Setting the table to reflect the season....
Winter brings us Christmas, New Year's, and frosty cold nights. A beautifully set table
will add to cherished memories, and warm the chilled air.
Here are some tips and tricks for setting a beautiful table during the season of holidays and snow.

Tip #1
Avoid using equal amounts of red and green. Pick one as a primary, and the other as an accent.

Tip #2
There is power in neutrals. Neutral linens can show off your holiday plates.
Unexpected shades of ecru, beige, taupe, straw, butter, brown, etc. can look amazingly good.

Tip #3
Silver and gold are your friends. Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's ... all winter holidays,
and the wonderful thing about winter is the dark. So add a little glitz -- silver or gold -- to make your table come alive.

Tip #4
Add greenery. When you look outside in the winter, you see pines, ivies, and hollies.
Add these to your table for a natural accent.

Tip #5
Add candlelight. A meal eaten by candlelight is always special and memorable.

Fun Christmas dinnerware should be used frequently throughout the holiday season! The "Old St. Nick" pattern from Vietri will make everyone smile. Let's look at how the table is set. We used a neutral placemat to show off the plate, and a dark green napkin to match the border. For the center of the table, add greenery -- with no red -- so it doesn't fight with Santa's hat. The red hat becomes an eye-catching focal point.

Beautiful and fun "Deer Friends" dinnerware from Casafina can be easily mixed and matched with neutral color dinnerware. Again, lots of color possibilities, but look at that reindeer's red nose and the three red berries. Show them off by using a neutral placemat. Then add a darker, neutral napkin -- the color of the reindeer. Add greenery to the center of the table.

The lovely "Natale" dinnerware is hand made in Italy by Arte Italica. Again, we used a neutral placemat to show off the dinner plate, and added a dark green napkin since the trees are the focus of the plate. Definitely add red to your centerpiece greenery. The red on this plate is accent-only red, not focal-point red, so more red on the table will draw it out.

The very elegant "Winter Game Birds" dinnerware sets a spectacular table. White table linens show off the plate. The matte gold charger provided a "buffer layer" between the red plate and white linens to soften the contrast, and it plays up the gold in the pattern. Greenery with reds will complete this sumptuous table.

The "Grenadiers" dinnerware pattern by Bernardaud is a recognized holiday classic, and it is often shown on tables in magazines and Christmas books. This dinnerware is beautiful on red linens and on green linens. But here we used white linens, for a classic, elegant Christmas look. Add greenery and berries.

The "Country Estate Winter Ruby" dinnerware from Juliska is serene and lovely. Elegant red French linens from Garnier-Thiebaut are the perfect addition. We also added a matte silver charger, to frame the plate and add to the frosty, wintry look. Frosted greenery is the perfect addition for a centerpiece -- no more red needed. (Frosting greenery is easy -- your local craft store sells spray snow or frost, and just quickly and randomly spray over your greenery.)

Here we took fun red dinnerware and dressed it up! The "Red Sprinkle" pattern from Maxwell & Williams can be used throughout the year, and paired with a variety of colors for a variety of occasions. But look what happens when we add crisp white linens, a matte silver charger to frame the plates, and some frosted greenery -- we have a lovely Christmas table.

We love the charming handmade dinnerware from Emerson Creek Pottery, located right here in Virginia. The "Cranberry" pattern is delightful any time of year, but we placed it on our elegant red French linens and created a beautiful holiday look. Just add frosted greenery to keep it soft.

More wonderful dinnerware from Emerson Creek Pottery. The "Pinecone" pattern is particularly appropriate during the winter months. Do you notice what is NOT in this setting? Red. Leave it out. Use woodsy brown and green to set this naturally refreshing holiday table.

This dinnerware from the "Aerin for Lenox" collection by Aerin Lauder embodies classic refinement. The collection has several patterns which are designed to be mixed and matched. Here, we selected green patterns, "Emerald Lake" (dinner), "Emerald Garden" (salad), and "Thicket" (tray). Simply add white linens and red berries, and your table is beautiful.

The beautiful reindeer pattern "Renna" by Arte Italica is perfect example of Christmas dinnerware that does not fit the red and green mold. This plate uses a green and a reddish-brown. What to do? Play up the the green. Make your linens neutral so they make the plate the focal point. We also added amber glassware for some warmth.

An elegant winter theme makes a beautiful holiday table. Here we used a Lenox "Belle Haven" dinner plate with a "Federal Platinum Snow" accent plate. The bright silver charger amplifies the frosty feeling, and frosted greenery finishes it off perfectly.

You CAN set a holiday table with any dinnerware. Here we started with blue dinnerware, and then added white linens and gold chargers. That sets an elegant table anytime. What really takes this into the holiday zone is the addition of the frosted greenery. Put your fingers over the frosted greenery in the picture to see the dramatic difference it makes. Light the candles, holiday dinner is served.

We just had to show you one more example of not-so-holidayish dinnerware being used for the holidays. This is the wonderful pottery from Mateus. Here we have a gray dinner plate and a scrolled purple salad plate. What to do....hmmm. We actually started by selecting a silver charger, thinking it would better match gray and purple. Wrong! It faded away. We then used a gold charger, which magically frames and highlights the dinnerware. We added a purple napkin to really play up that purple color, and a gold napkin ring for a little more sparkle. The final touch -- greenery -- makes all the difference. Again, hold your fingers up to block the greenery, and see the "holiday" effect it has.

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