New twist on BBQ favourite

Manawatu Standard - - Front Page - FIONA HUGHES

To cre­ate an­other tra­di­tional set­ting, pull out the old fam­ily cut glass and sil­ver and get your kids to give it a clean.

My pro­fes­sional life as a stylist means that well be­fore the silly sea­son, I’ve usu­ally cooked mul­ti­ple cel­e­bra­tory feasts and dressed plenty of ta­bles and trees

When Christ­mas fi­nally does roll around I’m usu­ally at the point where I’d love to tell Santa to sod off .how­ever, as a mum to three kids, I can’t af­ford to be a grinch.

Cre­at­ing a ta­ble set­ting to kick off an­other year of fam­ily mem­o­ries is top of my to-do list at home. I do tend to harp on about Mother Na­ture’s de­sign fi­nesse, and I use found and for­aged, usu­ally cost-free, nat­u­ral el­e­ments in my styling a lot.

With all the spend­ing that comes with the hol­i­day sea­son, any­where I can save a few bucks for an ex­tra bot­tle of Cham­pagne is a bonus.

Here’s some sea­sonal ideas to get you started:

Get out­side

Take your Christ­mas ta­ble out­doors. If the weather on De­cem­ber 25 looks good, get your cousins to hoist the din­ing ta­ble out on the lawn or un­der a tree for a change.

Nana will be su­per-chuffed if you use her lace-trimmed fam­ily ta­ble cloth and add sim­ple ar­range­ments of road­side grasses, wild flow­ers in jars, or quickly for­age in the gar­den for a posie or two to tie the whole look to­gether.

Flow­ers and wood

Hy­drangeas are very ver­sa­tile. Have them as a cut bou­quet in wa­ter be­fore Christ­mas, then take them out and hang them up­side down in a cool place to dry. Use one dried stem at each place set­ting tied with in­ex­pen­sive hes­sian tape.

Lit­tle hand­made cut log cheese boards are easy to make if you have a log or two and know a chap with a chain­saw. They can even be taken home as a me­mento after­wards.

Em­brace the red

For a more tra­di­tional scar­let-themed ta­blescape, a pretty box of wrapped Ital­ian Amaretti bis­cuits can go a long way.

Place one or two at each place set­ting and co-or­di­nate pink and red flow­ers to match the won­der­fully dec­o­rated tin.

The joy of lit­tle bat­tery-op­er­ated seed lights (which are found at most de­part­ment stores) is they can be placed any­where, with­out a cum­ber­some lead.

I have laid these un­der a shear ta­ble cloth for an ethe­real look.

Glass and sparkle

To cre­ate an­other tra­di­tional set­ting, pull out the old fam­ily cut glass and sil­ver and get your kids to give it a clean.

A cost-cut­ting way of adding colour is to buy a me­tre or so of plaid 100 per cent cot­ton or linen fab­ric and tear it into nap­kin size squares.

Tie cut­lery to­gether with a short length of cord and a sprig of scented conifer or a bunch of pine nee­dles.

White on white

Monochro­matic white on white with el­e­ments of na­ture is a sure­fire way of pleas­ing the Scan­di­na­vian de­sign lovers on your guest list.

A few cheap pot­ted flower bed plants placed in white dishes or a beach-for­aged seag­ull feather tucked in a white folded nap­kin at each set­ting is all that’s re­quired here.


For a change of scene, take your Christ­mas ta­ble out­doors.

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