But not this year! This year I embraced plaid, using a table runner and matching napkins that I purchased last year.
They're a bold plaid, really more of a tartan. They need to be bold, to play off the graphic china that I've used for Christmas Eve for a number of years.
Since the china is rimmed in gold, I placed a gold charger under the plates. I like that the charger's traditional scalloped edge and rough texture are counterpoints to the contemporary graphic plates and plaid linens.
I've used silver flatware and napkin rings, the modern way to mix metals — the warmth of gold and the coolness of silver.
The sparkle of crystal is always welcome at celebrations. Cranberry colored wine glasses that I recently found at an antique mall join clear crystal water goblets rimmed in gold.
For the center of the table I filled two cachepots with Cryptomeria japonica and Leyland cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) cuttings from my yard and topped them with faux amaryllis flowers in vibrant red. I think amaryllis are breathtaking, but I can't count on them blooming in time for Christmas. One year they finally exploded in color in mid-February!
I didn't want the obvious choice of poinsettias for the centerpiece, but I did want to incorporate traditional evergreens. More Leyland Cypress is layered with pinecones and pretty red glass tea lights.
On the buffet are two of the reindeer that had a starring role in last year's Christmas Eve Dinner.
We like the tradition of having an elegant dinner before the excitement of opening presents. The menu varies each year, depending on the number of guests we will have — and whether Greg wants to try something new!
It's always delicious!
May you have a very Merry Christmas!
Plates | Mikasa 'Christmas Eve'
Flatware | Reed and Barton '18th Century'
Cranberry stems | Steuben 'Rose Swirl'
Clear stems | Marquis by Waterford 'Hanover Gold'