Combine upstyled containers and seasonal supplies to craft festive focal points for your holiday table.
Matthew Mead shares tips for inexpensive and eye-catching holiday centerpieces.
Creating a centerpiece to crown your holiday table is as important as selecting the perfect Christmas tree. There is nothing more welcoming and celebratory than a dining or coffee table embellished with an artful assemblage of seasonal goods, such as greens, fruits, ornaments, fragrant spices and candles.
You don’t have to be a floral designer or crafting expert to put together a striking centerpiece or tabletop display (or two). Most of the items you need may be gathered from around your house or yard or at a local grocery store, florist or crafts store.
To ensure long-lasting creations that can grace your tables throughout the winter season, we’ve focused on designs made with faux greens, dried ingredients, nuts and other items that have a longer shelf life. Bowls, boxes, platters, jars, vintage toys or other containers you have on hand form the foundation of these eye-catching arrangements that can be reimagined and reassembled from year to year.
Sometimes the color and uniqueness of your container can really set the stage for a special centerpiece. This vividly hued vintage toolbox is the perfect base for a monochromatic centerpiece. Green apples, evergreen sprigs and pinecones are fitting color partners for the painted metal. Tuck a layer of crushed newspaper into the toolbox and then set larger items such as green apples and pinecones in place, filling in with preserved moss, faux greens and berries, and nuts. Place the box in the center of your dining table or on a windowsill or mantel. Keep in a cool, dry place to maximize life of apples.
Raid the cookie jar for this tasty centerpiece. Fill an old wood bowl with faux greens, and then layer on gingerbread cookies festooned with ribbons or topped with icing. Many styles of fancy gingerbread cookies can be purchased at the grocery store, or you can bake your own from your favorite recipe. Because it is a dry cookie, it keeps well, as does royal icing. Gingerbread is particularly fragrant and delicious and may also entice guests to nibble on a cookie or two. Refresh the arrangement with extra cookies or pile it a little higher when company comes. Cookies can also be replicated with clay or spice dough for a longer-lasting decoration, but make it clear to your guests that these forms are inedible.
Employ an old toy truck as the base for a whimsical centerpiece for a dining table, sideboard or coffee table. Trucks can vary in size and also look nice on a long and wide windowsill. Fill the truck bed with small bottle-brush trees and a handful of artificial snow, dusting the hood of the truck with snow as well. For added interest, glue tiny beads in shades of red or green to the trees. For a permanent display, apply a sparing amount of hot glue to the bottoms of the trees to hold them in place. Add bundles of twigs and pinecones to increase the amount of cargo in the truck bed, if desired. Round out a tabletop vignette by surrounding the truck with small mounds of snow and setting decorative votive candleholders around the scene.
Draw on a favorite collection for a personalized centerpiece. White biscuit jars arranged on a companion platter set a neutral tone when surrounded by bleached pinecones and bottle-brush trees. Finish off the arrangement with sprigs of faux greenery, brass jingle bells and small white wool mittens. Fill the jars with favorite candies or cookies and use as a dual-duty serving piece/centerpiece for a Christmas coffee or tea party.
Borrow components from your potting shed for a country garden-themed display. Fill small terra-cotta pots of varying sizes with moss and pea gravel and seat real or battery-operated votives inside. Place the pots on a metal or galvanized tray and arrange with red berries, pinecones, bits of evergreen and twig stars. Light the candles in the evening for an engaging centerpiece that looks great on a dining table or dinner buffet.
A large platter or bowl can serve up a spectacular tabletop focal point. Here, a red transferware platter is topped with an assortment of dried pomegranates, pinecones, faux apples, bits of moss and dried bay leaves. The oval platter shape fits perfectly in the center of a dining table and can be elevated with a cake stand or several votive cups. Add faux evergreen clippings to the edge, but leave the platter border uncovered to showcase the design. After the rest of the holiday decorations are put away, this arrangement will transition easily to wintertime decorating. Matthew Mead is a lifestyle guru whose upcycling ideas make excellent use of items you already have or can find easily at thrift stores and flea markets. He is a photographer, stylist and author. Follow his work and upcoming projects at www.holidaywithmatthewmead.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ matthew.mead.37.
Orange Spice An old seed box serves as a rustic container for lavishly mounded orange pomander balls, cinnamon sticks, pinecones and faux greens. Make pomander balls by studding fresh oranges with whole cloves, creating swirl or stripe patterns. These fragrant spheres will last for months and dry for reuse. Pile the box with dried pinecones and then add pomanders and tangerines. Fill in with sprigs of faux evergreen and clusters of faux berries. Insert cinnamon sticks, smaller pinecones and nuts to finish the look.
Nutty and Natural Display a copper tray laden with evergreens and nut- and moss-covered spheres. Glue a mix of dried nuts to polystyrene foam balls, filling in gaps with tufts of moss. Hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnuts are all great choices. Glue moss or tiny pinecones to other foam balls to vary the texture. Line the tray with evergreens and moss and then pile in moss balls, nut balls, pinecone balls and a mix of gold glass ornaments. These spheres can be used from year to year if wrapped and stored in airtight bins. Surround the tray with real or battery-powered votive candles displayed atop vintage butter pat plates.
16 NOVEMBER 2017