We have a little bit of a tradition emerging with two families and us (this is our third year now, I think) of a Christmas bbq/get-together. The deal is no one goes over the top, no blowing budgets or slaving for days. The idea being we all have to eat dinner anyway, we're just eating it together - so bring whatever you might normally bring for dinner/bbq and we put it all on the table and share. Someone usually does dessert etc
There's just three families, with 9 children between us (4, 3, and 2), and 6 adults. This year we were privileged enough to have two Mums (Grandma/Nanna's) with us too!
Well, it wouldn't make sense to have that as our background for our get-together and then go OTT with the table, right? Last year I bought a massive length of calico for the 'table cloth' then I've used it in sewing projects through the year (and still have plenty left). I used fresh herbs in decorated pots on the table and then planted them in the garden after (with some still going a year later) etc
This year was a slightly different take but I wanted to show/share that it's entirely possible to do a nice table (not a perfect one) without remortgaging the house. I chose silver/green/white as the colour theme. The wrought iron-look candle holders we already had, the glasses we already had and because we didn't have a full set of either, I had four sundae glasses at one end, and four wine glasses at the other - not technically matching but with the same colour folded serviettes in (the huge ones from IKEA), it worked. The silver tumblers (Ecococoon from Tribe store) are the children's cups that DH sandblasted some weeks ago, because the colour was coming off. Tribe replaced the ones we had where the colour was coming off, however I much prefer the silver and it works well for Christmas, birthday parties etc so sandblasted the lot.
I used a clean white queen bed sheet (two tables end to end) on the table on the diagonal, with the long edges tied together under the table. Over the top of that are two flannel back (circle) table cloths from Cost Plus (as are the little star table sprinkles), which can be used again for as long as they manage, then as a splashmat for art making or painting when they've seen their days out.
The little candle holders on the table are salsa jars with a bit of water in, tea light candle and silver or silver/gold stripe tissue paper wrapped round and tied with sheerish ribbon. Two Milo tins with the paper removed, and the same tissue paper and ribbon applied, part filled with rice and then tall candles in, went by the steps. For cutlery, a Tupperware container again with the same tissue paper/ribbon applied. At the front door, IKEA lanterns that we bought ages ago (and that we take camping for the children) with tea light candles and the same little star sprinkles that look great in the moon/sunset light. Two IKEA jars with silver lids, one with shell nuts and the other with Minties.
We didn't have a massive amount of matching chairs so we used the white high back dining chairs (lawn shopping find!), the wrought/wicker look out door chairs, and our 'older' dining chairs (that I got for my 21st). Between the lot alternated round the table, we had enough. Not 'perfect', but they worked :)
Also a little pyrex bowl, with white napkin laid in and some bubble blowers, party poppers that were in the cupboard from a party we went to earlier in the year. Not the most eco thing although I guess at least using them up and not just discarding them because there was 'only a few' left. In a jar as a mix they make up a 'full' amount. Serviettes can go in the worm farm after and almost everything else has been reused and/or can be used again somehow. Always proper cutlery and plates etc. In the eco sense I guess last year's table was better... I'll work on it for next year.
Mum also found a whole bunch of the white fairy lights at a garage sale, enough to do our entire back patio area, for a teeny price (way to go Mum!). I've always wanted to try fairy lights out and these ones are awesome with several different 'settings' so they flash or dance or just twinkle. So between the fairy lights, all the candles it was a lovely atmosphere outside with great company and great shared food. Thanks everyone for making it work so well!
As an aside, Quinn (who turns two in Feb) is now putting together three and four word sentences... it surprises me each time (with each child) and I really enjoy it :)