Cheer up even the simplest of meals after Christmas Dinner, like left over cold turkey and bubble and squeak, by adding a few festive decorations to your dining table. By adding candlelight, whether by a candelabra or tea lights will instantly add ambiance to your table. Don’t just make the effort for Christmas dinner only. This approach can also be used if your’e on a very tight budget too. Add greenery and fir cones collected from your garden or countryside (these are free). Make your greenery into a stunning centre piece for your table by sticking it into pre-soaked oasis; ( available from florists) add a candle or two and the table is transformed into something special. However, a word of warning, do not make the mistake of making your arrangement too big if you are planning to serve dinner in terrines on the table. One, you won’t have room for the food, and two, if too big it will be difficult to move out of the way. A tall, smaller centre arrangement is an option, but ensure it has a substantial base, so it will not be knocked over too easily with the flurry of activity passing dishes and pouring wine etc. You can decorate your chairs instead if space table space is at a premium. Just tie some strips of fabric round the back of the chair and tie into a bow. If you want to go the extra mile tie in some greenery into the bow too.
Faced with this conundrum a few years ago, I decided to make a Christmas ‘bell’. The idea was to fix the bell over my rise and fall pendant light and trim the rim of the bell with intertwined greenery, thus making a centre piece for dining over the Christmas season, without it getting in the way of eating. I sourced some chicken wire and cut it into my desired size, and shaped it into a bell. With florist’s wire I attached (with some difficulty and help from my son) the chicken wire ‘bell’ to the top of the existing pendant shade. I wove trailing ivy, round the rim and stuck in various pieces of holly and fir. It looked great lit up by the light shining from the centre of the pendant light. However, some minor adjustments (by my husband who is the engineer, and I am the designer) had to be made due to the weight of the ‘bell’ pulling the rise and fall pendant light down too far over the table! This was easily remedied by securing the mechanism in the pendant so it would not move downwards; I seem to recall a twig being used to jam the mechinism – very technical! The bell was such a great success, I carefully took it down after Christmas and re-used it the year after too, adding fresh greenery of course. I have posted a photo of the ‘bell’ but the quality is not great, as I have had to scan it in from a printed photograph. You will also see that I have a table centre arrangement too, this was a present from friends.