We all will be together… this line from “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” chimed through my mind as I was setting my table. With sweet memories and poignant reflections, each element of the tablescape brought thoughts, stories and smiles to mind – the china, the linens, the glassware – all a part of a tablescape that has become near and dear to me.
Though this tablescape is very traditional – and the story of this tableau does commence with a woman great with child – it is not a parody of THE Christmas story by any means!
My mother was truly great with child (yours truly) back in June of 1981. A stroll past an antique store in our small Southern town was the outing du jour for Mama on this particular day, hoping the jaunt would cause her carriage to soon deliver (I was over two weeks late and walks had become a part of her routine to entice delivery… sorry Mama for the inconvenience.) I digress…
As she perused through this particular store, she spotted a set of Johnson Brothers Christmas china that she wanted to purchase for her mama, the soon to be branded Mimi. The combination of a severely pregnant lady walking about in the sweltering Southern, early summer sun, and further coupled with the mindset many expecting mothers have (we must feather our nests, prepare for our children, buy Christmas china in June, yada, yada yada…) lead the shopkeeper to abate Mama’s pleas and lowball offer and sold her the set for a song. Mimi has been using this set now for thirty years, so I felt it apropos in using a few pieces for my Christmas table, with this coming June marking my entrance into the family thirty years ago.
The glasses, a gift from Aunt Kathy to Mimi and Granddaddy on their fiftieth wedding anniversary a few years ago, are monogrammed with a “G” for Granade - and the he claret red glass, gold leaf rims, and lettering are that perfect touch of elegant glam my table needed. They inspired the Jefferson cup arrangements filled with red roses and variegated boxwood sprigs to punctuate the tabletop with floral freshness. The Jefferson cup is shorter than a julep cup, more of a tumbler. Silver, pewter, copper and gold styles abound and these I found on a hunt through an antique mall now have their home with me, for they boast a “G.” I love to mix the initials of my surname and mother’s family maiden names – this mélange of initials gives representation of the generations at my table.
As for the linens, a mix is always fun! The hand embroidered cloth with candles, poinsettias, and holiday foliage is from Panama – a gift from a pair of dear friends who served as missionaries there. They brought this to us years ago and we all relish in the opportunity to use it. I use a round table my great-grandfather built as my dining room table, and I love to use different linens to herald the season. A sucker for checks, buffalo plaid and gingham, I used one of the red covers from my book launch party with buffalo check napkins – giving the delicateness of the table topper some pizzazz and punch.
Green chargers anchor the Christmas china and a wreath serves as centerpiece. Being round itself, it is the perfect center point for a round table, low enough to see over and to cloak a classic hurricane. A boxwood base, this wreath is filled with other Farmer’s seasonal favorites – preserved orange slices, dried pomegranates as a further Granade nod, pine cones, cinnamon sticks and a baby artichoke or two. Wreaths don’t have to don doors and windows alone!
The combo of this tablescape not only made my dining room merry and bright, it made me merrier and brighter. Faithful friends and family gather near to us – gather near the table. Set your tables with traditions and twists, and from this Farmer’s table to yours, hope you had yourself a merry little Christmas!