BY Teresa Kramer

Dining is a delight for the senses. Wonderful aromas tease us to the table where tastes come alive in our mouths. The sound of a crisp crunch adds a punch to any beautiful bite. Velvety smooth textures slide from the lips to the tongue. But what about a feast for the eyes?

No holiday meal can reach its full potential without a stunning setting to enhance the festive experience. Whether your holiday dream table is beach-inspired traditional or even girlishly pink a super setting creates the mood and inspires guests to pull up a chair.

To give your Christmas dinner that extra something special we asked several local vendors for a few memorable holdiday tablescapes. The results? Merry Christmas … and what time’s dinner?


The holidays are a special time at Wrightsville Beach. The average temperature in December is 60 degrees perfect for outdoor dining and making use of those Christmas sweaters. At the home of Robert and Wylene McDonald Salt Harbor Designs Jennifer Rose-Sandy creates this beach-inspired table for a Christmas picnic. Using linens tables chairs flatware and plates from Party Suppliers & Rentals Jennifer incorporates natures most beautiful ornaments to fill the table.For your table Dont be afraid to take the party outside. Offer guests lap blankets and cider to keep them warm if theres a chill in the air. Eat while the sun is shining. The December sun can still be quite warm in the afternoon so plan a mid-day affair.


Before your guests arrive take a walk around your yard and fill table vases with fresh clippings. Cedar stems are abundant in our area and look like small Christmas trees. You can also incorporate fresh herbs like rosemary and basil which are not only beautiful but aromatic as well.


Providing a menu for guests is an elegant touch even for small gatherings. A simple way to create a menu is to layer sheets of different colored papers and place a printed menu on the smallest sheet on the top. Glue the sheets together or punch two holes at the top and tie a ribbon through them.

Get this look

Salt Harbor Designs
(910) 524-0081

Party Suppliers & Rentals
(910) 791-0024


Dim lights candles and the soft sounds of Christmas carols set the mood for a family celebration created by the ladies at The Fishermans Wife. For your table Incorporate height to your table by stacking layers of chargers and plates and bowls. Finish each stack with a Christmas ornament for your guests to take with them as a keepsake. Hanging greenery ribbons or Christmas ornaments from lighting fixtures adds color and drama to the room.

To cloth or not to cloth that is the question. If you have a beautiful table show it off. If you want to soften the look of the room a tablecloth is a perfect option or for a unique look drape a colorful shawl.

Take a second to sit at the table and make sure nothing will obstruct the conversation. A good rule of thumb is to place your elbow on the table with your wrist in the air. Keep arrangements and other table decorations under that height.

For an easy centerpiece fill glasses vases and bowls with Christmas ornaments. They are simple elegant and add an extra shine to the table.

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The Fishermans Wife
(910) 256-5505

shopping details

Annieglass gold ruffled chargers $84. Versace “Flower Fantasy” bread and butter plate $75. Versace “Flower Fantasy” salad/dessert $80. Union Street Glass ruby red wine glass $90. Juliska large goblet $60. Simon Pearce large Hartland bowl $295. Garnier-Thiebaut napkins $20. Deborah Rhodes napkin rings $16. Waterford Crystal Christmas Ornaments crystal bells representing the Twelve Days of Christmas $70. The silverware is from a private collection.

Perfectly Girlie

Nowhere is it written that Christmas has to be all reds and greens. Classic Designs of Wilmington threw tradition to the wind and created this afternoon-dessert scene fit for a fairy tale. Gather the gals for a quick break from the stress of the season and enjoy a table setting that is oh-so-pretty and pink!For your table Dont forget the place cards. There is no better way to make your guests feel welcome than to have their name written on a delicate card (see “A Place For You” for great place card ideas).

Mix it up!

Old and new can come together in delightful ways. Make use of your grandmothers fine china by pairing it with modern table linens or reflective place mats and glorious crystal stemware.

Unless you get stuck at the kids table paper napkins will not do! Use festive napkin rings or visit to learn creative folds your guests wont believe their eyes. Timing is everything As the host or hostess you want to have fun too! Set the table a day ahead of time. It will be one less thing to worry about and youll get to admire it for a little while longer.

Get this look

Classic Designs of Wilmington
(910) 798-5071

shopping details

Mahogany tilt top dining table (circa 1850) $4 000. Six French Louis XVI style dining chairs (circa 1860) $4 000/set. Five-light crystal chandelier (circa 1940) $1 450. Staffordshire green floral dinnerware and serving pieces (circa 1860) price by request. Pink glass and brass oil lamps (English circa 1890) $880/pair. Five-arm silver candelabra (English circa 1880 part of pair) $3 200. Silver French horn napkin rings (set of 4) $125.

Go here to find some great ideas and templates for placecards you can make for your own table!