‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Progressive Dinner

It’s the night before Christmas, and I’m late getting photos of our 2013 Christmas decor and annual cul-de-sac Progressive Dinner posted! Very little chit-chat tonight. I hope all your stockings are hung and that you are ready to just coast from here on out!
(Click on any photo and then click again to enhance/enlarge it and see details up close.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Cul-de-sac gangEvery Christmas season several of the households on our cul-de-sac get together for a progressive dinner. It’s a chance to get together one last time before the bitter cold of January chases us all indoors, to share good food, and to check out everyone’s holiday decor. I wanted my neighbors to really enjoy the ambience during the entree portion of the dinner at our house, so I got busy!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Front doorI didn’t do a lot with the front entry door this year, nor did we put lights up outside. Next year when I’ve fully recovered, we’ll go all out again! Still, guests were greeted with a cheery wreath with our monogram.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Entry & library

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Library tree collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Secretary collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Vitrine collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Decor 2013: Library desk, leather chair, side table collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Burlap wreath, wood slices, Swiss Army camping gearOur library, to the immediate right as you enter our home, took on a very rustic look this year. I started the look when teaching my “Art of Tablescaping” class in that room, so after taking the table down I just embellished the existing decor with even more natural elements like huge moss balls on the urns flanking the vitrine, wood slices, whittled pencils, burlap and twine. To see that “Woodland Christmas” tablescape and read more about the design elements, click HERE.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Orchid and pine greenery arrangement with uplightOn the chest at the top of the stairs is an arrangement I created in a mercury glass pilsner vase using faux greenery and orchids with an LED uplight to show it off. Really dramatic look when standing at the foot of the steps!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Entryway arrangement

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Hallway collageBack down the stairs and into the entryway is a decorated wreath over the mirror. Lots of LED candles grace the space beneath the wreath, proclaiming it all to be “Merry & Bright”. Notice the ivory “scrunchie” that covers the electric cord. Very clever way to hide it! (I invested in about a dozen of these in several colors at Hobby Lobby about 10 years ago.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Dining room

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Dining Room table collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Buffet in dining room

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Tea cartEvery room has a very different theme, and this one is full of bright, cheerful color! I used many of these same elements to create 3 very different tablescapes for my “Art of Tablescaping” class. You can check them out HERE, HERE and HERE. After clearing the tablescapes and adding a few more fun pieces, this room is declared the Fun Zone! I won the wreath at the base of the mirror at a White Elephant party a couple of weeks ago, and it fit right in!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Dining room tree and into hallwayThe brightly colored tree in the dining room has a Nativity scene beneath it. As we go back into the hallway, the table by the front door is decked out with a fun wreath and a huge LED candle. Let’s head to the living room…

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: View of living room from kitchen

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Progressive Dinner set upWe’ve moved furniture and made space in the living room for our Progressive Dinner tables. This year’s theme in this room is cardinals and reindeer. An additional theme of snowflakes was added for the dinner. The tables are covered with red full-length round tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com. I recently purchased some ballroom chairs for events at home such as this, and they work out perfectly with cool white Spandex chair covers with contrasting red Spandex sashes, also from LinenTablecloth.com. (I LOVE these because they’re super affordable AND I don’t have to iron them!!!) This is a buffet dinner, so huge white acrylic snowflakes work as “chargers” at each place setting. LinenTablecloth.com red 20″ napkins are neatly folded into reindeer napkin rings purchased on clearance at Target last year. The centerpiece is a simple faux greenery wreath with meandering red ribbon, pine cones and red berries with a trio of LED candles (for safety!) in the center.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Kitchen & buffet collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Christmas Coffee: Black table under breakfast bar collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Christmas Decor 2013: Kitchen wreath

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Christmas Coffee: Regina Reindeer & kitchen Christmas tree collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Progressive Dinner Decor: Candlestick arrangement in window at kitchen sinkI created this arrangement in the window behind the kitchen sink on a moment’s notice. I wanted something really dramatic for the window that could be seen from outside. I simply entwined a curvy wrought iron candlestick with faux greenery, red berry vine and red lights. I made sure to drape the vine across the countertop for a more dramatic look.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Progressive Dinner guests, I

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Progressive Dinner guests, IIGuests served themselves from a buffet in the kitchen. On the menu: a choice of Chicken Tortilla soup, Chicken & Wild Rice soup, or Chili along with nice, warm bread and iced tea. The fun red & white snowflake soup bowls and mugs are from Dollar Tree (yes…Dollar Tree!), and the snowy white ramekins – for those who preferred a “flight” of soups – are from Pier 1.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Fireplace

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Fireplace & mantel decorThe fireplace mantel is heavily decorated with faux greenery, holly, red berries, pine cones, glass ornaments and cardinals. Reindeer stocking holders (Pier 1 clearance) on each end hold ornate red & gold silk stockings. Small trees in black urns flank the fireplace hearth.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Mice on chair & small tree on hearth collageThese two lovey-dovey mice all dressed up in their Christmas finery are new. I saw them at T.J. Maxx and just fell in love with them. Their names? Ramon & Alycia, of course!!! 🙂

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Sofa, reindeer on side table collageWe have lots of black elements in the living room, so I played that up with black velvet pillows behind red silk ones with gossamer gold ribbon. The luxuriously soft throw is from T.J. Maxx. My bold gold reindeer make another appearance this year in different areas of the living room. (To see these reindeer used in other Christmas settings, click HERE and HERE.) On the table behind the sofa, a large red ornament rests above lots of lighted greenery and pine cones.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Living room tree in red & gold

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Tree ornaments

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Wrapped giftsThis year’s main tree is dressed in lots of red & gold ornaments including cardinals, musical notes, poinsettias and stockings. The tree is flanked by the two larger gold reindeer wearing sparkling wreaths around their necks. Gifts beneath the tree are all wrapped in colors that reflect the room’s color scheme.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: ArmoireThe television armoire across the room always gets a little treat, too. This year the decor mirrors that of the mantel with a huge red ornament (just like the one on the sofa table) rising up like a phoenix from behind.

All very different looks throughout the house. My mind was just going in a million different directions, and I just let the decorative chips fall where they may! 🙂

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas Progressive Dinner

Each Christmas season Ramon and I team up with our cul-de-sac buddies for a much-anticipated Progressive Dinner. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s when several households progress from one home to the next for several dinner courses. This year the Alsups did the fabulous cocktails and hors d’ouevres which included bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, homemade cheese straws, crab-stuffed mushroom caps, and a very sneaky cranberry/vodka/sparkling wine drink. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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IMG_3735WMIt was one of those drinks that will creep up and whack you over the head if you’re not careful! Delicious!!! Next, to the Jenisons for a tasty but healthy salad with heavenly home-baked wheat bread.

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Salad course at the Jenisons’. Ramon is taking the picture.

We then moved on to our home for the entrée before hopping across the street to the Rutherfords’ for a variety of sinful desserts, coffee and after-dinner drinks. I went to the doctor the day after for a routine check-up. I had gained 2 pounds from the previous week, and my blood pressure was up. Uh….duh!!!

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IMG_3568WMI wanted to do a really dramatic, special, over-the-top tablescape to thank my neighbors for their kindness, generosity and goodness of heart throughout the year. Two 6-ft. tables placed together horizontally are covered with full-length white linens in our family room.

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IMG_3589WMI love the double charger treatment, so a sparkly red 13″ charger (Target 2008) is topped with a goldtone 12″ (Hobby Lobby). The dishes are Pfaltzgraff’s  wonderfully traditional “Winterberry” which is one of my favorite Christmas designs.

IMG_3577WMI like to use our initialed linen dinner napkins whenever possible. For this night I dressed them up with a red berry napkin ring. I just used a standard berry stem from Hobby Lobby that I twisted to encircle the easy, classic napkin fold. LOTS of color and dimension, and it adds a little more height to the place setting!!!

IMG_3582WMI am SO happy to have finally jumped on the Dollar Tree train! This soft green stemware that I picked up there is coming in handy for so many table settings! (Click here to see it used in a very contemporary table setting.)

IMG_3579WMI bought these rockin’ gold metal reindeer wholesale many years ago when I owned my fine rentals business. They measure 36″H without the antlers, so they’re perfect for the “go big or go home” look I love so much. I covered the center of the table with a couple of clear plastic trash bags to keep the linens underneath clean. I dressed each for the evening with a collar of berries with a red velvet bow. (To see last year’s cul-de-sac progressive dinner – dressed up with different reindeer decor – click HERE and scroll down to “Noel Progressive Dinner“.

IMG_3575WMI painstakingly placed each branch of this flocked pine cone greenery to create a sort of wreath to cover the reindeer stands. Red berry picks and shiny red Christmas ornaments finish off the fun yet sophisticated reindeer centerpiece.

IMG_3704WMWe were dining in the family room, so I dressed the top of the television armoire to complement the table with this small reindeer and lots of lighted greenery punctuated with red berries, ribbon, and ornaments.

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The grapevine wreath in the window is covered with a profusion of red berries and finished off with a few flocked faux branches, pinecones, oversized Christmas balls and red velvet ribbon. I kept the mantel simple with two smaller grapevine & berry wreaths.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the menu…Cornish hens basted in a garlic butter sauce, wild rice and green beans. Our neighbors, Carla and Jim, were unable to attend this year’s dinner but sent over homemade cinnamon sugar-dusted Parker rolls.

So another year, another wonderful Progressive Dinner with fine friends who we love and cherish. God is good! From our homes to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Please join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch!

Noel Progressive Dinner 2010

For the third consecutive year, four households on our cul-de-sac participated in a holiday progressive dinner. It’s a time for us to all get together before the hustle and bustle of the season gets us too wrapped up to wish one another good cheer. Ramon and I look forward to it each year.

This year another couple from the neighborhood joined our group to make it all the merrier. We began the evening at 5:30 for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, then on for salad, followed by the entree, and last – but never least! – dessert! We ended the evening with a few rousing games on the neighbor’s Wii. Much needed exercise after all that delicious food!!!

This post is also about opportunities to reuse decor items and ideas. Elements from two recent posts are freshened and incorporated for a whole new look on one table. Given the number of dinner parties we host, it sometimes makes sense to not try and reinvent the wheel…but to simply give it a facelift! I hope you are able to take away some ideas for your own use!

We started with tasty hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at Lynn & Barbara’s. Barbara always creates wonderful and imaginative treats, and this time was no exception!

After popping delicious hors d’oeuvres for an hour or so, we all trudged next door to our house for salad (graciously and lovingly prepared by neighbor Mary Ellen!), assorted soups (gumbo, chicken noodle and vegetable beef made by yours truly), and melt-in-your-mouth, buttery good rolls brought by our round-the-corner friends Carla and Jim.

Some of you may recognize some of the decor used for this table. With back-to-back dinner parties hosting different guests, it seemed prudent to recycle some of the decor with a twist to make it special. This meal, served in the living room, is set up on two 6-ft. tables pushed together horizontally to create a square that can comfortably seat up to ten guests.

 

The “Noel” theme was carried from the fireplace mantel onto the table with the addition of this velvety red ribbon tucked around each charger. (I recently employed this same technique using plain red satin ribbon around silver chargers. See “Celebrating the Season“.) Clear glass plates allow guests to see the ribbon before salad is served.

My much-loved, stiffly starched linen napkins were neatly folded and tucked into each place setting’s wine glass.

Also used in a previous post (“Roman Holiday“) was this chunky candle on a gold scrolled riser. Last week it was presented with just the candle. For this occasion, however, I tucked in the same greenery and berries found in the floral arrangements and on the mantel. This is a great way to create an instant centerpiece without having to use a ton of flowers!!!

Instead of the creamy white & gold Christmas tree toppers used in the “Roman Holiday” post, I subbed in elegant red & gold with scrolls that mimic the design on the floral containers.

I found this fun wine bottle decor at Pottery Barn a couple of weeks ago. Isn’t that typical? The lady is all dressed up in her finest diamonds and fur while the guy just kinda shows up in a casual holiday hat & scarf! 🙂

After stuffing ourselves at our house, we all miraculously still had room for dessert. So on to Bob & Jane’s for a fancy sweet treat to end the evening! What a fun night!!!

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate the Season
Christmas in the Woods
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas”
“Christmas Through the Red Door”
“Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve”
Waking Up to Christmas – Bedroom Decor
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver
Checkered Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas
Let It Snow
Tuscan Holiday

I am delighted to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. After peeking in on my photos, please feel free to wander on over to Susan’s place to see what other tablescapers around the world are up to!

Between Naps On The Porch