holiday table ideasI’ve never hosted Christmas until last year and I am not long on Christmas Décor.

I don’t have glittery reindeer (or I didn’t yesterday when my friend just gave me one) or elves and I don’t have red napkins or gold plates. Nor do I own a Christmas tree. The truth is – I love all that stuff.

Christmas has been a bit confusing for me as I’m Jewish. You know, it’s like there’s a party going on everywhere –and you’re not really part of the festivities. But, when I get invited to friends Christmas parties, I’m thrilled, as I love when everyone gets into the holiday spirit and my most favorite are the group sing-alongs. Confession — I know almost every Christmas carol by heart. I’m a Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby devotee.

My parents were adamant about us not having any Christmas decorations, as it wasn’t our religious holiday. We went on ski vacations where the holiday vibe at the Inn in Sugarloaf, Maine was awesome. Despite “not celebrating” we were treated to presents Christmas morning, because, as much as my mom hated skiing, she loved shopping. So… there really in fact, wasn’t a Christmas void.

But, when it came time to feather my own nest — my husband and I agreed we needed to keep a Jewish home as much as we loved Christmas. Until a few years ago, we had a ski place in Vermont and it didn’t take much to bring in the holiday spirit… a roaring fire, lots of snow, fresh ski tracks outside the front door and always plenty of singing.

I’m remarried now, my husband actually converted to Judaism but, he had a full past life of Christmas – his kids celebrate Christmas and all our boy’s dates celebrate as well.

Plus – since the kids are grown and only come home together once a year, I’m feeling it’s more important than ever to make the house look as festive as possible.

We’re no longer in Vermont; we’re in a village outside of NYC. There’s no snow on the ground – and it’s forecasted to be a dreary rainy day this Christmas. It’s looking a little bleak outside and inside the house is begging for some sparkle.

The challenge is to dress up the house for the holiday without dealing with anything particularly religious. I’ve decided to embrace the challenge.

At the time of this writing I’ve got 2 days to bring on the home Holiday Décor before the kids and extended family show. I feel like I’m throwing together a Martha Stewart Pop Up Store.

Here’s the Plan:  I’m  going on a two-stop shopping sprint. I’m heading to Trader Joe’s for plants and Crate and Barrel for the rest

  1. The Happy Hipster Table:  A white spotted red batik tablecloth. Crate and Barrel’s got one and I’m going for the hippy meets holiday look.
  1. Mismatched china:  My mother in law’s china – it’s got a gold rim – looks festive and I’m mixing it up with some stray pieces — Mismatched china is all in vogue and looks really playful. (Just saw it everywhere at ABC Kitchen in NYC)
  1. Candles: lots of them tapers of gold and silver.
  1. A sparkly reindeer my friend gave me for my birthday. It’s going smack into the middle — I’ve got my centerpiece!
  1. A homemade garland of holly and pine running along the center of the table if there’s room.
  2. Turn down the electric and bring on the candles: Tall pillars, votives and more votives – lanterns and hurricane lamps
  3. Seasonal scents– plenty of eucalyptus and pine draped on the fireplace mantle.
  4. White sparkly lights bordering the windows ( I actually put these lights up 3 years ago and keep them up all year long)
  5.  Pandora Plus Piano Means Fun: Bing, Frank and Michael Buble on endless rewind. And, when we’re ready to gather – the Christmas song book is set out at the piano. There’s a few of us who can lead a sing-a-long.

I’m already in the holiday spirit just thinking about my manic decorating challenge. Plus, tomorrow – because I’m so last minute — there should be some great sales by now—right?

Christmas time carries with it beautiful universal messages …Giving, gratitude and a little glam. Combine that with love, family, friends and community. All of these elements are the perfect recipe for joy and are easy to embrace.

Here’s to lighting up our homes and bringing in the sparkle.


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