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Merry & Bright: Set the stage for a delightful holiday from door to table

Making spirits bright this holiday season begins with welcoming guests into your home, as you prepare to share in seasonal celebrations.

Indeed, “Season’s Greetings” starts right at the front door. Set the stage by incorporating living elements into a wreath that you can make yourself. Start by getting a twig wreath from your local craft store or garden center, then tuck in long-living greens, leaves and berries. Right before guests arrive for the holiday festivities, lend extra color, texture and fragrance by adding fresh-cut flowers from your local grocery store or flower shop.

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Continue the natural look at the table, where you can weave fresh rosemary leaves into natural grapevine napkin rings and customize each one with a place card affixed with a strand of colored twine. Another simple but stunning touch: sprigs of pine – perhaps even trimmed from the Christmas tree or outdoor garland – set atop a white napkin at the table setting. Along the length of the table, cluster a series (in odd numbers of three or five) of vases teeming with fresh cut blooms and mix in scented candles of different sizes, along with scattered rose petals.

Don’t be afraid to combine natural elements with on-trend accents such as gold leaf and dipped metallics. Not everything has to “match” for a tablescape to look stunning, and you can successfully combine different textures, like wood, metallics and luxe velvet or satin fabrics. Play around, put some pieces together and see what you like.

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Meanwhile, get inspiration and ideas for creating such combinations by reading blogs, websites and magazines. And when springtime finally rolls around in March, there will be a plethora of ideas for decorating and entertaining the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. For us, it’s a sure sign of spring in Chicago as we collectively turn over a new leaf.

Debi Lilly is Chief Eventeur at A Perfect Event in Chicago and a featured Tablescapes designer at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. Find more tablescape tips for the holidays and beyond – including printable templates — at

Photo: Emilia Jane Photography, for Debi Lilly Design


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