Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Holly and the Ivy

The closer we get to the big day, the simpler my tables get. But there needn't be a down side to that.

I've been saving my vintage English china by Grindley for just such an occasion. The green trim is only suggestive of the season and is as simple as could be.

In order to let the suggestion sink in, the rest is kept very plain but festive as well.

All is lovingly laid on a snowy matelasse cover with only the holiday plants for show.

There's nothing more traditional than holly and ivy, but it doesn't show up as often as Poinsettias for tables, which is why I was ecstatic to find this pairing at the florist.

I wrapped the base with a pretty linen towel and tied it with a ribbon for the centerpiece. The only other embellishments are the holly sprigs at each place.

I was also lucky to find this week an impeccable set of twelve vintage monogrammed damask dinner napkins with my favorite initial! 

Glassware and flatware is also vintage.

A final inspiration to tradition, and never far from the celebration, is my facsimile edition of Washington Irving's Old Christmas, illustrated by R. Caldecott. I can't believe I'm throwing out terms like "thirty years ago" so casually, but I acquired the book when it was re-printed in 1979, and have read from it each Christmas ever since!

Thanks in part to Dickens and Irving, much of an American Christmas celebration is borrowed from our British family and friends. This beautifully bound and illustrated copy has also been as much an ornament for the house as any I could think of.

So I will add my sentiments to those of my dear old respected friend W. Irving writing in 1894:

"...If I can by any lucky chance ... rub out one wrinkle from the brow of care, or beguile the heavy heart of one moment of sorrow; if I can now and then penetrate through the gathering film of misanthropy, prompt a benevolent view of human nature, and make my reader more in good humour with his fellow beings and himself, surely, surely, I shall not then have written entirely in vain."

Wishing you the blessings of the season!
Thanks for stopping by!
Wassail! And Ciao! for now!


I'm linking to
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday
Food For Thought for Holiday Books 


Susy said...

A beautiful holiday table; simple and elegeant. Love the table cloth and your new monogrammed napkins ~ a wonderful backdrop for the table service. The book is a treasure. Thank you for sharing it all so lovingly. Christmas Blessings.

Pat said...

Beautiful table and post!

food for thought said...

i love your style... the fresh crisp white and green, topped off with a book, ahh, heavy sigh of contentment~

Blondie's Journal said...

Very pretty table! I have been looking for dishes that don't scream Christmas and these are just perfect. Love the touch of holly and all of your vintage treasures.


Sarah said...

Jacqueline, this is truly elegant. Those monogramed napkins are treasures! And so is the book! Thank you for sharing this beautiful setting. ~ Sarah

Marlis said...

The monograms are perfect!! Exquisite. I am jealous!! Oops that is sinful nature, I take that back and am truly happy for you. Your dishes are lovely, as always and your presentation is award winning!!

Olga said...

Such pretty holiday tablescape!

La Vie Quotidienne said...

the freshness and the beautiful simpleness can't be inproved lovely. I am enthalled with the napkins and the how you put the napkins under the dishes. (-:

raggygirlvintage said...

Love the simplicity and the touch of holly on the plates - can only imagine the comments in my family if I were to do the same....!!

Debra@Common Ground said...

Love the reds and greens for Christmas. I guess I'm just traditional in that. So pretty and natural. My two huge lovely holly bushes were recently trimmed by our yard crew and now I have nothing to use, and I'm so bummed! So glad you'll be linking up to VIF!

Custom Comforts said...

What an elegant table! It's beauty is in it's simplicity. You always manage to capture so much with so little ~ what a gift you have.

bj said...

Everything...just perfect. Your table settings just take my breath away.
xo bj

On Crooked Creek said...

How beautiful . . .the white table cloth is so striking against the holly and the ivy! Thank you for such simplistic inspiration!

Sherry said...

That is a great book. I have recently read some excerpts from it online. I found a quote out of it I really liked in Victoria. He had some great descriptions of the era. Yes, I love Dickens! Irving is very similar to the period isn't he. I was assigned a Dickens novel(Hard Times) in college to read for a European history class, I took one look at it (at the age of 18!LOL) and thought there is no way I am going to read this.LOL!!! It was a large portion of the final grade for that class and I did read it and boy was I surprised how much I liked it. Wonderful descriptions you could feel the smoke and the grittiness of the street.
I love all of your linens too Jacqueline you have some beautiful things! Merry Christmas!

~JANN ~ said...

Stunning. Beautiful , perfect for Christmas.
Those monogrammed napkins are treasures! And so is the book!
I agree with all the other comments.

Tricia@The Dull and the Dutiful said...

Oh, that china is just gorgeous! I love its elegant simplicity, and you have allowed it to be the star of this lovely table. I really love your beautiful napkins, too!

Brenda Kula said...

I don't think I've ever seen ivy added to a poinsettia before. But it's really pretty! I like it much better. Love the monogrammed napkins too!

Fixing My Thoughts said...

So pretty! Love the matelasse cover. And your dishes! Have been catching up on some of your posts and they are all wonderful. Am making note of some of the books, too. Bess

Andrea - Faded Plains said...

Your table setting is the linen wrapped around your poinsettia.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh your tablescape makes me feel merry and bright!

Seasons greetings to you and yours.

Entertaining Women said...

The ivy and holly on your magnificent white tablecloth are sheer perfection. Thank you for sharing your charming design and for stopping by my post. Come visit any time. Cherry Kay

Carolyn said...

I love the simplicity of your elegant tablescape- once again.


Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

I love holly -- this is so beautiful on the white. I also love "The Holly and The Ivy" Christmas carole. This couldnt' be more lovely.

Barbara said...

I love simple. I love white. I love natural elements on the table. I love old books. This table just appeals to me in every way.

~Tablescapes By Diane~ said...

Hi lovely lady I love your Beautiful Holiday Tablescapes with the holly and the Ivy" I also like to use a theme for my Teblescapes. I have been a follower of your Blog for four months now, and love to see your new Tablescapes ~~ I'm new at my blog.~~maybe you can come see. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Bella said...

Hi Jacqueline, Your table looks gorgeous! Love the clean quiet palette, very elegant, and the fancy linens make it so decadent!!
A treat for the eyes for sure :-)

Cheryl~ZanyMayd said...

Your Table scape is so Beautiful, Love the simple elegance....The Holly & The Ivy, My Favorite Christmas song~ Thanks for Sharing

saltbox treasures said...

Beautiful holly and ivy table! Merry Christmas!
~ Julie

Mimi said...

Gorgeous of the prettiest of the season. Reminds me of fresh fallen snow and evergreen trees. Your linens are beautiful.

Cristin @ Simplified Bee said...

It is simple and gorgeous! Love Old Christmas too!

Merry Christmas!

Here from the linky party.


Linda said...

This is a beautiful table, Jacqueline! The napkins were such a great find! I love the matelasse tablecloth, I have been saving some to use this way, too! The fresh greens with the poinsettia and holly are wonderful...I would love to be a guest at this table!

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Beautiful napkins, Jacqueline! And your table ... exquisite in its simplicity!

Miss Sandy said...

Exquisite table setting and befitting words from your Christmas tome! Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful holiday!

Brownieville Girl said...

What a beautiful place setting, understated and elegant.

I haven't read any Irving (plenty of Dickens though!) must look him up.

Mary said...

Your beautiful book jacket & illustrations are so perfectly paired with your white & green table~ Simply lovely! What a wonderful sentiment from Mr. Irving~

Jacqueline said...

Your table is gorgeous, I love its simplicity and elegance. That tablecloth is just amazing. I love the pairing of ivy and poinsettia too. Thanks for sharing the beautiful message from the Christmas book. We (Mrs. Clauses) work so hard to bring joy. It truly is a labor of love.

Charlene said...

Those vintage linens are 2die4!!!!!
And the table is so pretty. Great illustrations in the book too. Enjoy the season.Charlene


Hi! I'm new in your blog and I loved it! Your dishes are beautiful, the holly is so fresh, I like to see greenery for Christmas, really wonderful! Hope you visit my blog too, you're welcome...I have a white table as I see you like white.
Many blessings for you this Christmas.

A Toile Tale said...

This posting is a beauty! You are so wise to let the simplicity of the china pattern dominate by using those understated details. Lovely!
Linda @ A Toile Tale

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