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10 Fabulous Tricks to Create Your Own Exciting Holiday Tablescape and Decor

6 Comments 22 March 2013

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Dear Hostesses,

If your Shabbat and Passover Holiday table setting decor is starting to look about as old as your wedding photos, then its time to wipe your table setting slate clean and dare to think past your same old table cloth and boring white napkins. Update your holiday table scape and watch your friends and families eyes light up as they enter the room. Sometimes we just never get to uncover the rainbow of creativity hidden under our daily “to do” list of cleaning and cooking. Well,  The Jewish Hostess has appeared here on your laptop just to give you that extra nudge to spark the FABULOUS  inner hostess within!

1- Start with your holiday theme and color scheme. Is it a holiday? A dinner party? Are you in the mood for a hot bright color on your table? OR just a calm romantic feel?

For my modern/rustic Tu bishvat table photo shoot this year, I wanted to inspire my Jewish Hostesses with the fresh feeling of trees, nature,and the beautiful  fruits of the Shiv’ah Minim of Israel.

I found a gorgeous hot pink cherry blossom fabric from the Marimekko shop in Crate and Barrel and had it cut to size. I left the edges raw on both ends because:

1- I really don’t sew, and

2- the raw edge fit in perfectly with the rustic look.

I borrowed the tree trunk bases, and the plastic monstera leaves (also pictured below- on the jungle themed Purim table) from my sister in law. For tons more table setting pics , recipes, and details about this Tu Bishvat  table setting, please visit me at The Jewish

Tu Bishvat, The Jewish Hostess

Below, I used ombre blue macarons in plastic canisters to create a modern day sweet menorah centerpiece for my Hanukkah table decor. Silver and blue carried the evening with placemats, silverware, dreidels, and royal blue cake pops as place card holders. The lit candles in the center added a soft ambiance to the room as everyone served themselves at the buffet.


2- Use elements from the holiday theme on your table. This past Rosh Hashanah, I used 2 white curvy horns (you can see one of the horns in the center of the table below) that I found at a gift show in NYC. I also bought miniature honey jars from Amazon. Mini white tasting spoons held pomegranate seeds in front of each place setting.  My homemade Rosh Hashanah jelly apples were the hit of the night!


I also bought wooden honey dippers online,and  I purchased burgundy velvet to use as napkin rings at 99 cents a yard.You don’t have to spend a fortune on napkin rings, and oh, what a difference a napkin ring does make!

3- Mix the old with the new! The dishes navy and gold dishes  above were my mom’s. I still remember them being stacked up in the dining room for my brother’s disco/dinner party in the 70s. Mix your old dishes with modern stemware,  flatware and simple dishes like the Annie Glass dinner plates above.

4- Change your  table scape STYLE ! Just like we get tired of putting on the same outfit every other day, that’s how you should feel with your table scape. You should see the proud look on my married girls  faces every time they bring their families over for shabbat.  Once in a while I even get a slight nod of recognition (did I see a smile??) from my teenage son before he rushes out of the house. One time he even helped me fold the napkins for our  last year’s Tu Bishvat table !(below).

(p.s.)If you think that I actually potted those beautiful hyacinth plants for Tubishvat, well I’ve got a secret to share! I actually picked them up at the flower district on 28 street in NYC. Brought them home, and threw some bright orange kumquats onto the moss. In the center of the crated grass I placed a cake plate and mounded some new fruits atop. Voila!

Tu Bishvat Table Decor, The Jewish Hostess

5- Reinvent your  old drinking glasses, bowls, ribbons, table cloths and more:

The table below was one of my first creative holiday tablescapes. Two days before Purim, I ran to the 99 cent fabric shop and found the animal print, used sterling drinking glasses given to me as a wedding gift and transformed them into vases. I Bought some Purim masks online, stuck them into my “NEW” vases with flowers from the corner store. I then bought a silver chain trim and cut and glued the trim into napkin rings. As you can see, I mixed blue black, burgundy and red, (colors that I wouldn’t think of using on my table) and it was even prettier in person.

Think of floating flowers in bowls, using pretty salad plates to pass appetizers, and pretty  wood baskets to hold your challah rolls.

Purim tablescape

Purim Table Ideas, The Jewish Hostess

6- Layer! Layer, Layer!

The table below was created by my sister in law and I for a jungle themed Purim. We layered a bridge table cloth (turned it on the diagonal), bought plastic monstera leaves online, layered with wooden disposable plates, cheap jungle themed fabric used as napkins, and tied it all together with wooden napkin rings. Again, we had a ball at the flower market picking out bright tropical leaves and flowers. Remember to pop out your table with COLOR!(#8 below) I rummaged through my closets and found an orange (my favorite color) salad bowl that looked amazing and added another layer of dimension to our table scape. Can you see the hanging jungle themed paper lanterns in the back room? Another layer that added to the ambiance of the evening.


7-  BE CREATIVE!!! One of my favorite tables were from a Passover table setting contest that I ran last year. Two teenage girls surprised their mom for the holiday and created their Passover table decor from scratch. Blue fabric was folded into a runner and laid across the center of the table representing the splitting of the sea. Their family name was printed in gold lettering and attached to each hagaddah on top of  each place setting. Sequin trim was transformed into napkin rings, and blue vases with simple flowers topped it all off. Imagine how great their mom felt!

Passover Tablescape, The Jewsh Hostess

8- Use COLOR to EXCITE!!! Studies have shown that bright colors add to the hunger factor, and  instantaneously put us in a good mood. Below, my neighbor used striped Mexican blankets and pillows that she owned,   to dress up her holiday decor. (You can actually find Mexican table decor HERE)

Sukkot Table Ideas, The Jewish Hostess

Always remember to use flowers, bright candles,or  an eye popping napkin to shake up a ho hum table.

9- Create your own place cards! For the Sheva Berachot table that I whipped up in honor of my niece’s wedding, I had an inked stamp made up with their name, ordered lime green ink and had every guest’s  name printed on each place card. Since we had the groom’s family over for the first time, every new guest had a comfortable place to sit. I placed the teens together, and the bride and groom’s parents next to us. It made everyone feel important and added a touch of color to the table. (more pics of this table to come soon….)

Placecard for table setting, the jewish hostess

Placecards, Table Decor, The Jewish Hostess

10- Try NOT to let your guests know that you were sweating in your bathrobe cooking all day!!! (see photo below)

The Jewish Hostess ,Sheva Berachot

The Jewish Hostess

NOW ITS YOUR TURN! I hope that  I’ve inspired you to dig into your storage closets, run into a fabric shop, borrow table decor from a friend, and browse your local florist for unique vases, containers and gorgeous flowers, and maybe you will  decide to make place cards for your guests!

p.s. Be happy!!! There is nothing more fun than knowing that you’re beautiful table scape has added to the ambiance and excitement of the evening.

One last request- TAKE PICTURES!!!!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOUR HOLIDAY TABLES!!! CLICK HERE to email your pics to me.

Happy Holidays!


p.s. don’t miss the newest table setting ideas and easy healthy recipes once a week to your inbox! CLICK HERE!





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Your Comments

6 Comments so far

  1. judi segal says:

    your tablescapes are magnificent,, I enjoy setting my table as well and have really learned a tip or two from you, continue to send more, I never thought of taking pictures,,

  2. Rena says:

    Wow what great tips!! And beautiful tablescapes. Have pinned this for future reference. I love making dessert tables and parties and these are really fabulous ideas. And I love that last pic of you :) Looking great! Have a great Pesach.

  3. Sarah Lasry says:

    Lol Marlene you rock a bathrobe like no one else! Seriously a fantastic post. great tips & ideas! LOVE. Chag Sameach! :)

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