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my real Christmas table


I set a lot of fancy tables for photo shoots, but to be entirely honest, I’m much more of a paper plate and lap trays kind of hostess.  I do love pulling out my fine china, linens and silver, but I don’t do it very often (to actually eat on, anyway.)  Our gatherings usually involve football, teenagers and/or small children, so they’re pretty informal.  We’re hosting Christmas this year, so I decided to set a pretty table for my family.  This table is totally different from ones I set up for shoots.  It’s simple, with mismatched chairs and a stained tablecloth that was given to my grandmother as a wedding present.  I’m using my mother’s wedding china and a silver pattern that has been collected by three generations of women in my family.


Gray linen napkins are rolled in mismatched silver napkin rings.




I love the inscription on this one.  I bet Roberta E. Perron never would’ve guessed that her napkin ring would travel from Brooklyn, NY to an antique shop in Petaluma, CA and back to the east coast in my suitcase to be used at a Christmas dinner in Gettysburg, PA.

I’m sure I’m using the wrong fork in the wrong place for the wrong course, but who really cares.  (Well, I have had someone tell me that my knives were facing the wrong way and I would never be taken seriously as a designer if I didn’t know the proper way to position a knife in a table setting, so obviously some people care…)



I’m pulling out some of the fun pieces in my silver collection as well like the salt cellars.


This Christmas table is a great example that entertaining doesn’t have to be elaborate.  You can have a pretty table simply by using pretty things.  I’m using mostly family pieces, but a lot of my linens, silver and china were acquired in thrift stores and yard sales as well.

Tomorrow is about cooking, wrapping and getting ready for the family to show up bright and early on Christmas morning.  I’ll also probably give my office a bit of attention.  Am I the only glutton for punishment who decided to rearrange furniture and rip a room apart two days before Christmas?  Maybe I’ll just close the door and deal with it later.  Yeah, that’s sounding pretty good right about now…

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  1. Sherrie says:

    Lovely setting. And no you are not alone… I have a recently acquired 1000 square feet of wood flooring to refurbish in my home. (It was too good to wait on.). My mom said “I don’t know why you would buy a pile of wood the week before Christmas.”

  2. Beautiful Marian….May you and your family have a most joyous Christmas!!!!

  3. Your table is lovely – I love using old family pieces because they are so personal. I too use them with wonderful thrift shop silver placemats so am pleased to see you are also a thrift / charity shop fan.

    Have a good day.

    Dee at the Carlton

  4. Melissa McIntyre says:

    Beautiful and practical, I LOVE it! Merry Christmas to you and your family! And NO, you’re not the only one….my husband thought I was completly crazy for ripping our bedroom apart and rearranging the furniture last night!! -)

  5. Such a personal decorating with all those memries attached …..nothing is better or more inviting!

  6. Have a Merry Christmas!! The beauty of your table set is into your heart!
    Every single piece we set with care, love and memories…
    That is the magic of Christmas!! Thanks for sharing…

  7. So pretty, just love the silver. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  8. Merry Christmas Marian!

  9. peggy huff says:

    Darling Miss Marion,
    You are such a part of my heart…miles across the country…likely not to meet on this earth, but I pray for you and your darling men collection, am dayly inspired by you and love you from Washington state. May Jesus pour out his best Blessings on you & those you love.
    Just think ~ Merry Christmas~ EMMANUEL!!!

  10. Rachel says:

    Beautiful! Merry Christmas!

  11. Dalia says:

    So beautifully and personal. I set out an old Santa toy that was my husband’s when he was a baby (70 years ago!). It makes me feel that his family are still with us.

  12. Karen Warner says:

    Yay! Santa brought me your book!!

  13. I love the simple, sentimental table setting. I know I’m a day late, but Merry Christmas!

  14. Margaret Latey says:

    I love your website. I live in SLC, Ut and am a grandma. I have the same china……got it when I got married 48 years ago. I still love it as much as I did when I got married. Lucky you to inherit this!

  15. Love the table with all the family herilooms. I used my china and my grandmother’s silver. I made sure to let my 3 yeatr old grandaughter that the spoon and fork she was using belonged to her great-great grandmother. I also mixed in some silver spoons and forks for dessert that I bought in Australia.

  16. Gilda Stigliano says:

    If you face the knife blades away from the plate it is supposed to indicate “agression”…just read that some place -, didn’t make it up…

    • My mom used to tell me this about the way the knife blade faces. I’m not ever sure about which fork goes where, but I always remember that! :)

  17. My husband went to B & N asking for Ms. Mustardseeds book and of course they had no idea what he was talking about. So cute of him wanting to surprise me for Christmas and he was so defeated when they could not locate it. I only kept talking about Ms. Mustardseed and not your real name as the author. Merry Christmas Marion and thanks for bringing such joy to my life with your post.

  18. Kelly U. says:

    I believe your silver pattern in the first picture is called Hiawatha aka Flower. I have my grandma’s spoon ring and bracelet that is made from the same similar pattern. So feminine and I love it! I just wanted to tell you how beautiful it is.

  19. Dana R says:

    The silver in the first few pictures makes me all swoony. I have never seen that one and I’m in love…

    I love your site and am looking for the book. Blessings for a Happy New Year!


  1. […] was the perfect amount of people and was very relaxed.  I did get a little carried away with my super simple Christmas table I talked about a couple of days ago.  I decided to make a fruit topiary centerpiece and add some […]

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