
  • 4. Flatware:  I only have 6 sets of the antler flatware (which was what I used previously) but had 8 guests coming for dinner.  I decided to go with my Gourmet Settings Treble Clef flatware available HERE. I love its casual look and love the dark color with the plaid dinner plates.  Also, the curled handle on the tip of the flatware mimics the curled antlers on the glittery deer ornament down inside the little red stockings.  The red stocking also held an old fashioned candy cane.

Christmas Tablescape Place Setting with Plaid Plates and Plaid Napkins


A little napkin ring story:  I saw these napkin rings on the Pottery Barn site last year and also in their stores.  They were reasonably priced and I almost bought them.  Not sure why but I never did.  Last year after Christmas, I was looking for mercury-glass napkin rings on eBay and came across them again.  They were a little bit higher than they had been in the stores, but not much.  I remembered PB sold them with both a silver and a gold-ish finish.  I didn’t want the gold looking finish…really wanted the silver looking finish.

It was hard to tell which finish they were in the seller’s picture on eBay, so I e-mailed the seller (before buying) to verify the finish since her ad implied the standard silver finish.  She e-mailed back saying they were the silver finish, not the gold.  They arrived and surprise, they were the gold finish.  Even said so on the box.

I would normally send something back when it’s not as advertised but I decided to just keep them.  I’m glad I did now because silver would not have worked in this setting near as well as the gold mercury-glass finish.  They were perfect with the shimmery gold look of the napkin sheaths and the gold, glittered finish of the ornament.  Funny how things sometimes work out, huh?

Christmas Tablescape Place Setting with Plaid Plates and Plaid Napkins


I made two more of my DIY  placecards and using a gold sharpie, I filled in the names for each of my dinner guests.  (Tutorial for place cards can be found under the category heading, Tablescapes/Tabletop Idea and Tips/Creative Napkin Rings and Place Cards at the top of the blog or click   here:  Never Buy Place Cards for Your Tablescape Again

DIY Place Cards for Christmas or Thanksgiving Table Setting


Here’s how they looked in place on the table, resting on antler ornaments (from Walmart last year) turned into place card holders.

DIY Placecards Made from Cardstock and Acorns_wm


Several folks brought yummy desserts.  Wish I had thought to take a picture of the desserts during the party.  Here’s a “before” the party picture showing the Cranberry trifle I made.  I made more of the “candied orange zest” for the top than the recipe calls for because it’s really yummy.  You’ll find a printable copy of the Cranberry Trifle recipe under the category heading Good Eats/Recipes at the top of BNOTP or at this link:  Cranberry Trifle, Great for a Holiday Gathering 

Christmas Dessert, Cranberry Trifle Recipe


For the party I placed a  candlelit centerpiece on the porch table, in case someone ventured on to the porch.  The kitchen got pretty warm with both ovens going so we had the door to the porch open a fair amount during the party, especially since it wasn’t that cold out.

Screened In Porch


A wooly throw and a furry friend waited on the swing in case someone wanted to curl up on the porch for a bit.

Swing with Santa Bear and Bear Throw


I have to share this miracle candle.  After the party I went around and blew out all the candles I had burning in various rooms and on the porch.  I double-checked one last time before going to bed.  I totally forgot the candle in the lantern on the front porch.

Decorating the Porch for Christmas with Garland, Sled, Ice Skates, Muff and Snowflake Wreath


So the candle inside this lantern burned from around 5:30 in the evening on Sunday until around 12 noon the following day when I happened to look out the sidelight window and noticed a “glow.”

Decorating the Porch for Christmas with Garland, Sled, Ice Skates, Muff and Snowflake Wreath


After burning for over 18 hours, this is as far as the candle had gotten!  Can you believe that?  Talk about a long lasting candle!  It wouldn’t have hurt anything if it had burned down since it was inside a metal and glass lantern atop a brick porch, but WOW, had no idea any candle would last so long!  I just checked on the bottom and it’s a Colonial Candle candle. Figures, they make awesome candles.

Candle on Christmas Porch


One more funny story from the party.  When I was getting ready for the party, I came across these he/she deer antlers in Dollar Tree.  They were only $1 for a pack of two.  The “girl” deer antlers are the cream-colored ones with the touch of fur around the headband.  I placed one on the chair at each place setting, depending on who would be sitting there.  I had 5 women and 3 men attending this party so I bought 5 sets to get the colors I needed.

Antler Head Pieces for Christmas from the dollar Store


I forgot about the antlers and as everyone went into the dining room, I dashed into the kitchen to get something.  When I came into the dining room, all my crazy friends dinner guests were wearing their antlers.  I totally cracked up.  I took this picture later in the evening when I realized not a single person had ever removed them.  I figured they would be good sports and try them on…never guessed they would keep them on.  We laughed all night about these antlers and no one ever took them off.  I wonder if any neighbors drove or walked by and looked in through the windows. lol

Christmas Dinner Party


My friend, Ann loved the muff/hat I had displayed on the sled out front and asked to see it.  She remembered having one as a little girl.

Porch Decorated for Christmas with Garland, Sled, Ice Skates, Muff and Snowflake Wreath 08


I brought it in and she had great fun pretending to be a kid again in her hat and muff, striking some fun poses for the camera.  We were laughing and having the best time.

Wearning the Hat and Muff_wm


Of course, the guys had to try it on, too.  Someone pointed out that Dave’s shirt coordinated with my checked draperies.   We were in rare form that night. 🙂



Great party with fun friends!  Why don’t we do this more often?  Do you ask yourself that after every gathering of friends? 🙂

Looking forward to all the tablescapes for this TT!

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  1. oh my gosh, i love how everyone was willing to wear those reindeer antlers! and your porch is always amazing. happy holidays and thanks for hosting!

  2. Lovely tablescape, so festive and inviting! Thank you for hosting and Merry Christmas !

  3. Hi Susan, each photo is more special than the previous, I particularly like the porch all aglow with those beautiful candles. The trifle looks luscious, too. And I adore those cardinal plates. Merry Christmas to you and your family. xo

  4. Diane Strickland says

    Susan – love your tablescape and laughed out loud about the antler story. What good sports you friends are!!
    The napkins rings are perfect – that was a very lucky mistake. I am jealous about all of the beautiful magnolia leaves. I used to live in a house with huge magnolia trees and I really miss them. Hope your Christmas is as wonderful, as your table!!

    • Thanks, Diane! I would surely miss this tree if I moved. I use it so much this time of year. It’s works out well because by this time, the branches are really encroaching on the driveway and walkway so it’s time for a trim.
      Merry Christmas to you!

  5. So many wonderful elements in this setting. The sheer napkins have a huge impact on the design. Delightful. Thanks for hosting us each week and for all the inspiration. Merry Christmas! Cherry Kay

  6. Susan, I was crazy enough to do a table this week even though I was sick! Thanks for the party.

    There seems to be a glitch in the linking up the last two weeks. It won’t come up and won’t come up so Joni told me to try going to my Reading List. I tried that this week and it showed on the reading list but wouldn’t let me link for a while either. I don’t know if there is anything you can do about this, but it is a change from the past.

    Have a very Merry Christmas!

    • Jacqueline, I haven’t heard that from anyone else. Are you using Internet Explorer as your browser? A lot of folks are having trouble with it. Download the Chrome browser and try visiting BNOTP with that browser to see if that will help. I love Chrome and it works well online for everything. I can’t imagine what’s going on. 🙁

  7. Susan,
    Beautiful table, and lucky guests to be invited. I would not have taken off the antlers either. I am so in love with that little muff. I got one for Christmas when I was a kid, but those little red touches just make it perfect.

  8. P.S. I forgot to mention the candle. That is just amazing that it didn’t burn down any more than that!
    Hmmm! The magic of Christmas???? 🙂

  9. Hi Susan, I love those PB dishes with the deer in the snow and the little sparkly additions you have made with the pinecones and napkins add a festive air to your welcoming table! The antlers are hilarious! We have some that we wear around on Christmas morning. I hope you have a very merry Christmas and may all your Christmas dreams come true! Linda

  10. Such a beautiful tablecape and looks like everyone had so much fun. Thanks for hosting and I hope you and your family have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas. Hugs, Marty

  11. Looks like fun!
    Are you left handed, Susan?

  12. How lovely! I remembering having a muff as a little girl too, and wonder what happened to them. They were such cute and practical things.

  13. Susan I love the changes, the way you did your linens and napkins with the mercury glass, perfect!
    I can see your guests are having a grand time!!
    Art by Karena
    $75 NOVICA Giveaway

  14. OMG…I whooped and laughed so hard when I saw the “reindeer” at your dinner party Susan. How fun! And your table and room is just beautiful. Merry Christmas. xo

  15. What a fun party, Susan! Your guests were all having a ball and who wouldn’t? Your home is so welcoming and so beautifully deocrated for the holidays….Christine

  16. Oh what fun!!!! Love the antlers and would have worn them also!!! Your table was beautiful as usual……and I also say that to myself…’why don’t I do this more often”?????

  17. What a beautiful table and fun party!

  18. Diane Allen Parks says

    Simply beautiful! I love mercury glass anything and collect deer antlers, since we live in the country, but never thought to use them as place card holders! Brilliant!

  19. What a beautiful table. Love the place cards…very creative. Your guests looked like they had a wonderful time. I love adding a touch of whimsy. It’s great sometimes to act like a silly child or let our guards down.
    Merry Christmas Susan.

  20. Your little changes to the table looked great! I love that your party goers were such fun and good sports about the antler headpieces! That will go down in the memory banks for a long time!!
    Merry Christmas Susan- YOU ARE A SPECIAL PERSON!
    Hugs from Michigan, Liz

  21. Ha!
    I looove your reflection in the mirror, Susan!
    At least we can see the party hostess wearing her deer antlers, too! 🙂
    Sooo funny… Everything looked beautiful and everyone was wearing the right colors to match your tablescape and… one guy even your new curtains! A coincidence?
    ~Hugs to you~

  22. I bought those same antlers this year, and they are a HIT!!! I couldn’t believe they were just 50 cents apiece!!! I should have bought them out! The table looked wonderful, and I love the place cards you made. Weird story re: the napkin rings. I wonder why the lady would insist they were silver when the package (and coloring!) clearly stated gold. Oh, well…it turned out to be OK for you in the end, and that’s what counts! Love the knit stockings!!!! I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Susan!

  23. Such a festive table, Susan! It looks like you know how to throw a fun party, too. 🙂 Merry Christmas, my friend.

  24. That must have been some really good wine you were serving!!! lol You are definitely the Hostes with the Mostest. Lovely table, festive surroundings, good food and wine…..sounds like a perfect evening. Thanks for sharing!

  25. A fabulous and fun tablescape and it’s no wonder your guests really enjoyed it so much..the great food and beautiful dishes as well, makes it for a perfect holiday dinner. I loved the pic with your guests wearing antlers..so cute! Thank you for hosting this great party, the last before C’mas 2012. Have a very Merry Christmas Susan.

  26. I would luv to know where you found those little “fur tipped knit stockings!!!” franki [email protected]

    • Franki, those came from Cracker Barrel, this season. I bought six for a tablescape when they were $1.99 each, I think. Then I bought more when I had the party and they were reduced something like 40% off when I went back. That’s where I found the sparkly deer ornament and candy canes, too. Everything is on sale right now at most Cracker Barrels, I think.

      • Isn’t “Cracker Barrel” just a barrel of fun!! Thanks for the info and I’ll check it out. We ALWAYS stop at “Cracker Barrel” when driving…there soup is the best! MERRY! franki

  27. Susan, it sounds like your party was a hit. I love that your guests joined in on the fun and love the picture of all sitting around the table with their antlers on. lol. I hope you don’t get tired of my saying so, but I so love your blog and love that you add other blogs to see. My only problem is I want it all. It is so hard to decide what to do as there are so many ideas here. The plaid, the Lenox, and one of the blogs had the Night before Christmas, another had added some items to her Spode. I have the Spode, but I also have 2 other tables I could decorate, so that opens the door to other themes. You blog excites me and I so want to make that Pottery Barn knock off garland. The ornaments you attached to it were unbreakable, aren’t they?

    • Margo, I so know what you mean. I have a bad habit of falling in love with things I see on other tablescapes that are discontinued, like the Pottery Barn clock plates. There are so many wonderful ideas in Blogland for sure. Yep, I went with plastic because that’s what they used on the PB Garland. I nevr buy plastic ornaments because I don’t like seeing that “seam” they all have. But since it can get reallllly cold here in ATL sometimes, I knew glass would probably break. Also, it’s hard to wrap garland around poles and not bump the ornaments into the porch floor, etc… so glass ones would most likely break while trying to hang the garland. I found all the plastic ones I used for a great price at Old Time Pottery and some at the Dollar store (Dollar Tree). Big Lots or Walmart or Kmart would be good places to check. Hopefully everything is on sale by now.

  28. Susan, spending time with good friends and family is my favorite part of the season. Your table is fabulous, and the antlers are whimsical and fun. I must make these for a group of friends for next Christmas. Great idea!
    Thanks for hosting and happy holidays……..Sarah

  29. Susan, this party looks like a blast! Your table looks gorgeous, and those antlers are sooooo fun. What a great hostess you are! I’m sure you’re friends will still be talking about this party next Christmas. I also love the muff and hat. Thanks for being such a good TT hostess too. If I don’t get back over here, have a merry Christmas. laurie

  30. Beautiful. As is everything you touch, Susan. I LOVE your friends; they know how to have FUN. I do too, and it’s to be UNstuffy! Merry, merry!

  31. Susan, looks like you all had a wonderful time and as always, your table is just lovely! I love that your friends enjoyed the touch of whimsy in the antlers. Reminds me of my precious mom who always finds room for whimsy in every gathering! Thank you for sharing your obvious work of love with all of us and for hosting such a fun tablescape party. I look forward to participating and visiting others every week.
    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!!

  32. Oh what a fun dinner. It is great when guests join in.
    Your table looked beautiful and I agree with the napkin holders being gold, it fitted in with the rest of the placements. All things happen for a reason.
    Your trifle looked so yummy, hope you saved us some!! 🙂

  33. Hi Susan,

    What a wonderful and fun dinner party! That´s the spirit you wish for in the company of friends. Both tablesettings were absolutely beautiful, but I have to say that the cute antlers made my day! ;))

    Happy Holidays!

  34. Where did you find the hat and muff? They are precious. Would love to get a set for my daughter.
    Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    • Hi Cherie, I found them in an antique store 2-3 years ago. I don’t even remember which one now, probably the Queen of Hearts in Alpharetta. Check on eBay…wonder if you can find them there.

  35. Hi Susan,
    As always, I thank you for hosting our never ending party. You rocks, whatever you do. Inspirations just oozing.
    I can imagine how you and your guests had a great time. Seating in that adorable table with great friends and good food, what can someone ask for more (at least me). I am in heaven §;-)
    Hope you have a great w/end ahead and have a Merry Christmas and a Bountiful New Year.

    Enjoy the holiday with your loveones. I can’t wait your New Year’s TS… An idea, to bring me back to Sweden? *giggle

    More blessings,
    /CC girl

  36. Oh Susan your table is gorgeous! I love coming to your sight to indulge in all the eye candy and the inspiration. Merry Christmas!

  37. Looks like you had a blast! Your magnolia leaves are amazing.

    – The Tablescaper

  38. Hey Susan,
    I haven’t stopped smiling, I don’t think mine were the only sides that were splitting at the party from laughing so much! It was awe inspiring all the details, fun, cozy, thoughtful, I loved the description of your table, great ideas!
    You truly are the hostess with the mostess, from the appetizers, fabulous punch, the wines, and table settings. Oh yeah… and food!! ;-)) I don’t think there was ever a pause in the witty conversation once the wine started flowing! There were to many great places in your house to be, and to quote Carol, everything was stunning! (p.s. it was Ginger’s observation on Dave’s stunning insight on how we he dresses to match your drapes! lol..) Thanks again for the trip down memory lane, now I am going to have to find a white rabbit muff.., or… come back next year!!!

    • lol It was fun night, Ann! Thanks for that clarification…couldn’t remember who noticed about Dave’s shirt. That makes perfect sense since Ginger saw the curtains before anyone else. They were in the back of my SUV the night we went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden Holiday Lights event. 🙂
      Merry Christmas! Looking forward to New Year’s!

  39. Joni at Red Couch Recipes is having the same trouble. For some reason if I try to link to a party on Chrome, I end up with the ugly little green frog instead of a photo. I do everything on Chrome but post to parties. Very frustrating. Strange.

  40. It is the green frog picture and there isn’t a red x so that you can delete it, so I am stuck with no picture and no way to change it if I use Chrome. If I use Explorer I am fine.

  41. No, I think you are right, it is blue!

  42. Beautiful tablescape Susan. Your guests looked like they had a fun time too! Merry Christmas!

  43. I love the muff photos. What fun!

    • I’m coming late to this “party” so to speak, but I just saw that fur muff and fur hat. I’m a BIG girl these days, and I STILL would like to have a fur muff and a matching fur hat….don’t care if its made of rabbit or mink! I harken back to the day when women would carry muffs in which to warm their hands as they sat in their horse and buggy carriages, a fur hat on their heads. As I recall, muffs and hats were still popular to a certain extent until perhaps the mid-40s or later.? Those were the days when men and women were classy and knew how to behave in public. In private?…who’s to say! 😉 A belated Merry Christmas to you, Susan..I still feel the glow of Christmas even in February, after looking at your Christmas photos…love em’!

      • Thanks Esther! I know exactly what you mean. I look at old pictures and old movies and wish we could return to the days when folks dressed up when going out. I love that men used to wear hats…my Dad always did. Have you seen some of the blogs where ladies sew and dress in the vintage clothing? I can’t think of the name of any right now but I stumbled across one once and I just loved that she was brave and secure enough to sew the old style and wear them. They were sooo feminine and pretty! Very classy as you mentioned.

  44. Wow! I’m new to your site and this was my first time linking-up 🙂 SO much inspiration here…I have a lot of catching up to do! Everything is impeccable and my favorite part…your guests were clearly enjoying themselves…the real measure of a great party!
    Oh and…we stocked-up on the same antlers this year – they’ve been a BIG hit with the kiddos and adults alike!

  45. Everything looks so lovely. I love the cute simple acorn place cards!

  46. Keep going back to this beautiful table. How tall are the reindeer in this tablescape?

    • They are about 15 inches tall…just found two sparkly ones at Marshall’s today for the mantel of the room that doesn’t exist yet. lol The library. I think I’m going to have it finished this spring. I’m busting to have a white mantel to decorate one day…in the meantime the sparkly deer will probably end up in an upcoming table setting. 🙂

  47. Christina McCall says

    OMG, what a darling idea, not it is Walmart and dollar tree. So cute, I found a pattern to make a muff etc….. ( I remember having one as a kid during dance recitle’s. The sled I think my neighbor has one to borrow or get one at an independent owned Hardware store, and the ice skates … maybe e-bay, antique shops. Where can I find those items? Help. Thanks Susan 🙂

    • Christina, eBay is your best bet unless you have some really reasonably priced antique/flea market type shops in your area. I found the iceskates at A Classy Flea, a local antique store…and the muff came from an antique store in Alpharetta, GA I think. But I’ve seen a lot of ice skates on eBay…you could probably find a muff on there, too. Oh, and I’ve seen sleds on there, also.

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