In many cultures the Christmas celebration starts on the Eve of Christmas with a large feast, the opening of a single gift, the lighting of candles, and sometimes even the singing of carols.
I chatted with a friend who shared the beauty of her cultural traditions, with a faraway look in her eye and the sweetest smile on her face… I’m sharing my depiction of what that tradition would look like if translated into a Christmas Eve Table Decoration.
My family doesn’t really engage in your average traditions; our Christmas tradition is pretty much having a house crammed with family, playing tabletop board games and eating yummy goodies. But recently I chatted with a friend who shared the beauty of her cultural traditions, with a faraway look in her eye and the sweetest smile on her face. Her description was beautiful, and I could see that she really loved and valued all the special little details. So today, I’m sharing my depiction of what that tradition would look like if translated into a Christmas Eve Table Decoration, and a little bit about my friend’s cultural tradition.
Rather than wait until Christmas morning, everyone has one small gift to open, specially selected for Christmas Eve. Something you can enjoy right then and there at the table, something simple, but personable and often that encourages social interaction. On this dinner table, you will find the gifts gathered at either end of the table…a small token of love with each family member’s name on the bottom.
To turn the gifts into part of the decor, I took plain white jewelry gift boxes and spray painted them a variety of gold, copper, and black. Then adorn the gifts in some simple gold ribbon, pretty tags, and maybe even make a hand crafted charm for those who love pretty little things.
Interspersed between the gifts and candles are some gold dipped ornaments. Each ornament has been hand crafted and is filled either with something natural or elegant. It is a formal dinner after all! Why not go elegant and sophisticated? The gold from the ornaments glimmer in the candle light and create a beautiful ambiance.
I love to see the look of love and nostalgia on my friend’s face as she shares her family’s traditions. It is something of the old world, but you can see it means a lot to her.
The sun has just set, and Christmas Eve has officially begun. The children have been waiting for it eagerly and the moment the clock indicates sunset, they are tugging the adults over to the formal dinner table. Over the dim light of the lit candles, her family fondly clasps the hands of the member to their right and left. They share a special song together that reflects the challenges of the year behind and before them. Then the patriarch rises and say’s a grateful prayer of thanks to God for this special gathering, for safety, for love, for the future, for courage in the hard times, and for faithfulness to Him.
Over the dim light of the lit candles, her family fondly clasps the hands of the member to their right and left. They share a special song together that reflects the challenges of the year behind and before them.
Then the gifts are opened (much to the children’s delight), while the food is being served. My friend describes a feast unlike any I’ve heard of! I can almost smell the sage and rosemary, and taste the deep robust flavors she describes. After a merry conversation and enjoyment over the little gifts (most of which are also edible goodies), the dessert and coffee is served. The family retires to the living room where a roaring fire awaits, and grandmother leads out in a few songs. A few cousins have brought out instruments to accompany the singing, and you can see everyone is truly enjoying themselves. She places her head on her mother’s shoulder and enjoys the warmth of the fire, and the pleasant harmonies wafting through the air.
It is beginning to get late, and soon the yawning little ones are sent off to bed with promises of an early Christmas morning start.
Finally she describes the night coming to an end, and the smell of recently blown out candles, mingling with the scent of coffee and cloves as she helps the women of the family put away the food. The young ladies wash dishes and gab, while the older women prep for tomorrow’s big breakfast. The men are still gathered in the living room, and she overhears her grandfather counseling the young men of the family. “Be a kind and generous man, ask for wisdom like Solomon the Wise. Listen to your wife, she’s the one who really runs the family… If she is happy, you will be happy, your children will be happy. If you don’t have a wife, get a good wife…”, she smiles, it is always the same lecture. She wishes everyone a good night with hugs and kisses all around. It has been a lovely traditional Christmas Eve, the perfect welcome to a wonderful holiday.
I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about my friend’s family tradition, and seeing my tablescape version of it. I could see that it was very near and dear to her, and I could appreciate how special family is to them!
No matter how you and your family enjoy the holiday season, remember to do so gratefully. When we live in an attitude of gratefulness, it actually make us happier, healthier, and we are able to give of ourselves to others from a place of abundance. Not only does this help us focus on the things that matter during the holidays, but helps us day-to-day, and as we prepare to enter a new year.
If you enjoyed this Christmas tablescape, you are really going to love these decorated tables by some of my wonderful blog friends. Be sure to visit each and every one, and let me know what you thought!
Katie @ Mountain Modern Life
Such a beautiful table with a beautiful message behind it. Thanks for sharing!
Haeley @ Design Improvised
Really beautiful! I love you how you incorporated the presents and ornaments into the decor and I love the big grouping of flameless candles (one of my favorite things to use in my house!)
Beautiful story and table Ursula. I love the small details of the hand crafted charms. What a lovely gift to cherish. Merry Christmas friend!
corey @ heytherehome
Love this table and I love your message here. Being grateful is the best medicine for an overall attitude adjustment. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Ursula!
Stunning Christmas table setting, Ursula! I love how you arranged your candles in the center of your table! Happy Holidays!
Stephanie @ Casa Watkins
Gorgeous tablescape Ursula! I love how you used gift boxes and those beautiful gold touches gave your table a sophisticated look. Beautiful! Pinned and shared.
Thanks so much Stephanie! 🙂
Absolutely beautiful Ursula!! So classic and sparkly and festive – what a gorgeous spot to enjoy a holiday meal together:) Such a lovely tradition.
Ursula, the candles and gift boxes as a centerpiece are stunning and so clever. I could totally see myself sitting at your table, enjoying Christmas dinner.