When decorating for Christmas, the dining room often becomes an afterthought. It’s no wonder; the holidays are a busy time, and for a lot of us getting the living room ready for the holidays takes a lot of attention. But Amy Mikkelsen is here with a few super practical and easy Christmas decorating ideas that will help make your holiday dinner fun and memorable — without killing the fun for you.
Amy knows a lot about making guests comfortable. Her blog Your Southern Peach is full of terrific entertaining and decorating ideas. Her holiday dining room and decorating tips are her contribution to our Holiday Style Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We sent Amy mystery boxes of Home Depot Christmas decorations and then left it to her to work her Christmas decorating magic.
She created a lovely, vintage-style Christmas dining room that’s ready for after-dinner game time for the whole family. She offers up some simple ideas for an evergreen centerpiece, a beverage station and an ingenious Christmas tree topper that really isn’t a topper.
One of my favorite things about the holidays is time spent around the dining table with family and friends. It’s a place to share a meal and share stories. It’s a place where hospitality shines and a place to make memories that last a lifetime. My house is filled with all ages on Christmas Day so my guests are actually my decor inspiration! Young or old, I want them to be comfortable and feel right at home. Needless to say, my southern kitchen serves up a ton of food during the holidays, so the dining area must be practical. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy making it special!
The Christmas Table Setting
Setting the table has always been one of my favorite tasks, and I usually get started a week before any large celebration. I consider a lovely table setting a gift to my guests and I strive to make them feel special immediately upon their arrival.
I love to mix and match modern-day pieces with vintage finds like these 1950s dessert plates and heirloom glasses. Creating layers of plates and linens adds charm and takes the table from everyday to holiday! I also highly recommend having your linens professionally pressed prior to the holidays. It’s a huge time saver and it makes such a difference in the overall appearance of your tablescape.
The Evergreen Centerpiece
The centerpiece for my table is a rustic evergreen bouquet created from clippings found in my own yard. The winter can be scarce when it comes to finding beautiful flora, so this urn with faux greenery makes a great base and starting point. Another secret to a lovely evergreen centerpiece is gathering a wide variety of leaves and textures to keep the bouquet visually interesting.
A Christmas Tree in the Dining Room
As my holiday decor has grown over the years, I finally decided a second tree was needed in our home. The dining room became home to this second artificial tree and I can’t tell you how much ambience it adds to the space. I promise it makes the guests linger a little longer and indulge in that second piece of pie. There’s something so magical and inviting about it!
Just like my centerpiece, I always add natural elements to my artificial trees. It helps fill gaps and gives the tree a living, breathing quality that’s similar to a fresh-cut tree. It doesn’t require many clippings to make a difference and it really adds a lot of depth to an otherwise ordinary tree. It’s also a nice compromise for families who may suffer from allergies with real trees but still want that natural look.
Harvesting berries from my nandina bush is a must, come the holidays. They grow wild here in the south, and some people consider them unruly and tacky, but I absolutely love them for their lovely winter foliage during an otherwise dormant season. For added interest on my tree, I like mixing and matching simple bulbs and a few fancy bulbs with family heirloom ornaments. I hang the bulbs further inside the tree to help reflect and bounce the light while leaving front row space for the more unique, treasured ornaments. I find a well-curated ornament collection to be a wonderful trip down memory lane and often a great conversation starter with guests.
Every tree needs a topper and this year I opted for an oversized floating bulb covered in red satin ribbon. For an optical illusion, I suspended the bulb from the ceiling with translucent fishing wire.
Our second tree also serves the purpose of housing gifts that either need to be shipped or are awaiting the arrival of out of town guests. I also place a few unmarked hostess gifts under this tree for impromptu parties or last minute engagements. Another huge time and sanity saver!
After-Dinner Games and Treats
In our home, mealtime quickly transitions to game time. The dining room table becomes host to a friendly game of Scrabble, Uno or a giant jigsaw puzzle. Game time is usually when we enjoy dessert and after dinner drinks, so encourage guests to pull up a chair, grab a cozy blanket and stay a while!
This hot chocolate and bubbly bar will excite guests of all ages! I love the look on the kids’ faces when they see all the “fixings” at their fingertips! (And the adults find it hard to resist too.) A well-stocked beverage station invites guests to help themselves and allows the hostess to mingle without guilt.
These flameless candles are perfect for a drink station, especially when younger hands are involved. Tiny wooden scoops add whimsy and allow for easy service and portion control.
Ribbon is a quick, inexpensive way to add a festive touch to any serving piece. I also love these mini ornaments on stemware and scattered around for a touch of color.
Another home grown bouquet of yard clippings, including some fragrant rosemary, is arranged in a vintage milk glass urn and is the finishing touch to my holiday decor.
From my home to yours, wishing you a lovely holiday season filled with heartfelt occasions and joyous memories. May all your days be merry and bright!
Amy Mikkelsen is an Atlanta native and genuine Georgia peach. She’s the creative mind behind the southern lifestyle blog Your Southern Peach, where she shares recipes, entertaining tips and other domestic delights. She’s the mom of two young gents and is an avid yogi and gardener. She believes that southern hospitality has no boundaries. See how she decorated her front porch for our Patio Style Challenge.
Visit The Home Depot’s online Holiday Decorations Department for everything you need to decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas.