Dressing your holiday table and home with natural edibles

The one thing that most people seem to struggle with over the holidays is getting that holiday table just right. Whether you're hosting  one special holiday meal or plan on opening your home and dining room to many throughout the season, you'll want to create a setting that is warm, welcoming, festive and creative. You don't need a closet filled with tchotchkes, an arsenal of your great-great-great grandmother's silver or the finest china around to create a fabulous table.

Those of you who have been reading and following along for a while now know that I gravitate to the simple and not so fussy. I'm sure it's in part because I can't be bothered to go over the top but that's simply not my style. I love to mix and match - to take a few heirloom pieces and pair them with newer items. I also love to incorporate simple items, especially those found in nature - or the farmer's market or the grocery store. A recent visit to my local grocery store inspired an organic table setting. My eye caught sight of the wonderful ruby-red Pomegranates that are now in season. Not only are they wonderful to eat on their own, incorporate into drinks, toss into main dishes, salads and desserts but they're magnificent in their own right.... as are persimmons, figs, red pears, oranges and clementines. It struck me then - how beautifully these items enhance our holiday tables and decor, and how functional they are as well. Below I have some examples of how a few items that can be purchased at your green grocer can completely transform your holiday table. 

Paper whites, candles and assorted greenery fills the center of the table while individual plates are adorned with clementines and sprigs of greenery. As with every example I will show, all fruit can be substituted for something else. This setting would look as lovely with persimmons, red pears or pomegranates. 

A simple tray of figs with a few assorted greens adds lovely color to a simple table. You'll be amazed that something as simple as a bowl or dish of fruit in one color can add depth and transform a table. Zush it up, if you wish, with some silver candle sticks and small silver dishes filled with assorted nuts and such. If your table is longer place several groups of figs at the center of the table. 

A bowl of seasonal fruit can be reused (before eaten) once it is no longer needed for the table setting. Here a bowl of persimmon looks positively prize-winning in this large trophy-like pedestal bowl. Simple beauty. 

Pomegranates have quickly become my absolute favorite type of fruit for a myriad of reasons. They're delicious and spectacularly beautiful. At $2.50 a piece, if you're on a tighter budget red pairs will look just as stunning. Notice in the image above the varying vessel shapes and height. This creates a texture and a flow within the otherwise very simple arrangement. 

Bowls of assorted mixed jewel-colored fruit interspersed with candles in votives as well as tall candle sticks creates a beautiful vignette. Simple flowers at the center complement the bowls of fruit and candles and single flowers appear at every place setting for a personal, individual touch. Many people like to create personalized settings and this incorporates the centerpiece and the individual settings. 

Sugared fruit is particularly festive and adds an air of glimmer to the table. Place along with greens, bittersweet or other wild berries and clove studded oranges for a truly outstanding table. Sugaring fruit is a fun activity and a great way to engage the kids, young and old alike!

Brown craft paper replaces a linen runner and offers a neutral backdrop to the assorted candles, nuts and fruit. (I doesn't have to be washed afterwards!) I have always loved the fruit/nut combination in decor. For a little Zhush... paint the walnuts a shade of gold.

There's no rule that said don't mix fruit and vegetables. I think the artichokes (above) are deeply elegant and become even more so when paired with assorted fruit. I think artichokes are incredibly sophisticated. The purple ones are harder to come by but are simply marvelous this time of year. 

Make the meal a part of the decor. This works well for those less formal gatherings - desserts, tea sandwiches, appetizers and finger foods. Above small items ranging from assorted finger sandwiches, fruit and sweet treats act as the meal and the centerpiece. This works beautifully as all the items are placed in dishes of varying height. 

A long anti pasta board set at the middle of the table offers color and texture and in itself is quite festive. This can be used any time of year using whatever items are in season. Here we see assorted cured meats, fruit, nuts, and cheeses. What a fun way to serve food!

Let your dessert be the star of the show. The beautiful pears dipped in chocolate and nuts could easily be substituted as festive a center piece while offering a teaser of what's yet to come! 

Images courtesy of: 1 Sorella Muse, 2 Domino, 3 Chai and Home, 4 Rough Luxe Perspective, 5 The Entertaining House, 6 ElleDecor, 7 The Jungalow, 8 Haus and Home, 9 Traditional Home, 10 Collin Cowie, 11 Apartment 34,  12 Bird is the Word