A holiday table for six.

I hosted a small dinner party Saturday night. Nothing big . . . just one couple and my daughter’s friend — an easy table for six.

The menu was tried and true: an antipasta to start (cheese, crackers, venison sausage, and olives), followed by a salad of field greens topped with apple and blue cheese, a piping hot lasagna, and a crusty loaf of bread. To finish, creme brulee.

It was lovely, and easy (okay, time consuming but easy) and served as a welcome reminder of why I love the holidays: good food, good friends, and time spent at home are life’s real gifts.

I had the most fun — as I always do — dressing the table. I thought this one turned out beautifully — a nod to the holidays without being overt. See what you think:

I paired vintage Noritake dinner plates with contemporary Pier One salad plates. I picked up the place mats and the table runner recently at Pottery Barn. The glassware is, of course, vintage, and the vase is blown glass by a local artisan.  With candles and flowers and greenery, the table came off prepared without being overdone.

There’s nothing like a little fresh greenery to dress up a table. I used to have a pine tree in the yard of my former home and I was never shy about clipping a few branches to dress my table. But I’m without a convenient source these days — despite our 15 acre homestead — so I had to buy these at the local florist.

The monogrammed napkins are ones I’ve owned for more than a decade. I highly recommend making the investment. I purchased my napkins on sale at a department store and took them to a local seamstress for monogramming. The versatility of the green and cream motif has served me well over the years.

I’m hosting a holiday open house next weekend for my office and I liked this table so much I may just repeat it for my food buffet. It will eliminate a little bit of thinking during a lot of cooking and preparation, and come to mention it — that’s a holiday gift too!

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