Santa’s Sleigh Inspires a Casual Christmas Tablescape

I love creating pretty tablescapes for parties and holidays. This table is less formal with a new to~the~table centerpiece. A rustic Santa’s sleigh inspires a casual Christmas tablescape.

I really love creating a pretty tablescape ahead of time for dinner parties ~ that leaves you time to do other chores, such as more decorating, cooking and baking, and getting ready for the party. This casual Christmas tablescape is easy assemble.

I usually set a more formal Christmas table, with lots of sparkle and gold and silver and glittery baubles. But one thing led to another and my centerpiece dictated a slightly more casual design. Do you have that one thing that sets the theme and tone for your tablescapes, vignettes or arrangements? I usually do.

This Christmas tablescape started with Santa and a sleigh and a reindeer. Well, let me take that back. It started with a red truck and a scrawny tree. Uh, you say? I’ll explain how this Santa’s sleigh inspires a casual Christmas tablescape

Santa’s Sleigh Inspires a Casual Christmas Tablescape

Scroll thorugh a Christmas tablescape post is better than buying a Christmas tablescape magazine at the store. More photos, all real life creations by people just like you. With stories and treasures and heirlooms and Dollar Spots and Dollar trees. And everything in between.

Inspiration for a Santa Sleigh in a Casual Christmas Tablescape

How did this casual, slightly sparkly Christmas tablescape start with a scrawny tree and a red truck?

Earlier this week, I shared 3 ways to style a Dollar Tree Christmas tree. In my final and favorite vignette, I used my vintage (OK, it’s not really vintage; I bought it last spring at Decor Steals.) red truck.

moose and Santa

Before that, I used the red truck in my Hot Chocolate Bar.

Now that the red truck is definitely staying on our coffee table for the Christmas holidays, I needed a place to put our Santa and sleigh ~ a special treasure that Sweet Shark’s mom gave us the first year we were in our first house together ~ exactly 21 years ago.

This Santa has always been on our coffee table ~ in both houses. It has a rustic, natural look to it. Definitely not sparkly and formal. Here it is from a couple of years ago.

Christmas mantle

It just made sense that this Santa and sleigh would be the centerpiece of this year’s casual Christmas tablescape.

My Christmas tablescape last year was very gold and formal with a little bit of red. With gold placemats, gold~leaf candles and gold bottle brush trees and gold teeny tiny Christmas balls.

Christmas tablescape

This year, with a rustic Santa and sleigh, I would still use gold, but in a softer tone. And there would be a lot more red and green.

Another reason that our Santa would be great as our centerpiece? I will be hosting most of my tennis team for a sit~down Christmas dinner. Then on Saturday, we will host a small buffet dinner party. I needed a centerpiece that wouldn’t wilt or need watering. Flowers were out.

Before the Tablescape

Before I began to set our table, I added Christmas decor to other spots in the dining room.

First was on our gold~trimmed mirrors. I embellished faux wreaths with a bow of silver and red plaid ~ both that I had from last year.

mirror with wreath and christmas bows

mirror with wreath and christmas bows

The bar cart also got the greenery and bow treatment. I bought the cut glass and silver cocktail glasses from my friend Laura of Decor to Adore a couple of years ago. The crystal decanter is from Sweet Shark’s collection. I will probably add lights to the bar cart and mirrors.

Why did I use silver ribbon when my tablescape is featuring gold? It matches the big garland that goes above our vassalier ~ which isn’t up yet!

bar cart decorated for Christmas

Rustic Santa’s Sleigh with Red, Gold, and Green

As you can see, the Santa, sleigh and reindeer are our centerpiece. With its shades of brown, I definitely need to bring in that touch of gold, red and green.

I started with 3 square gold beaded placemats to make a runner. Gold chargers and the gold trim on our Lenox Christmas china bring in a soft gold shine. Our Lenox white wine glasses also have a gold rim.

Red candles on gold stands at each end of the table provide color during the day and candlelight at night. the gold stands are actually rose bowl stands, but I thought they would work to hold the candles.

Santa sleigh on Christmas tablescape

I surrounded the Santa and sleigh with faux greenery and red berry stems. The berry stem was the only thing I bought to create this tablescape. You can see the detail on the reindeer. I do wish that the lantern still worked.

greenery and red berries

I brought in the red elements in the round woven placemats, definitely a more casual look for me, and the red cloth napkins. I decided forego a napkin ring by simply folding and placing the napkins between the dinner plate and the salad plate.

Christmas place settings with china

In addition to the red berry and green leaf motif on the wine glasses, I place a variety of our crystal champagne glasses on the table. This one is part of set called Thistle from Edinburgh Crystal. The one in the background is Messina from Baccarat.

Christmas place settings with china and crystal

Christmas is the time I bring out my mom’s Francis I sterling from Reed and Barton. See the wine charm? We keep those on the Christmas wine glasses.

red placemat and silverware

This champagne glass is Kylemore from Waterford.

Christmas crystal

Now it was time to add my place cards and holders. The cinnamon~scented pine cones are from my local Central Market. I picked out 8 smaller ones and used gold glitter to give them a bit of Christmas bling. I love the skinny green ribbon. I’ll show how I made the place cards in a future post.

Christmas place settings with china and crystal with pine cone place holder and card

Christmas crystal

One strand of battery~operated lights in the greenery around the Santa and sleigh was the finish touch to my casual Christmas tablescape.

Christmas tablescape with rustic santa and sleigh

Christmas tablescape with rustic santa and sleigh

My Casual Christmas Tablescape at Night

Nothing brings a tablescape to life more than candlelight with the lights turned down low. That’s when the magic happens. I actually took the night time photos before I took the day time ones and added the place cards.

TIP: Always have dimmers on your lights!!

lighted Christmas tablescape with rustic Santa and sleigh

lighted Christmas tablescape with rustic Santa and sleigh

lighted Christmas tablescape with rustic Santa and sleigh

red candle light on Christmas tablescape

Here are my casual elements:

  • rustic Santa and sleigh  with reindeer
  • round woven placemats
  • cotton napkins
  • pine cones
  • faux greenery
  • red berries

Here are the more elegant elements:

  • Christmas china and Eternal china from Lenox
  • Christmas crystal wine glasses
  • crystal champagne glasses
  • sterling silver in Francis I

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my Santa’s inspired casual Christmas tablescape. Please PIN for your table idea wish list.

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35 Comments

  1. Your Lenox dishes are among my favorite all time Christmas patterns. They are so elegant. Your centerpiece is lovely. Santa does indeed like to make appearances everywhere and he is perfect on your table. Adding the lights just made Santa seem magical. I love your evening photos the most! I can feel the festive spirit you have created. Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Shirley, I love it too. I love to mix the Christmas china with our Eternal ~ makes it go further for entertaining too. Thanks for your feedback and Merry Christmas.

  2. Carol, I love that Santa and his sleigh have found themselves at home in so many places, but my favorite is definitely in the center of your table. Your place card holders are adorable! I can’t wait until you share them. Your table is the perfect classic Christmas setting that so many of our memories are based on. I hope you and your family are able to enjoy it together this season. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you Kim. I really appreciate you comments and so glad you liked this year’s Christmas Tablescape. Hope you Pinned it. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. This is all so beautiful and special! I think decor cherished for years is the best and I love how you use yours! The golds are beautiful! I hope you have the merriest of Christmases! So blessed to have met you in person in 2019!

    1. Oh, thank you so much Kristie, I’m so happy you found me. I hope you’ll drop back by or even join on to receive my weekly newsletter and posts. Would love to have you. Hazelnut lattes sound delicious.

  4. Carol, to me – your table is a beautiful, timeless, classic Christmas table that say we are ready to celebrate this special season. I like the way the lights dance off the gold accents when you have it all lit up. Santa at the reigns looks like he is guiding his sleigh into a fabulous dinner party. So pretty! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season.

  5. Carol your lovely table says Christmas cheer can be found here. I love it ALL! The pine cone place card holders are a lovely touch. Your Christmas china is so pretty! Pinned and wishing you a Merry Christmas, it’s a pleasure to hop with you. Hugs!

  6. Carol, I think Santa and his sleigh with reindeer have found a great home for this Christmas season. I love having an inspiration piece and then it all comes together. The glittering pine cone place card holders are so cute. I love that you mixed the rustic with the crystal, silver, and china! It all works perfectly together. Wishing you a most joyous Christmas season!

  7. First off, Carol, how magical your table becomes after dark. I need to remember to take photos with just Christmas lights and candlelight! That Santa riding on the moose is so cute! I am glad he is helping out with the little truck! Your table is so lovely, sparkling with crystal, polished silver and your gold trimmed china! Thank you dear friend for sharing your talents and your friendship with me! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. Chloe, what a sweet and much appreciated review. Being a part of your wonderful tablescape blog hops has reignited my love of setting a beautiful table. Thank you and have a wonderful Christmas on your home.

  8. That beautiful Santa is sure to evoke sweet memories of when your married life began and he fits it so nicely with the rest of your table. I have yet to use twinkle lights on any of my tables but you and my other table stylist friends are showing me how it’s done. The Lennox Holiday dinnerware never goes out of style and the bright red woven placemat really pops against the stack. I look forward to hopping with you again next year and Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you Sandra. Using the Christmas china once a year makes to extra special. This year we’re having 2 parties so I’ll get to use them twice. Merry Christmas to all.

  9. How sweet Santa’s sleigh is. The bar cart is a lovely idea. Love the christmas china. The pine cone name tags are so cute. Casual and pretty is your table. The battery lights add the perfect ambiance along with the candle. Night time is so lovely when everything lit up. A pleasure to join you. Merry Christmas.

    1. Linda, I so appreciate you sweet comments. Setting up this table was so much fun. Battery operated lights are the secret ingredient to Christmas decorations.

  10. What a beautiful table! I loved peeking into your home and seeing how lovely everything is! I think you are going to get compliments from EVERYONE at your table! Every time we pass a bunch of bushes with red berries, I wished I’d thought to put clippers and high boots in the car (in Maine they grow in marshy areas). Wrap has become a 4 letter word; my eyes are crossing!

    1. Kathy, you should make a sign of “wrap is a 4 letter word”. That is really funny. Thank you for dropping by and I makes my day that you enjoy my creations. I love loyal readers and I love that you benefit from my ideas. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  11. Carol, your table is amazing. So elegant! I love the Lenox holly dinnerware, especially with the pop of red from your napkins. The rustic Santa and sleigh and pinecones adds such a lovely contrast to the exquisite elegance of the dinnerware, flatware and crystal. The evening photos make this gorgeous table even more warm and inviting. Have a very Merry Christmas.

    1. Marsha, thank you for your great feedback. At Christmas, or any time, nighttime is when a beautiful table comes to life. Candles and dimmers on chandeliers make it happen. And you can’t have enough BOL.

  12. Carol, as beautiful as Santa looked on the coffee table, what a stunning centerpiece he makes on your lovely table — especially in candlelight. I usually have “fixed spots” for all my holiday decorations since I have so much stuff to display. But, in the last couple of years I’ve been mixing things up a bit, creating new vignettes and table centerpieces. Your change-up payed off big time!

    1. Cindy, bar carts are awesome I found mine at a flea market several years ago. It didn’t have the glass or mirror inset. I had to have those custom made. Which cost more than the bar cart, but well worth it. Have a wonderful holiday season.

  13. Carol, your centerpiece is so fun with your pretty Christmas tablescape and even better by candlelight! Have a beautiful Christmas season! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

  14. Sparkling lights, candles, beautiful china and crystal, swoon Carol! I love your mix of vintage and classic elements, and the Santa and his sleigh steal the show!! Wonderful fun! Have a wonderful holiday season!

  15. Carol, you have such a nice collection of beautiful Christmas dinnerware! I love how you decorated your table and the Santa centerpiece is perfect! The sparkling lights at night are so pretty too! So great to hop with you again!
    Cheers!
    Shelley

  16. Carol, somehow your Santa and sleigh still seem right at home with your table dressings you chose this year! I mean, let’s admit it, Santa goes EVERYWHERE, am I right? It’s a lovely table, and sure to work well for both events you have planned. Your flexing your style is just another sign of a good stylist. Enjoy your entertaining in holiday style! (ps, love the LR from a couple years back where said Santa was on the coffee table).

    1. Rita, I always look forward to your comments because you have such a great eye and are so good and describing thi
      Gs. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful Christmas in you new loft home.

  17. Carol, I love that you used your lovely Santa and sleigh that your mother-in-law gave you as your centerpiece. I also like how you styled the napkin and mixed casual and formal elements together.
    Hooray for battery-operated lights! The twinkling lights and lighted candles complement your elegant china and crystal beautifully. All your room decorations go together to create a festive holiday atmosphere!
    Your tennis team and dinner party guests are in for a treat. What are you serving for dinner? I know it will be good!

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