THE decorations appropriate for a Christmas table are red and green—the glossy hollow leaves with the bright red berries, the evergreens, candles with red shades, and satin ribbons of the same bright hue upon a snowy damask tablecloth. Christmas is really the children’s day, and the table decorations should be arranged with the idea of making it attractive for them.
A simple but effective decoration is made by arranging a large mat of holly or evergreens in the center of the table, with a Santa Claus standing upon it, his pack filled with bonbons and mottoes. A light wreath made of evergreens, sprigs of holly and red berries should be formed around the table, about fourteen inches from the edge. Sift over the green mat and wreath a Jack Frost powder or powdered isinglass, which will glisten in the candle light like the frost. If candelabra are used they should be placed at the ends of the table, but if one has the tall, old-fashioned silver candlesticks, place one at each corner of the table inside of the wreath.
Another decoration that is exceedingly pretty, and may be used in place of the mat and Santa Claus, is made by cutting a large five-pointed star out of white sheet wadding (editors note: quilt batting of the kind that comes in rolls or by the yard, is pretty much the same as “sheet wadding”). Pull the wadding apart and place the smooth side down in the center of the table and cover thickly with Jack Frost powder. Outline the edge of the star with small pieces of holly; stand in the center of the star a silver or glass bowl filled with holly twigs and branches of red berries. A bell or large ball covered with red immortelles, or a ball made of holly leaves and berries and mistletoe, suspended low from the chandelier over the centre of the table by a satin ribbon, is a handsome and appropriate decoration. Long red ribbons intertwined with ground pine or cedar are festooned from the chandelier to the four corners of the table, two corners being finished by standing loops of the ribbon mingled with holly and mistletoe. Upon the two opposite corners place silver candelabra, holding white candles and shades, each shade ornamented with a bunch of holly berries and a few leaves.
A decoration that will please the little ones is a miniature Christmas tree in the center of the table. Secure a small but perfectly shaped cultivated pine, make a bank of evergreens and holly to cover the jar holding the tree, ornament the tree with light but sparkling trinkets, tinsel fringe, and dust with Jack Frost powder. Arrange two ribbons diagonally across the table, fastening along them hero and there twigs of evergreens or holly, and in the two opposite corners place the candelabra upon mats of green, the candles capped with red and white shades.
With walls and mantel of a dining-room hung with graceful festoons and ropes of greens, with plenty of light and warmth, bright faces and good cheer everywhere, the Christmas decorations will be a success.
Source: The People’s Home Journal, 1897