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A feast for the eyes

Yesterday, we invited entertaining expert Chris Nease to share  stylish tips for your Thanksgiving table. Today, we're delighted to have design blogger - Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo here to continue sharing great Thanksgiving decorating ideas and  inspiration.

by Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo

Thanksgiving decorating ideas

My name is Amy Beth Cupp, and nearly five years ago I married Mr. D. That makes me ABCD! I write a blog about making your house a home which is aptly named ABCDDesign. I am a trained chef, artist and floral designer. I have worked in event planning, floral, stationery and interior design. I am thrilled the Daily Grommet asked me here to talk about decorating for the holiday season.


Who is planning to entertain at home in the next few weeks? So much of the holidays are focused on sharing time at the table with close friends and family, so I am going to focus on tabletop decorations today. A huge percentage of pleasure at a meal is about the visual experience. Make it a feast for the eyes!


China, Stemware, and Flatware! My motto is simple: Life is short. Eat off the good china! Whether you are throwing an event for two or twenty, I think it is important to make life's little moments into memorable milestones. Unless your wedding china was handed down from your great, great grandmother chances are that a broken dish is either still in production or can purchased at replacements.com. So don't be afraid to USE the pretty stuff.

One of the biggest trends we see in tabletop is mix and match china. It's all about layering, layering, layering. Notice all of the linens are natural color. This makes it easy to repurpose them at other times of the year. Napkins are either folded alongside the plate, placed in the top dish, or slipped between the top and bottom dish - there are no rules.

The mood we have in these images is nostalgic, it's cozy, mis-matched. We have a combination of materials that help lend an antiqued feel to the space. Do different textures on your tabletop: wood, moss, bark, greenery, combining gold and silver finishes and pine cones add a fabulous foil to the cool, sparkling china and the glimmer of crystal. The use of linen, wood, twine, and mixed metallics compliment the combination of clear and mercury glass.

Speaking of which, mercury glass is everywhere this holiday season. It's wonderful because it looks as fantastic at the 4th of July as it does at Halloween and Christmas. It doesn't show fingerprints and it gives an instant feel of history to the table. Other trends we're seeing a ton of in Holiday ornaments and decorations: crowns, woodland animals and mushrooms.

When decorating your table for the holidays, think about starting with a neutral palette on all the basics (tablecloths, and napkins especially) and then dress it up at the with pops of color that don't necessarily have to be a predictable fall colors for Thanksgiving or the traditional Christmastime red and green color palette. By mixing in fresh greenery, Christmas bulbs and other wintery elements, we get a decidedly 'holiday' feel.

Lighting: Flicker LED candles are all the rage. They won't blow out during an event and save on clean-up after a party. But personally, I love the soft glow that orange and peach color candles give a room, so I always add them in regardless of whether I am using LED lights or not.

Centerpieces: Be certain not to use highly scented flowers such as lilies. Keep your flower budget low by using only one or two varieties of flowers in your arrangements. Get creative and reach for old family pieces. Soup tureens, galvanized buckets, crystal bowls, water pitchers, coffee pots and tea cups all make interesting containers for floral decorations.

Fill bowls, vessels and pitchers with seasonal fruits; persimmons, apples, oranges, cranberries and pears. I chose to do a mixture of clementines and tangerines. They're fantastic this time of year, and will be happily snacked upon long after the dinner party is over. I like to carry the mood throughout the house. I put Christmas bulbs in big bowls in nearly every room.

Prizes! Party favors are not just for kids parties any more. We've been seeing more and more hostesses giving token gifts out to their party guests. I have designed these letterpress matchboxes that play double duty and act as place card holders at the table. All my guests can go home with a handsome parting gift at the end of the night. They last far longer than any bottle of wine or tin of cookies, they also make a terrific Hostess gift for any Winter party.

Speaking of hostess gifts: one of my favorite finds this year were MyDrap linens on a roll. They're eco friendly, 100% cotton and linen. They are washable up to six times and come in a myriad of colors. They're an amazing way to add quick, reasonably priced color to your table for a themed event, or make for a fabulous hostess gift.

Ideas for easy entertaining at the holidays: Highlight what you are good at. Hire out what you do not do or can not do yourself. Throw a Winter Solstice Cookie Party: I bake every cookie and holiday treat I have the recipe for and invite my friends in for dessert. I serve homemade eggnog, champagne, coffee and tea. It is such an easy, fun way to throw a celebration. All the work is done ahead of time and I can truly appreciate my guests without worrying that I am burning something in oven -OR- Consider throwing a New Years Day open house: prepare a pot of soup, serve rolls, a cheese and olive plate on a buffet. Let people come and go and help themselves throughout the afternoon.

Jingle-Jingle! And most of all, ENJOY. xo ABCD


Would you like more holiday help? ABCD, and several other expert bloggers will be joining us for a fun and festive Twitter party. We’ll be sharing more ideas and tips for holiday food, decor, gifts, plus much more! More info here. We hope you’ll join us!


  • Nicole Feliciano Says:

    I love the unexpected colors. So sophisticated.

  • Irma Navarro-Hankins Says:

    Really elegant and understated. The floral arrangements are just gorgeous and the lighting! ...

  • Jennifer @Dec-a-Porter Says:

    What a lovely post. I love the ideas of using other objects for the flowers arrangements
    When we got married (almost 13 yrs ago now) we wanted to decorate it all on our own but splurged on orchids ( fav flower) so every table centerpiece was different and we used bowls, cups, vases - really anything we could find which made it feel free cozy and personal. I love the Mercury glass too - so pretty for every occasion.
    Thanks for sharing these Daily Grommet & ABCD Designs.
    Jennifer xoxo

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