Setting the Holiday Table

holiday table, florals
Creating a nostalgic vibe with Christmas trees and tableware, and a candle-filled centerpiece.
Courtesy Giovanni Naso Interiors

As you prepare for Christmas celebrations, you’ll want to make your holiday table a veritable feast for the eyes and as warm and welcoming as the bountiful repast you’re going to serve. Floral centerpieces and festive place settings add the perfect touch, making any ordinary table sparkle into a visually appealing tableau.

At Feldis Florist, which recently commemorated its 100th anniversary, Heather McBride, owner of the North Bellmore shop, starts a floral display with a variety of Christmas greens, including western pine, white pine, spruce and cedar.

From there, McBride adds a mixture of reds: roses, gerbera daisies and deep red hypericum berries, white gerbera daisies, and a red and white combination with peppermint swirl carnations.

“White birch branches give it a nice wow factor, which is really pretty,” says McBride, adding, “It really depends on the customer’s tastes.”

Winter whites, McBride notes, are very in vogue right now.

holiday table, florals
Red roses, white hydrangea and snapdragon with gold leaf and evergreens.Courtesy Feldis Florist

“We’ll do all whites with touches of white birch and a mix of white flowers, from roses to stock, snapdragon, white hypericum berries, and hydrangea.”

Feldis centerpieces often include ornaments of artificial gold leaf, red velvet bows, and even miniature Santas.

McBride recommends one long and low candle centerpiece with dripless candles, in red, burgundy, white, gold or silver, which could include customer’s personal keepsakes, like miniature sleds or reindeer, or ones available through the florist.

“Most of the time they’ll leave it up to us,” McBride says. “We just ask what size table, how many people and what they’re looking for. Everyone’s really different. A lot of people have different styles, so we’re open to all different things.”

For a very long table, McBride recommends a large centerpiece and two smaller ones on each end.

“We’ll kind of mimic what we do in the centerpiece, but make it a little smaller,” she says. “Same color scheme, same greens, just to fit the container size we’re working with.”

A holiday centerpieceCourtesy of The Flower Petaler

A Touch of Seasonal Fragrant Flowers

A mainstay in Huntington for the past 23 years, The Flower Petaler offers various options in floral arrangements to accommodate their clients’ needs.

“Everything we do here is customized, but there are some designs that I offer on my website for the holidays, for people who are not local or who want to get an idea of what we do,” says owner Meredith Russo, adding,

“Of course, we also love it when our clients give us creative carte blanche.”

Arrangements, which can be an assortment of fragrant, long-lasting winter foliage accented with fresh berries and pinecones or something more floral with accents of winter foliage, can be placed in The Flower Petaler’s containers or the clients’ own.

“A customer may order an arrangement of fragrant winter greens for their table early in the season, and then bring it in to be refreshed with flowers and additional greens if needed for a more formal holiday dinner,” Russo says.

For long dining tables, Russo recommends a long and low oblong or round table piece, with or without candles, with flowers and greenery cascading along the center of the table, allowing guests to communicate unobstructed. Other possible arrangements include two or more smaller pieces scattered across a longer table or grouped together in the center of a round table, a wreath of seasonal greenery and flowers with a hurricane candle or lantern in the center — best for a round or square table — and a runner of assorted seasonal greens that could be accented with bud vases with flowers or candles — or both.

Roses, lisianthus, and mini cymbidium orchids with Leyland cypress, Carolina sapphire, white pine and moreCourtesy of The Flower Petaler

Many of The Flower Petaler’s customers request a traditional long and low or round arrangement for their holiday table, either cascading along the table or designed in a white-washed or natural wood box.

“We love to incorporate fresh magnolia and eucalyptus along with some of the more traditional greens like evergreen, pine and cedar,” says Russo.

“The various shades of green and different textures create a lot of depth and visual interest.”

Russo typically uses red ilex berries or red, white, green, or burgundy hypericum berries. For flowers, she’ll use roses, spray roses, amaryllis, ranunculus, tulips, hydrangea, and lisianthus. For texture, pinecones, holiday ribbons, and glass ornament balls finish off the arrangement.

Determining the number of arrangements you’ll need depends on the shape and length of the table and how much food will be served. For round tables, Russo notes, one centerpiece works best.

“For a dining table that seats 8 to 10 people, and if there is going to be a lot of food served on the table then one arrangement for the center or maybe two smaller arrangements that are the same size would work,” Russo says. “If the dining table can accommodate 10 or more guests, and food is going to be plated and served, then there is more space available for additional flowers and other decor.”

holiday table, floral centerpieces
Handmade napkin rings of burlap, holly berries and cypress are part of the red, white and green design.Courtesy Giovanni Naso Interiors

Adding Nostalgia & Beauty to the Table

Bellport-based interior designer Giovanni Naso, of the eponymous Giovanni Naso Interiors, recommends nostalgic Christmas settings accented in red, green, white, gold and silver.

For one setting, Naso uses red goblets, napkins and tablecloth that contrast beautifully with white plates with gold trim and alternating silver and gold chargers. A centerpiece wicker basket is filled with evergreen bundles, pinecones, red winterberries and a flannel ribbon, and the red napkins are adorned with napkin rings

Naso handmade using burlap with a spray of holly berries and a sprig of cypress. To brighten the holiday spirit, a “MERRY CHRISTMAS” runner spans the table atop the red tablecloth.

In another Christmas design, Naso employs a tablecloth, napkins (tied with winterberries) and plates with a matching wistful Christmas scene atop red chargers. Each place setting has a pair of glasses: a clear wine goblet and a Christmas-red champagne flute. The table is festooned with two decorative red Christmas trees and  a centerpiece of pinecones and winterberries surrounded by boxwood leafing.

“I’m going for a feeling of excitement for the holidays with bright pops of red in different textiles, and I play with different heights with the red glass and metallic Christmas trees to create visual interest,” Naso says. “I also want to indicate a feeling of warmth and to make sure the guests feel invited.”

For more holiday-inspired table décor, read more.

This article appeared in the December 2023 issue Behind The Hedges Powered by the Long Island Press. Read the full issue here. To read the cover story, click here.

holiday table, floral
White roses, snapdragron and hypericum berries with pinecones and a spray of evergreenCourtesy Feldis Florist