Before our progressive dinner last week, I didn’t know what my table would look like until the day of our party. I knew I had purchased 8 snowflake napkin holders at a yard sale this summer, (brand new with Pier 1 price tags on – all for $2) that I wanted to use as a possible theme. I knew I could use my standard white tablecloth, or my brown one, and build my table with a snowflake theme. I chose brown because I liked the contrasting color, and it also looked great with snowflake blue!

To the Dollar Store I went to purchase bulbs and pinecones for my centerpiece. I pulled out my standard white dishes, beautiful water goblets (also a garage sale find this summer), and I bought a $1 spool of snowflake ribbon. Wah Lah! It all came together, simply but beautifully.

Reading through holiday magazines, I came up with 3 myths that I want to address when creating a beautiful table. (Yes, these are silly, but I actually recently read them!)

– Crowd the table with as many pretty things that will fit.
– If you use every piece of silverware that you have, people will think that your food is fabulous.
– Send guests home with a gift!

Why waste your time? People don’t want clutter, or stuff to take home, and certainly aren’t looking for you to make a statement! I still hold true to what I wrote a year ago. People will not remember the place settings, or even what recipes you served. They won’t even remember if your house was clean!

What they will remember is the conversation, ambience, and feel of the evening. The stories and the laughter. How the kids were involved in the evening and how it all came down.

For me, a beautiful table is important, but it is not essential. I don’t want to forget my goal: bringing people together for connection. Helping them feel the spirit and leave refreshed. (For another encouraging story on this subject, read here.)

This year I served the salad course at our progressive dinner. Here is a wonderful salad, festive and colorful, and delicious for the Christmas season!

Blue cheese (I use Gorgonzola)
Toasted pecans (any kind of nuts work)
Large grapes cut in ½ lengthwise
1-2 pears, cup into pieces (Bartlett)
Sprinkle the salad with pomegranate seeds*
Toss with your favorite salad dressing (I use Riverhouse** blue cheese)

*Did you know you can freeze pomegranate seeds?
** Riverhouse dressing – made right here on the Oregon Coast – in Pacific City!

(ALL PHOTOS taken from our progressive dinner last Sat. night)