Enchanted Entertaining For the Holidays
By Linda Calder

The guests have arrived, and as they cross the threshold they are greeted by the soft, sweet sound of holiday music and the beauty of the seasonal decoration.  The family evergreen, recently adorned with treasures from holidays past, fills the room with a calming scent that brings back wonderful memories.  As guests make their way down the hall to see the holiday table, they are awestruck my what they see.  

At each seat are small gifts wrapped in silver and gold which contain a gleaming keepsake ornament, napkins have been folded and adorned with ribbons and bells.   The wax dripping from the flickering flame of white candles creates lace patterns as it trickles down the side, and the fresh flowers of the centerpiece add another incredible scent to the room. Visitors feel like children again as they wonder what is inside the little packages.  Better yet, they feel the warmth of knowing that you took the time to welcome each and every one of them into your home.  Little do they know that you were able to achieve this look with just a few stolen moments, and while you were relaxing.

A fantasy scenario you say... Can I possibly find the time?  The only fantasy here is what your holiday presentation will look like.  If you were able to find the time to relax and read this article, you can find the time to add those extra magical touches that will make your holiday gathering memorable.  

Whether you decide to decorate in an early colonial style or an ultra-contemporary look, the following ideas will help inspire the decorating diva in you.  Remember, there are not rules - and no decorating elves looking over your shoulder - so create some time alone, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, play your favorite holiday music or movie, and start creating your own magic. 

As you put away your dinner dishes, notice the items tucked away on your shelves.  Do you have beautiful silver containers, hand-cut crystal that has been passed down in your family, or favorite ironstone pieces that you've been collecting on your weekend jaunts?

Cover a cone-shaped foam block with real or silk white roses and place them in a silver container or urn.  

Drape silver beads inside and over the edge of a glass or silver bowl.  then place silver Christmas ornaments on top and tuck greens throughout the arrangement.  

Thread a jingle bell onto a sheer piece of wired French ribbon and then tie it around the base of your stemware.

Choose and lay out a wreath, placing a clear glass or crystal bowl in the center.  fill with water half way to the top and then add cranberries.  Next float tiny candles atop of the water.  

Tie candy canes (still in their clear wrap) all the way around the glass with a beautiful ribbon so that they make a candy cane vase.  Add a beautiful name tag and place your creation at your guest's seats.  Depending on the size of your container, you might add a miniature evergreen or flower stem.  Voila!  You have just created a memorable take-home gift!

Add greens, ribbons and bows to your chandelier or wall sconces.

Wrap large empty boxes with playful giftwrap and ribbon in your color theme and use them to create multiple levels on your holiday buffet table.  

Tie a special holiday stocking tucked with a small gifts or greenery to the back of each chair of the dining room table.  

Place candles at different heights on a large ironstone platter and then encircle them with ivy, greens, and fresh fruit.

Find apples that stand up well and carve a hole large enough on the top to hold a short votive or tea candle (lemon juice on the exposed apple will help retard darkening).  Place on top of a dish or in a lovely glass bowl.  

Greenery was added by Mary McDonald, Designer (who I have had the pleasure of meeting) .  This photo is from Veranda Magazine