Christmas is a little different in Australia. Instead of building snowmen, we build sand castles. And rather than drinking hot cocoa we are reaching for the nearest ice cold refreshment.
I love Christmas, and each year secretly hope we may just have a White Christmas down under! However being a tad more realistic, I was inspired to create a simple and effortless Australiana table setting that you could easily try, even if you live in the Northern hempishere.
I like my tables to have a feeling of overabundance, so if that’s not for you, just pare back a little with the floral and embellishments.
The key is using floral and greenery that is native to your area, that is in abundance and can be easily foraged or gathered from your local market.
Use the floral as the colour inspiration for your overall tablescape and mix and match different textured dinner and side plates.
1. GATHER THE GREENERY
Use whatever is in abundance in your local area in terms of the natural greenery and floral. Here in Australia around Christmas we have gum leaves, tetra nuts, king protea, white waratah, geraldton wax and many different banksia varieties.
For this shoot we collaborated with local florist Kim from Make it Beautiful and she created one main arrangement for the table centre piece and then some smaller posies to style around the table. Use a variety of vessels and vases to suit your theme, such as glass jars, ceramic vases, little pots or silver tins. You don’t need to be a florist to put these arrangements together, just choose a nice mix of greenery and flowers to suit.
Place the floral and greenery in different sizes vases and vessels in relaxed arrangements. Nothing too structured or tight, if the gum leaves or greenery want to hang down on to the table, let them! We are after an effortless vibe.
“Use whatever is in abundance in your local area in terms of the natural greenery and floral.”
2. CHOOSE THE FOUNDATION
Choose all the elements that will form the foundation for you table such as table cloth, plates, cutlery and napkins. Get inspiration in terms of colour and tone from your floral arrangements.
If you can’t find the perfect colour table cloth, do what I do, and use fabric instead. Often this can be a cheaper alternative and you can select the exact length you need. Always check what is on sale at your local fabric supplier or craft store and the choose something that you can use multiple times.
The good thing about fabric, is it can be easily thrown in the washing machine and kept for next time. In this case, I chose a natural hessian blend that was on sale in a natural creamy white colour and got 3m, I think it came to $18.
I love pottery style dinnerware with its organic and rustic appeal. True to my personal love for an eclectic style, I like to mix and match plates. Just choose ones that have a similar tone, colour or theme so they look like they belong together.
To get an interesting array of layers and textures, start with the larger dinner plate and then place the smaller side plate on top. Experiment with what plates go best together and then loosely fold your napkin and finish with cutlery and glassware.
I purposely chose a fancy faceted glass to contrast the rustic theme. Depending upon what you will be drinking, choose accordingly!
3. PERSONALISE THE TABLE!
I love the idea of personalising the table for dinner guests, it is a really thoughtful touch and also can encourage conversation with thoughtful placement. Enter as strangers, leave as friends!
We worked with local calligrapher Stephanie from Pepper Eve Calligraphy to create these adorable place settings… on gum leaves! It ties in beautifully with the Australiana theme, as well as using what you already have, or is in abundant supply. Guests can then take these home…and hang them on their Christmas tree!
Another option is personalising gift tags. Stephanie hand lettered on natural craft paper with white ink, which fit within our overall scheme. Alternatively you can write Christmas phrases… a cute little touch without being overly obvious!
4. ADD A TREAT!
Its Christmas afterall, so give your guests a little treat to take away – or eat right there! Instead of the traditional gingerbread house, we teamed up with local brand Sweet Mickie and chose these gorgeous and delicious Christmas themed gingerbread slogan cookies!
The cookies add a real contemporary touch to the table, a talking point and finish off the setting. I just love the cute and cheeky sayings on each.
Another idea is to pre bake your own sugar cookies and get the kids involved. Instead of the typical reindeer or snowflake pattern, choose something as simple as a circle or square shape, add white fondant icing and decorate accordingly.
5. FINISH WITH SOME BLING!
Next the table needs some cute little Christmassey touches! I added miniature glass baubles and used natural twine to wrap up kraft paper boxes with lids from my local craft store.
Alternatively you could use ornaments you had in your collection to decorate the table or gift special ones to your guests after the party. glass baubles also work really well and can be personalised with a special permanent pen.
Nestle in a few tea light candles to add instant moodiness. I used clear glass candle holders to not detract from the setting, but you could use taller white pillar candles too.
I hope you take some inspiration from the Australiana inspired Christmas table I have put together.
Christmas doesn’t have to always be red and green – although I am usually quite the traditionalist – perhaps things are changing!
The beauty about this table is that it can be adapted to suit a range of looks, and most of the elements can be re-used again or for other applications! The most important thing on Christmas is to be with your loved ones, enjoy eachother’s company and create a relaxing atmosphere.