What do you think of when you ponder holidays past? The gathering of family and friends? The weather that came with your holiday? The meal you all gathered around the table to consume together? None of these things, all of them? What about the actual setting of your table? This is how I remember my holidays.
Ever since I can remember, my mother started planing her tablescapes about a week, to a week in a half, prior to her holidays. She would stand in front of her double wardrobe turned china hutch and ponder which of her fine china sets to use. She has many! AND, now you know where I get it from😂. This lasted for an hour or so. Then she would count out the number of plates for each course and set them aside. Then she would do the same with her crystal. Honestly, I have never had that much crystal. 🤷♀️ Lastly, came the biggest decision of all....who’s sterling to be used for this holiday? If she had ever asked me, the answer would have always been, the Prelude. Apparently, Southern Families take this thought process well into consideration. You don’t wanna piss off family you never met. Lawd hep me!
Then, once every choice had been made and the perfect number had been set out, came the pre cleaning. I always enjoyed helping my mother wash off the dust that had settled since the last holiday we used these particular items. They were old friends stopping by for a minute. I enjoyed their beauty, as the water flowed over the patterns, the gold, the cuts, and fine details of each item. Hand drying everything so that spots don’t form. As you well know, cleanliness is next to godliness😳. In my mother’s southern home, a spot is not clean!
My mother’s formal dining room table has 12 leaves. Depending on the number of guests, we either have room to breathe or are crammed in like sardines🐟. Let me tell you, finding a tablecloth to fit that darn thing....Mission Impossible! However, several full sized flat sheets trimmed down and serged with fancy holiday metallic threads, nailed it. Next, selecting one of her many fancy center pieces, my favorite item is a Majolica basket 🧺with fall seasonal fruit falling out of it. From so many years before I was born, belonging to some past predecessor. Then my most favorite part, placing the settings with all the accouterments. I love laying out the silver in its perfect spot, lined up exactly 1” from the edge of the table. All of these cute and obscure utensils, which hardly anyone uses today. My mother loves setting up a table, so I come by it honestly. It is a joy we share and we don’t share much.😕 The final touch, napkin folding. Let me tell you, I can fold a napkin 10,000 ways to Sunday😳! Cloth or paper.
To this day, I take immense pride in setting my holiday tables. I may not have all the truly luxurious antiques my mother has, nor the selection, but it has not stopped me from decking out a glorious table. I remember every holiday table I have ever set. Each one brings me joy and happiness. I love thinking back on each one, a happy little memory all my own. Is this your year for a holiday table to remember?