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If you’re going to serve a cheese plate, why not make it the center of attention? Line a table with chalkboard paper and label each delectable cheese accordingly. Add a few bowls of stuffed olives and some crusty bread and your appetizer hour is set.
Transform your dining table into a glorious cocktail spread. Keep your glasses on a festive tray so that people can easily help themselves and you can see when it's time to restock. The award for perfect hostess goes to...
Crate and Barrel ($60)
One long table can be tough for conversation, and guests may not get to catch up with everyone in attendance. To keep all in the loop, try moving to your living room for dessert or even serving cookies right off your kitchen counters (as long as they’re turkey-free!) and letting your guests nibble and mingle.
Think beyond the poinsettia. Wintry-looking plants like dusty miller and eucalyptus easily fill a vase and go a long way toward making your table feel homey and lush. Just be sure to cut stems short enough that you can still see across the table.
How to refresh the traditional red-and-green theme? Try a minimal approach. We love how this matching rustic dinnerware set plays with a solid napkin and charger. (And don't forget the mug for plenty of mulled wine.)
Crate & Barrel ($11 to $15)
OK, wait. What is the proper way to set a table anyway? Do I really need an escargot fork or a tiny glass devoted to sherry? Watch our quick video for tips on the just-fancy-enough way to place your plates. (Hint: B is for bread, D is for drink.)
Warning: Avoid scented candles. Not only will the aroma potentially overpower your prized oven-roasted beets, but some guests may be more sensitive to smells than you'd think. If you’re absolutely dying to add some spice, try sliding cinnamon sticks into your napkin rings for a less perfume-y hint of holiday fragrance.
Hey, speaking of napkins. Wanna see three awesome videos on how to fold them? We thought so. Carry on.
Varying the height of the items on your table adds interest to an otherwise average spread. (No one has ever Instagrammed a string of basic votives.) Try arranging candlesticks of alternating heights down the center of your table or using an assortment of cake stands (some tall, some short) to display your desserts.
All rules aside, sometimes it’s OK to forgo the tablecloth and ditch the fancy centerpiece. A touch of pine tied onto the back of each chair may be all the festive decor you need.
Uncle Jimmy is flying in from Atlanta and crashing on your couch (for a week). Cousin Sally is bringing her six kids (and five of them have colds). Your best friend has just invited herself to dinner, new boy toy in tow.
Yay, Thanksgiving is here.
Instead of crawling under a rock, make your life a little easier by devouring our ten-step guide to setting a holiday table. Right this way.
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