Picture this: you are reunited with your family and friends, the sun is shining, the drinks are flowing, the jokes are top notch, and the Christmas carols are playing softly in the background.
You smile, delighted to be in person with your loved ones once again; eat, drink, laugh. Your plate is full.
Today more than ever, we can value these simple joys of being able to come together to break bread and create happy memories. That’s what the holiday season is all about, and no matter where the alert levels take us (and how big or intimate these gatherings can be), marking the occasion is essential.
Look around, and what is the mood at this celebration? Are you lively and daring, or vintage inspired? A minimalist or slightly offbeat?
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Much like what you choose to serve your guests, or the music you play, your table can help set the tone. These creative ideas are far from formal. Instead, they reflect the preferred mode of celebration of most New Zealanders: low-key, pleasant, amusing.
It’s about embracing imperfection and letting your personality shine through the style of your setup.
There’s a reason bold, saturated color blocks have had an impact on fashion this year, from this year’s Pantone hue of illuminating yellow to the verdant shakes of green that remind us of the great outdoors.
Translating this into a festive spread takes a lot of skill, so stick to three or four similar shades on a cool linen background in a neutral space – all the better for giving your colorful table accessories plenty of time. show.
Reusable towels, toiletries and second-hand gems are the perfect place to start. Primary colors set the tone for a cheerful experience – try an assortment of candles in poppy tones and a rainbow effect of colored glass, especially good if your dining room is bathed in natural light.
Flowers are of course a great mood booster, and this is an opportunity not to be too “tasteful” when it comes to arrangements. Random, brightly colored flowers from your local dairy should do the trick, especially well in varying lengths – here we have sunny poppies to brighten up the occasion.
Like a wild English garden, leave your guests enchanted by a picturesque, nature-inspired setting – much like an outdoor picnic in the haven of your home.
We’ve seen how fashion embraced the nostalgic micro-trend of “cottagecore” last year, and the concept works just as well from our wardrobes to the dining table.
There are tons of soft gingham prints you can take inspiration from as a base for your table, and from there the fantasy continues with vintage tableware adorned with floral or fruit designs, and handmade Christmas cookies. hand wrapped in brown wrapping paper, tied with vintage ribbons and something useful inside (they might not have the traditional cracker ‘pop’, but the homemade cuts down on plastic and waste).
Make green your base for this decorative case, and match your glassware with your dinnerware. An idyllic setting that calls for an impressive menu: we suggest you consider a main course of a classic Pav ‘or an equally impressive Victoria sponge cake with a whisk of strawberries and cream.
Why not love the eternal elegance that mother nature continues to inspire?
For those with minimalist trends and perhaps a more rustic menu, keep it simple with neutral tones, wood textures, and handmade decorations.
Subtle festive details – like a wooden candle holder or origami paper stars – provide a durable or reusable alternative to traditional disposable festive decorations of yesteryear, while classic stick candles instantly bring a sense of occasion to a table.
Dried flowers also create a lot of texture on the table – this is a spread that requires little fuss, giving your food more time to stand out and be shared.
Local artisans offering special personalized pieces such as a handcrafted candle or an impressive salad bowl and waiters are the type of thoughtful acts of support that a meal made with love deserves.
And because these are simple pleasures, don’t forget to make the most of what you already have in your home.
Let’s go retro
We’ve all had a lot of time lately to sit down and think about the ‘good old days’. Nostalgic references have infiltrated the cultural zeitgeist and here, literally on our tables.
The rich golden hues and textures of the ’60s and’ 70s will never go out in style, so consider a retro setting that will give a warm vibe to your party night.
This is another example of reusing and celebrating those vintage finds that we have lovingly collected over the years.
For Kiwi ceramicist Rachel Carley, the retro vibe extends to her collection of sunray plates and petal dishes – timeless, charming, and the perfect conversation starter.
Patterns can sometimes be an intimidating detail when it comes to household items and interiors, but the key to making them feel effortless (rather than garish) is to bring together similar tones and details, like these tablecloths and napkins in groovy floral patterns.
Photography and styling: Kate Battersby