Can you believe we are here, on the home stretch to Xmas? And even though it always comes around quicker and quicker every year, there really is something magical about the build up to Xmas. We can’t help but get excited about decking out our homes for the festive season. Especially after this year’s marathon effort, we could all do with some extra holiday cheer around us.
So for installment number 3 of the #popathome table it was naturally going to be all about the Xmas dining table. It’s easy to get swept up in the commercialised options when it comes to decorating our homes at Xmas. You know, the cheap throw away napkins, the bon bons full of gifts that go straight in the bin, paper plates to save on washing up, plastic table cloths that also find their way to the bin, plastic decorations that we get sick of and buy more of every year?
When I sat down to put this table together using all of the local pieces at POP Canberra, I realised just how conditioned we are by the commercial way at Xmas time. How making a conscious decision to invest and change our mindset will not only support small and independent makers and businesses, it will also create Xmas’ that have longevity in our homes and are kinder to our precious environment. Pieces that will stand the test of time and can be passed down through our family generations. And the best part, it doesn’t have to be all done at once. Just make a start and build on it over the years. Here’s how I put together the #popathome Xmas dining table.
I went with a neutral base. There are a couple of reasons for this:
1. It allows your food and accessories to stand out once the table is set and
2. You can easily change it up every year by adding in a different feature colour without having to start all over again.
Always start with a feature piece/s. I call this the anchor. It’s the piece that pulls your table together and holds it in place. In this case it was the two (or how ever many your table will allow) large pine style trees. Not only do plants create a beautiful, natural feature, they can then be planted out into your garden so it’s a win win! Wrap the pots in brown paper and finish with a hand made ornament for that festive touch. If you have space above your table to hang some festive bunting or a wreath, now is the time to do it. The last thing you want to do is try and balance across a table that is all set and decorated.
Adding a tablecloth can give the table a more formal feeling, which is nice for Xmas. And because I couldn’t get my hands on any locally made tablecloths, I’m going to let you in on a little hack….the tablecloth we used is from Bunnings and it was $16. It’s a canvas drop sheet used by painters. It has texture and is a perfect, natural base for the table.
Move onto your place settings using dinnerware from our local ceramicists. To add interest to your table, don’t be afraid to mix it up. For example, use matching dinner plates and side plates but add a different bowl. There are no rules! As a space saver, stack them together and then add your cutlery. I’ve used the cutlery as a way of moving away from bon bons. I tied the cutlery together with some ribbon and then added a brooch as a little gift. I also added a little something in the bowls. The best part about doing this is being able to tailor the gifts to the person receiving them. Your brother might love some gin, your granddad might love tea or your little sister might love some fudge. Shop POP has some AMAZING small, affordable gifts to choose from so the options are endless.
Once your tableware is set and your cutlery bon bons are in place, it’s time to add your glassware. I generally work off a 3 glass per person rule. 2 different wine glasses and a water tumbler. On this table I have used a champagne flute, white wine glass and instead of going with a typical water tumbler, I decided to use ceramic cups sitting on a linen cushion as a statement piece. Statement pieces are great because you’ll find they become a talking point at the table.
For something different, I used pocket squares as napkins and then added small ceramic jugs for sauces and gravy. Place large, flat style ceramic or glass salad bowls through the centre of the table ready for your salads. Add a cluster of candles which sit either above or below eye level so when people are sitting at the table, they don’t interfere with their vision.
For some extra interest, pop some local condiments – relish, nuts, honey, chocolates etc on the table. I even included some dog treats so the family pets also feel special on Xmas day!
And there you have it! A local, Xmas table. A table of time less, locally made pieces that all have purpose and will last a lifetime.
Written by Belinda Neame
Photography by Tim Bean
Belinda Neame is a local stylist, content creator, supporter of local and a lover of all things handmade, high quality and bespoke.
Belinda is the owner operator of the stunning 'Hold Cottage' in Gunning and founder of 'The Forage' - Canberra's premier street food event.
Belinda's husband, Tim is a firefighter by day and lives behind the lens of his camera when not working for his community.
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