Delegate the Table – An Outdoor Christmas (so very 2020)

Ready or not, Christmas is six weeks away. I must admit that I’m SO ready to share all things holiday with y’all; I’ve been planning since late summer! And of course, I want to kick things off with tablescapes. There’s just something about seeing a festive table come together that puts me in the holiday spirit, and I hope these do the same for you. I designed two vignettes this year, one outdoors and a bit rustic, plus a more formal table in my dining room. My goal is to give you a few different takes on holiday gatherings so everyone can get some inspiration, regardless of where and how you’re celebrating.  

Today, let’s take a look at my outdoor table (photographed on my porch). I know that a lot of families are planning to bring a part of the celebration outside, and I’m all for embracing the change of scenery and setting a table that combines some classic holiday elements (red, plaid) with an outdoorsy, natural feel.

I love this whole look because it’s effortlessly festive. Since we’re outside in front of the fire I didn’t even bother with a tablecloth because the bare wood helps set the tone as casual and unfussy. I used paper products as a base: red and white placemats from Hester & Cook (repurposed from last year’s July 4th shoot) and a red toile “runner,” which I assembled by overlapping individual paper placemats. I love the winter wonderland pattern, a motif that’s echoed in my Juliska plates and centerpiece. Do y’all remember this dishware from last year? In 2019 I used it for a more formal setup inside, but it works equally well here. You know my mantra: find pieces you love, be creative, and reuse, reuse, reuse!

For each place setting, I created some visual interest with layers. On top of the paper placemats, I repurposed my Frances Valentine wicker chargers (similar option here). They break up the red and bring some more natural materials into the mix (again, we’re outside…it should have an organic feel). Similarly, I brought back the wood-handled cutlery from this year’s Thanksgiving table. You know that I love mixing patterns, and for Christmas I just have to have some plaid. I’m working with WH Hostess this holiday season (paid partnership) and sourced these fabulous White Stewart Plaid Napkins from their website. WH Hostess has a great selection of classically preppy customized gifts, wrapping paper, tabletop items, and holiday cards; you’ll see more from them this season on my blog and Instagram. Even though the plaid doesn’t expressly match the other pieces, it all coordinates like a dream because everything is in tones of red (that’s the trick). I also used WH Hostess’ plaid gift tags as place cards – I just trimmed them down a bit to fit the holders.

Y’all might recognize these fabulous napkin rings and place card holders from my holiday edit with Missing Q Press. I just love tortoise; it’s chic and rustic all at once which is perfect for this table. Of course, bows are my weakness, so I had to do a quick swap and show y’all how darling everything looks with that motif (bow napkin rings and bow place card holders). As I said when we launched the Missing Q collab, we designed all of these pieces to complement the tabletop decor you already own. I love that most of the things on this table are repurposed from past holidays, but with a few new accessories you can create a totally fresh vignette.  

One quick note on these darling gifts. They’re actually my wrapped Home for the Holidays candles from Southern Bungalow (the “Signature Jar”). Our celebration will be small this year, and given the dumpster fire that is 2020, I think it’s fun to up the ante a bit with special party favors. The candles are perfect and I love that you can order them wrapped just like this.

Now for my big bowl of apples. As much as I love a major floral moment, I really want to drive home that there are a lot of beautiful and budget-friendly ways to create an impactful centerpiece. I loaded up my Juliska bowl with bags of mini Honeycrisps from Trader Joe’s, added some magnolia leaf accents (straight from my backyard), and then scattered more apples, leaves, and pomegranates down the table. Easy, elegant, and inexpensive!

I must talk a bit about my outfit – it’s amazingly comfortable and perfect for outdoor hostessing. I’m working with J.McLaughlin this holiday season (paid partnership) and one thing they’re focusing on is chic pieces for layering. They know a lot of us are going to be doing more outside this year, and we’ll want to look chic but also feel cozy. This outfit checks all those boxes and more. I love this sweater – it’s the Veronique Cardigan and the faux fur collar is detachable. I’ve combined it with the Arlette Turtleneck, Carter Pants, and Penny Suede Pumps. I’ve been wearing J. McLaughlin for years and they’re really a go-to for me when it comes to investing in quality pieces that I can wear a million ways. The combinations and permutations for each of these pieces are endless!

For this outdoor setup, I really wanted to keep things unfussy with special details, and happily I think I achieved that. I love the vibe – it’s simultaneously classic and rustic which is perfect for a porch celebration. I hope you love it and find some ideas to replicate on your own tables this season.

Check back later this week when I’ll reveal my formal tablescape, photographed in my dining room. Think crystal, sterling silver, and unexpected, modern touches. Can’t wait to keep this going…it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission on purchases made through them*

*Photo credit for all photos: Lele Fain Photography*

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