Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Thrifty Christmas Tablescapes

If you follow me, you know how much I love playing with my dishes and setting the table. I've been spending the past few weeks drooling over all the beautiful Christmas china on so many tables. I've also read some of the comments from some who have said that they didn't have any Christmas dishes because it wasn't in the budget and one who really touched my heart who said she lost all her holiday dishes in a house fire. Well about 20-25 years ago I had two sets of dishes. One everyday and my good china -- neither set were Christmas coordinating colors. And I had some serious Christmas china envy. My house was very tiny and my budget was tight. If only I knew then what I know now....I could have had Christmas "china" all along -- for next to nothing! I'll show you a couple of VERY thrifty Christmas tablescapes. Welcome to the 1st table.

My simple centerpiece is a glass globe with a red candle in it. The greenery here is faux, but in reality, I could walk out my door and get most of this for real free in my own yard. Ivy, cedar, boxwood, pine, holly -- just whatever you can find.

Here's your place. I started with a plain green tablecloth - one I've had for about 25 years or so. It's a polyester blend and washes and wears great. Very inexpensive.

The paper napkins I found at Marshalls - a package of 16 for $2.99. The flatware came from Target a couple of years ago for $1 a piece.

And now for my "china".

This is one of my favorite Christmas patterns by Spode.

And when I remove the clear glass plate....

...you can see my "china" is really paper! I got a package of 8 plates for $3.99 at Kohl's. I got my plain glass plates at GoodWill, but I've seen them at Walmart too. Again, very inexpensive.

If I could only invest in one holiday linen -- it would be cloth napkins -- they're the most afordable -- I got these 4 from Tuesday Morning for $7.99. I've put them in everyday Libby water goblets -- $1 each. A gift tag tied to the candycane would make a cute placecard.

Add something from your Christmas collection into the greenery. I collect Santas -- but vintage Christmas balls or cute ornaments would work well ...whatever you have.

This one is part of a salt & pepper set from Hallmark a few years ago.

This one came from the dollar store years ago.

I put one figurine at each place.

Wouldn't cardinals be pretty?

I really like the tree pattern on the dishes with my dining room Christmas tree.

Now for a totally different look.

This one is a casual colonial look. The red checked tablecloth came from Walmart last year -- I think they may still carry this.

A place setting for you. I think this would be cute for a Christmas brunch or breakfast -- or maybe even for a kid's table.

I used the same paper napkins from Marshalls and my treble clef flatware. I got this from eBay this year. Just showing you that everyday flatware can still look fun and festive.

A closer look at the centerpiece -- part real, part faux. Again, a green wreath, pineapple in the globe, surrounded by lemons and pomegranates with a bit of holly thrown in. This works with lots of fruits....apples, oranges, limes -- whatever you have on hand. Then you can eat it!

These little pewter covered soup bowls came from eBay a couple of years ago. Does pewter remind you of the 70's? Most of mine is from that time period. I still like it.

I found these paper plates (under glass) at Marshalls this year - 8 for $2.99.

I love the little colonial people ....

...spelling out .....

...the Christmas greetings....

....all around the plates.

This Williamsburg stamping lets us know that the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has authenticated this pattern as being a true colonial period pattern.

I used the same Christmas napkins.

This time in some matching pewter mugs. Cider anyone?

Overview of the table.

closer view of the centerpiece.

I hope you've seen a few ideas that can inspire you to set a pretty holiday table without breaking the bank or blowing your budget.

Wishing you all a most delightful Christmas with tables surrounded with that which is truly precious....family and friends, no matter how you set your table!

Be sure to visit Susan of "Between Naps On The Porch" for Holiday table inspirations and more!

See ya!


  1. How clever. And what a great lesson on how little it takes to make a special setting for friends and family.

  2. I love them both and was so jealous that you had Spode china. You set such a beautiful table my friend.-

  3. Hi Martha...

    My friend, I love this post! I totally agree, with a little creativity...anyone can make a beautiful Christmas table and for mere pennies! I loved both of your examples...both tables are sooo pretty! Ohh my goodness, I had no idea that Spode had paper plates...that's awesome! I loved your table linens on both tables but must admit that the red and white checked cloth is just so Christmas cheery! And, I love your dinner napkins with the pretty red ball fringe! I really enjoyed your suggestions and "how to's" for doing the centerpiece as well! This was great, Martha...thank you!!!

    Well my friend, I wanted to come by to say thank you for dropping by and taking a peek at my Christmas dining room. I enjoyed your visit and sweet note! Thank you!

    Warmest wishes to you and your family for a very Merry Christmas!

    Chari @Happy To Design

  4. Martha, both tables are just wonderful! I love your pretty (and achievable!) centerpieces, and I am going to copy that pineapple version immediately! I love that Williamsburg look! This is a very inspirational post! Merry Christmas!

  5. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Both table scapes are fantastic. I really adore the napkins with the little pom poms, very cute!

  6. How very thrifty of you. I like the pineapple in the centerpiece and the Christmas tree plates and napkins. Thanks for visiting me today! Happy Holidays.

  7. Christmas Blessings to you and your family, From my mountain to yours Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  8. Brilliant and very doable ideas for the table scapes! Wishes for a Merry Christmas.

  9. Hi Martha, Your idea to use glass plates over the paper is one I would like to borrow! I have never seen those Williamsburg hodgepodge plates in paper. He is a favorite around here, so I'm going to be on the lookout for some! Have a wonderful merry Christmas. Linda

  10. You are so right! You don't have to spend alot of money to create a beautiful table for those you love. Both tables are fabulous and I know I will be using your ideas in posts to come. Have a Merry Christmas!!!

  11. Wow, two tablescapes for the price of one! They are both very festive! I love the way you used paper plates under the clear plates!

    Have a great Christmas!


  12. Oh, Martha...you are sooo smart. I LOVE the clear plate over paper. I am so excited about this and wonder WHY I didn't think of it. O, the possibilities (that can't be spelled right) are endless. St. Patrick's Day, Valentines Day, 4th of July...all these holidays have great paper plates...now, I'm on the search for clear plates.
    Thanks for the inspiration here...O, and I am hoping a pineapple will fit into one of my hurricanes..I am stealing your centerpiece, for sure.
    Merriest Christmas, sweet friend.

  13. Hey, Martha!!! I am SO touched by what you said about the person who lost all of her belongings in a house fire. That must have been absolutely devastating for her. I see, though, that you have come up with the perfect solution for a budget-savvy/beautiful table! It took me a minute to figure out that those were paper plates. I READ it, but it still wasn't registering! What a terrific look! Hey...I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond last night and saw that fabulous treble clef flatware. It's on clearance now. I didn't get it last night (my husband was in tow, and I didn't want to "go there" with him!), but I'll be heading back over there tomorrow to pick up a set...if there's any left! It is SO cool looking!!! Have a great Christmas, Martha, and take care!

  14. Martha, your post is delightful. When we lost our home to a fire, one of the few things that was not lost was my Spode Christmas china. I can so relate to having to start over. I replaced my good china on ebay after we searched and searched and couldn't find any we liked any better than the one that was at that time already in retirement. You've given us a great lesson today. It's not what's on the table but what comes from the heart. Your heart is filled with much goodness. thank you so much for sharing. Loved the tables you put together. Merry Christmas to you and yours and many blessings in the coming year.

  15. What beautiful tablescapes! That reminds me to get out my cloth napkins for Christmas.

  16. Fabulous ideas. I love the clear plate on top of the paper plates. What clever touches you added to the napkins in the goblets. Very beautiful. I love the Buon Natale plates too, oh too many plates so little storage space!

    I read about your gingerbread house and the ebay price. I was the same. My gold goblets that I purchased 16 years ago and used in this weeks table, I saw on ebay for $90 to $125 each. Little did they know you can still buy them at Horchow for $85! As if. Glad I got them ages ago. Have a wonderful and joyous Christmas.

  17. That's it.
    I'm going out after Christmas and getting a set of clear glass dinner plates to use for various holidays. The possiblilities are endless!

    And I agree very much about the linens napkins. It IS the easiest way to dress things up. I love yours with the pom pons in the glass. It's my very favorite part of the table.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

  18. Paper under glass!I'm going to have to remember that next time I see some wonderful paper plates~ Love your Buon Natale plates! That is one of my favorite Nat King Cole songs I enjoy this time of year... "Buon Natale, may all your wishes come true" :-)

  19. Hi Martha! What a beautiful tablescape! Love those plates! Yes, we are getting our first white Christmas in 100 years! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your family filled with peace, love and joy!...hugs...Debbie

  20. What fabulous thrifty holiday table setting ideas...I love your festive settings!
    Merry Christmas!

  21. What a beautiful tables you have made. I loved all your pieces especially the pewter crocks. Have a Merry Christmas.

  22. Beautiful table! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a Merry Christmas!

  23. Martha, both tables are beautiful...I especially like the the one with the checked tablecloth, pewter and fruit. How clever!
    Merry Christmas...

  24. I agree that a Christmas table doesn't need to be expensive. It's about giving hospitality to others. Yours are lovely and show that it's that spirit which counts. I like the candle and greenery centerpiece best! Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Jane

  25. Ya'll never cease to amaze me but that paper plate trick takes the cake girl.

    I just wanted to wish you and yours a very blessed and Merry Christmas filled with love, laughter and fudge baby, rich delicious fudge!!!

  26. Martha...isn't it amazing how gorgeous paper plates can be!
    Perfect under glass.
    Thank You for your sweet thoughts....
    sending the best Christmas wishes to you and yours this Season...You are loved,
    Kathy @
    sweet Up-North Mornings...

  27. How festive and fun!! Love your checkered tablecloth and the pineapple centerpeice it is grand:))

    Spode Christmas tree patterned plates remind me of my Nikko patteren..so you know I love it too!

    Happy Tablescape Thursday~~&
    Merry Christmas to you!

    Kay Ellen

  28. I love this idea for paper plates. Those clear glass dishes are so reasonably priced, too! One year I tried using markers on the back of the glass plates which would have worked except it rubbed off all over the tablecloth...your idea is much better.

    Thanks for sharing your talents.

    Christmas doesn't have to be expensive. It just has to be filled with joy!

    Hope yours is!

    Merry Christmas, lovely lady.

  29. You did a great job on both of them. I really like the clear plate over the paper ones.
    Thanks for stopping by. A Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  30. Great inspiration. I used a similar idea this year in my tablescape. I placed a red plastic plate from Wal Mart between the white bottom plate and the smaller bread plate in my settings, then laid a red napkin in silver ring across the plate. It looks great and no one's the wiser!

    Merry Christmas!

  31. Everything is so pretty!!!!!!!
    Thank you for your visit and merry Christmas!

  32. Beautiful table, Martha. Thanks for the tip. It just shows a beautiful table does not have to be expensive. Happy New Year!...Christine

  33. Beautiful table tops! I love the paper plates under glass. :)

  34. Holy crow, you do know how to set a table! I like how the pom poms on the napkins look like berries.

  35. Just coming back by to say I hope your Christmas was wonderful.
    hugs, bj

  36. Today was my first visit to your blog and what an inspired visit it was! Your glass plate over a decorative paper plate idea is genius. Endless table scape options. I can't wait to set my table for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter...

  37. What a great idea to use clear plates over top of holiday patterned paper plates. You could do this all year long! Thanks for the fun idea!

  38. Two great Christmas tablescapes...and a wonderfully encouraging tutorial on budget friendly tables with a festive punch. Thank you for sharing your great ideas. Cherry Kay

  39. Hello, I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that you have a great site! Keep up the good work.