Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas tablescapes

Mickey Mouse holiday table. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

The Friday before Thanksgiving, before the busy-ness of the holidays takes over, the women of my church do a wonderful thing - it's called the Christmas Memories dinner. It's an opportunity for ladies to pull their beautiful holiday china out of the cabinets and create decorated tables and invite their friends for an early Christmas celebration, (and this is the best part) served by the men of the church. Opportunities like this don't come very often, in fact, just once a year. 

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m., when the women arrive and walk through the fellowship hall, taking pictures and oohing and aaahing over the decorations, and greeting friends. Our church has three services and although we may all be at worship on Sundays, it's only through events like the women's dinner that we get to see our church friends all in one room. The meal is served at 7 p.m., and it's served by the men of church - they put on their bow ties and cummerbunds and spirit of service. The dinner is usually simple, but tasty - chicken, green beans and potato casserole this year, plus cheesecake for dessert. After the desserts are served, the program begins - a few seasonal songs by some of the fabulously talented women in the church, and an inspiring message. The theme is usually one I need to hear - slow down, savor the season, learn to say "no" to busyness and yes to the activities that add meaning to the season.This year, a young woman named Sarah Prince inspired us with tales of her missionary life in South Africa.

Every other year or so I host a table - it's a fair amount of work, packing and unpacking the china and linens, but it's always a rewarding evening. I thought I'd share a few pictures from this year's event, plus my very favorite table from a couple of years ago. 

This was the table next to mine, decorated by Wendy Methven. She even decorated the chairs - 

Christmas table with fruit and green. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
I liked this table with the feather trees and keepsake "Faith" ornament.

Faith ornament on table. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
The following are from my table - I decided on a gingerbread and candy cane theme. Being unemployed meant that I couldn't run out to Tar-jay and grab eight of everything, so I gave myself shabby chic license. A festive red and green quilt sewn by my talented sister-in-law went over the tablecloth. I used simple white plates over gold chargers and my favorite red glasses. Pearl handled flatware, purchased a few years ago just for this event, came in handy again. A collection of Fiesta Ware and assorted holiday mugs rounded out the table settings.

Lucy's Christmas table setting. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
At each place, I set a candy cane striped takeout box filled with a gingerbread man ornament, a gingerbread man cookie cutter, and a decorative soap shaped like a peppermint candy.

Very fuzzy picture of my Christmas table. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
In the center of the table, I placed a live tabletop Christmas tree and covered it with gingerbread man cookie cutters, small rolling pins, gingerbread man ornaments, candy canes, measuring cups and spoons and spatulas. Once my guests were seated at the table, I removed the tree so that we could talk to each other and see the program.

Lucy's gingerbread tree. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Once I removed the tree centerpiece, I placed a tray of homemade gingerbread men on the table. They were delicious and fragrant, and I encouraged my guests to take several at the end of the evening.

Gingerbread men. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
And now, to my all-time favorite Christmas table. This is one from a few years ago, Stephanie Ford's Blue Christmas tribute to Elvis and Mississippi. That's plasticware, friends, and Moon Pies for take-away goodies.

Blue Christmas tribute to Elvis. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

For my FPC friends, if you have pictures from this year's, or past events, please share them on Facebook or at and I will add them to this post. 

Text and images copyright Lucy Mercer, 2011.


Lynn Coulter said...

what a beautiful night it must have been! first time i missed it in a couple of years, and i really did miss it, sigh. lovely tables, and i love Stephanie's moon pie idea.

HapaMama said...

Looks like a lovely time. And really, Lucy, budget or not, that table is beautiful! It's much more creative to put things together your own way, rather than going to Tar-jay and buying eight of everything.

Julie Quinn said...

Beautiful table, Lucy. Didn't know that one was yours. The Mickey table was my favorite of the night. So cute and can't believe her husband made the etchings on the glasses. I took a break from hosting this year.

It is always a wonderful evening and one I look forward to every year!