My goal this year for our holiday table was to stay as simple and affordable as possible. Let’s be honest, it’s not hard to spend a crazy amount of money on all of the stunning holiday decor out there! I could easily go broke at Crate & Barrel alone, simply because I want everything, and my holiday table would look AMAZING!!! However, I don’t have deep pockets and even if I did, that’s not as fun! I’m a thrifter at heart! I get so excited at the sight of a clearance sticker or scoring something amazing at my local thrift store! I’ve even been known to do some dumpster diving on occasion. Okay, let me clarify that I don’t physically go in the dumpster. People leave stuff next to the dumpster all of the time; things that still have life to them or creative potential. I pick them up and do what I can to make great use of them, and it costs me nothing!
Though I avoided any dumpster diving when it came to our holiday gathering we did manage to create this simple, yet stunning tablescape relatively inexpensive. Read on to find out how we pulled off this easy look! Happy holidays wonderful friends!!!
To avoid cramming all of the setup and cooking into one day, we usually decorate the table the day before. We keep the glasses turned upside down, until an hour before the arrival of guests, to avoid any collection of dust. We also do a quick once over on the entire setup to make sure everything looks clean and tidy before the guests arrive. Our handcrafted pine garlands managed to hold up beautifully when creating a day before our party, as well.
We found our table on craigslist for $100. It was dark brown and pretty scratched up, so we sanded it down to the natural wood. Since I currently don’t have enough seating for 6 or more people, we made the two benches out of 2 – 12′ x 11″ x 2″ boards that we painted white. The legs are held on with very large “L shaped” metal brackets. To make the benches a bit more comfortable I draped really soft fur blankets found at HomeGoods for literally nothing!
Side note, after taking these photos I realized it’s time for this rug to GO! It’s a bit dated and therefore I beg of you to pretend it’s not there! It’s on my list to get changed out at some point. I’ve been eyeing this oriental rug and this more rustic style rug for a while, but also dream of going lighter in this room. Ugh, I can’t decide. I love it all, haha!
Because I thrift a lot of my dishware, glasses, and silverware for food photography purposes, I do not have full sets. Unless I get lucky at a flea market or thrift shop, most of the items have been picked through by prior customers or didn’t get donated in a full set… or I simply needed a single item or two for that photoshoot purpose, so ignorantly didn’t purchase all that was there. I’m working on getting smarter with that!
That being said, my best option was to mix & match the items I did have on hand with consistent key items.
We mix & matched the various large white plates, along with the silverware. I had a 4-piece modern silverware set that I incorporated with some antique silverware I picked up at various flea markets.
The items that were consistent on each place setting are as follows, along with where we found them:
- Simple water glasses – Marshalls for $9.99/6 glasses
- Etched wine glasses – thrifted from Goodwill for $1.99/each
- Hearth & Hand black striped napkins – Target for $9.99/4 napkins
- Silver edged vintage china salad plates – inherited from Adam’s grandma
The salad plates mentioned above set the tone for the whole table. I initially planned on going with brass/gold accents; gold silverware, gold chargers, brass candlesticks. However, I recently unpacked Adam’s grandma’s beautiful china set which was in Charleston all of this time. I’ve never had the opportunity to use it, so it felt fitting to have it on the table, therefore setting the tone for the rest of the tablescape. Conveniently, I had more silver than gold in a lot of things, so I didn’t have to go out and purchase a ton of stuff.
At each place setting was a gift for our guests to take home with them and remember the evening by. The gift boxes and two different ribbon styles are from Michael’s Arts & Crafts. The boxes were $1.99 with 50% off and the ribbons were $4.99 with 70% off. The boxes were wrapped in kraft paper to cover the less than desirable Christmas prints.
I decided to keep the centerpiece simple, easy to make, yet still impactful. Our black and silver matte candlesticks are from Macy’s. They are about 10 years old and were picked up on clearance. I love how perfect they go with the Hearth & Hand black striped napkins! The extra tall taper candles are from IKEA for $9.99/ 8 candles.
I made the fresh greenery garlands in about 30 minutes each and I promise they are not as scary as they may look. They are also relatively cheap to make, especially if you have access to pine trees outside. I will confess that I have been known to go for long walks, late at night, to quietly trim pine branches from the neighborhood. But there are some things to note:
- I don’t always make the best decisions.
- I have a black belt in karate, yet I am still clearly taking my chances at walking around at night, even if I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood. (again, see item 1)
- I trim sparingly to respect the trees (yeah, I said it! Trees have feelings too)
- Trader Joe’s has plenty of awesome greenery & Eucalyptus options on the cheap, so if foraging isn’t possible, go there!
Once you make the fresh pine garland and place it on the table, simply tuck the candleholders in-between the pine branches.
The NOEL letters were something I picked up last year at Michael’s Arts & Crafts on 70% off. I painted them red to match our holiday tablescape, however, they were originally copper to match our Christmas decor and random fall colors when I picked them up at Michael’s. I think I like it in the red a lot more! Most craft stores carry large letters similar to this – mainly in wood or paper mache. You can spray paint them or paint them by hand with acrylic paint.
That is the extent of our Simple + Thrifted Holiday Gathering. I hope you enjoyed it and get inspired to go out and have a ton of fun thrifting and crafting your holiday table this year! Here are a few more photos for you to check out! Wishing you all a very merry holiday season!!! I cannot believe this year is about to come to a close!
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