Style at Home: Dish it up for the holidays

Mary Carol Garrity

I think one of the greatest gifts you can give others is to invite them into your home, to share a meal and time together, gathered around the table, swapping stories, having a laugh, making memories. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m so gaga about dishes. They aren’t just a vessel to hold magnificent food. They help set the scene for memory making, one wonderful evening at a time.

There is no better time than the holiday season, with its many feasting occasions, to have fun and get creative in setting your table for guests. Here is a quick look at some of my favorite table settings from my book “O Christmas Tree”…

Blue floral

When you have dishes this lovely, everything else on the table needs to play second fiddle. This pattern, called Fruit Basket, is ironware made in England. This classic arrangement allows the lovely table below to shine. Our centerpiece, a lantern filled with pillar candles surrounded by fresh cranberries, provides a nice contrast to the blue in the dishes.

Silver and gold

Sparkling silver and gold are the colors of the holidays, so why not mix them together on your holiday table? This ornate silver tray sets the stage for a divine set of china, creamy white with gold leaf edges. Here’s a fun idea when entertaining family or good friends: Create a keepsake by framing a small photo of each guest, then resting it at their place as a place card. We put our photos in little gold frames, and tied them up with a ribbon and a sprig of evergreen.

Ranching roots

This table, in my friend Nancy’s home, knocks it out of the park. This lovely pattern — Trade Winds by Spode — is set off by the faux leather chargers resting atop shiny silver trays. The table is a tribute to this homeowner’s ranching roots, so accents like faux antler silverware are absolutely perfect.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at